A few weeks ago (actually, ten weeks ago, if we’re being honest) I attending a multi-day seminar called the Corporate Athlete. The very, very basic premise of the workshop was that people who work in corporate America are constantly on, between the enormous number of hours that we’re actually in the office, to the extra hours we spend on email and being remotely available and the generally ongoing brainstorming and working through problems in our off time. For all that time that we spend on the job, we generally don’t take care of our bodies, which makes you wonder- how long can you ignor your personal wellness, and still be the most effective version of yourself?
To cut down on a very long story, I’ve finally gotten around to taking a strong inventory of all four spheres of my wellness (physical, emotional, mental and spiritual)…and there’s some room for improvement in my life. I’d bet that there’s definitely some room for improvement in all of our lives, don’t you think? So this week’s five is all about taking care of yourself- and here are five of my ideas for Ways to Be Kind to Yourself.
- Movement. I’m no athlete, and you won’t find me running a half marathon any time soon. I’ve dabbled a lot, though, in many activities and there’s never been a time when I wished I would not have done something physical. Maybe you talk a long stroll with yourself or someone whose company you enjoy, maybe you take a soothing yoga class, or maybe surprise yourself with a kickboxing class, or one of the new dance classes that are popping up everywhere. Whatever you choose, getting physical is kindness to your heart, your muscles, and usually your psyche. (I finally found Yoga With Adriene, and her yoga videos are changing my life…seriously.)
- Self-expression. Maybe you want to literally journal, or maybe you want to vent your thoughts in the car on the way to work (I love to talk to myself in the car) or maybe art is your self-expression. However you choose, think about spending time at the end of each day getting your thoughts out. This will allow you to purge yourself of toxic internal dialogue, see what’s really floating around in there, and maybe help you find a bit of peace before you go to sleep. (I started using Emily Ley’s Simplified Journal some nights before bed, and it’s amazing how fast I can go from mind racing to perfectly calm, with the help of a complete brain dump.)
- Pamper yourself. I don’t know what your pampering looks like, or your budget for that matter. Maybe you need a spa day, okay, but my version of pampering usually involves finding a really indulgent beverage (today I’m looking at you, peanut butter milkshake) and giving myself a few hours to read. That’s all, really. Reading a book when there’s so much else that can be done feels like such an indulgence to me, so when I do settle down with a book, I banish any nagging feelings and just relax. It’s me time!
- Affirmations. It feels cheesy, yes, but sometimes you just need to review the good things in your life. When I get down on my body, I take a stock of some of my good features (I have very pale skin, but it’s also incredibly soft. As is my stomach area J but I have surprisingly lovely feet). Or sometimes I get jealous of something happening in one of my friends’ life, and when I take a minute to list my many blessings, I realize that my life is pretty good, too. In a world that’s so full of carefully curated social media messaging, it can be really easy to compare yourself to others and come up lacking. I say, choose to see the good in yourself, and acknowledge what’s awesome. (My friend Sara, on Fit for a Bride, posted that quote last week, and I really love the sentiment!)
- Dream. Dream as big as you possibly can. This is the hardest idea for me to embrace- I hate to fail, but more than that I hate to fail publicly. Therefore, I usually keep my dreams small, and only share my accomplishments, and not my goals. This makes it harder for me to accomplish what I want to, because I don’t have a support system in place to help me succeed. The moment I put any of my dreams out into the world, though, people step up and make suggestions and offer resources and provide guidance, and I can accomplish anything more easily and more efficiently. So this is what I am striving for- to set goals for myself, enormous goals, and put them out into the world, and see what the world has in mind for me. Try it out…I think you will find that the world has so much support to offer, if only you reach out!
Tell me about your acts of self kindness- what have you been doing to improve your life, lately? Or what do you want to do in the future?