As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been sick as of late. I can’t lie, it’s been such a drag (II’ll be fine though). One day I’ll share the details, as the writer in me often longs to spill it all out in written words, but not yet.
When I’m feeling really icky I start to lose some of my own self-care principles. I saw that happening for me recently and I knew I needed some reinforcement. Don’t we all at times?
So I came up with the below list of my 25 best self-care tips for the body and soul. While each are worthy of a blog post on their own, I thought this consolidated summary might be quite useful.
25 Self-Care Tips for the Body & Soul:
- Stop Over-Thinking. You don’t need to have all the answers to all of life’s riddles. Life is an unfolding, a discovering, a journey, an adventure. Sometimes over-thinking it all can get you in trouble. You miss out on the journey you’re actually on when you’re stuck only in your head. Take it all in with grace and grace will lead you in the right direction.
- Accept What Is. Stop Pushing. Sometimes you have to accept things as they are. Things you can’t change. Things you can’t help but feeling. Give yourself a break. Stop trying to wade upstream at high tide. Wait it out. Take a breather and go where the current takes you. You can’t control everything so sometimes you have to trust that the current of life will take you where you need to be.
- Be Still. We live in such a rushed, over-stimulated, over-gadget-ized society. Find somewhere beautiful – a park, the woods, your kitchen – and just sit there, still. Absorb the sound of the wind through the trees, the light and the shadows, the peace, and just appreciate the stillness. It’s meditative and calming. Make time for stillness regularly.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others. Comparing yourself to others with envy robs you of appreciation for the sacred place your life is in at any given moment. Everyone has had their own long journey and you don’t know what that journey has been like for them. Where they’ve struggled, what mistakes they’ve made. Use any jealousy you feel as your guide, it’s just showing you what you want in life. Let it lead you to take actions that advance your goals.
- Create Joyful Rituals. My friend Hannah Marcotti often talks about creating rituals of joy like spreading the bed and drinking lemon water every morning. I must say I agree. As I mentioned in my recent love post, my husband and I have a hugging ritual. It’s the best part of my day. Create simple easy to do rituals that ground your day and you’ll find your way “home” no matter what life throws at you.
- Take Actions that Scare You. Such a tough one. It’s so easy to find a hundred excuses for why you’re not ready to do something you’ve dreamed of. To reach out to someone who could change your life. To apply for that job you’ve always wanted. Remind yourself of how short life is. In the end, any discomfort or rejection won’t really matter. The only way to achieve things you want is to take bold actions. If something scares you deeply, it means you want it deeply, so go for it.
- Cherish Your Friends. Surround yourself with true friends. Friends who’ve seen you at your worst, and love you even more for it. Friends you can be sick and miserable around and yet all they seem to do is make you laugh. Those friends are priceless.
- Know Your Strengths. Our weaknesses are always shouting out for our attention. Needy buggers. Try to instead focus on your strengths. You have so many. Focus on them and use them daily. List them out so you never forget what they are. Build your life around them.
- Eat as Many Greens as Possible. Greens, greens and more greens. Fruit too. The more you eat them, the more your tastebuds change and you realize just how delicious food from the earth truly is. The lighter you feel, the better your skin looks, the more energy you have. I started slacking on my greens and morning juices recently. I was feeling crappy so I started eating crappy, really crappy. Which made me feel crappier. Terrible. I hereby commit to going back to green. Will you join me?
- Reduce/Eliminate Animal Products. I no longer “tell” people to go vegan/vegetarian, it’s not my place to tell anyone how to eat and people resist when they’re being told what to do which serves no one. But I constantly try to learn and educate. As you may know, our food production system is a disgrace; to animals, to our health, to the environment. We fill our bodies with an abundance of hormones, chemicals and pesticides and support awful places like factory farms with our everyday food choices. Whether you’re an animal person or not, eating more from the earth and less from the factories lightens both your plate, your arteries, and your spirit. If you haven’t watched Forks Over Knives yet, I highly recommend it.
- Exercise Regularly. Regular exercise can transform your life. I haven’t been able to exercise much over the last few weeks since I’ve been sick and it’s been torture. I see the difference in how I think, how much I get done, and how much energy I have. As Richard Branson says, one hour of exercise equals four extra hours of productivity. Make time for exercise, it will give time back to you.
- Don’t Let People Walk All Over You. Being nice and being a doormat are two very different things. I admit I fall into the doormat category more than I should, especially when I’m not feeling my strongest. I was a doormat this weekend to a very rude guest at a friend’s party. I let him stomp all over me with his arrogant word vomit. I regretted not gathering the strength to either speak my mind or properly excuse myself. Being a doormat robs you of your voice and leaves you resentful. Be strong in who you are, don’t let people walk all over you.
- Forgive Yourself. Forgive Others. Forgiveness is one of our most powerful allies. Forgive the people in your life who harmed you and forgive yourself for your own mistakes and you will liberate yourself from pain, anger, resentment and negativity. Anger, grudges and resentment hurt no one more than the person holding them.
- Stay Away from Negative People. What more needs to be said, people can be mean and nasty, don’t hang out with those people. You can choose who you keep in your life, choose wisely.
- Don’t Be a Negative Person. I had a friend once who loved to talk badly about everyone around her. And I’d find myself joining in because it’s what she wanted to talk about. Afterwards I always felt so crummy. Don’t get drawn into negativity. It brings down your vibration. People who have nothing but negative things to say about everyone are unhappy with themselves. Always remember who you are and who you want to be. Be nice to people, to everyone. Support people and their dreams. Love as you’d want to be loved. We can all be nicer and do better. What matters is that we try.
- Don’t Live on Facebook. Facebook is great and it’s fun to be social. And if you have an online business, it’s priceless. But reading through facebook statuses too often can lead to “facebook depression.” Facebook is like an advertising campaign for everyone’s life. It’s all shiny and sparkly and well-crafted to present the best. That’s all good but too much of it and you need to be reminded of Tip #4 above.
- Allow Yourself to Feel Whatever You’re Feeling. Sometimes you’ll get down, really down. Sometimes you’ll get hurt. And you won’t want to leave the couch. It’s okay. Let yourself sulk, get it all out of your system. Don’t fight it because “what you resist, persists.” So don’t resist. The sooner you get it all out the sooner you can move on.
- Breathe Deep. Deep luscious breaths from way down in your diaphragm. Tips on that in this post.
- Embrace Your Imperfections. You’ve likely read this from me before. Your imperfections are you perfection. Embrace them. Let them reveal your individuality. Laugh at them if you need to. Perfect is boring. Imperfections make things interesting. And behind every imperfection is a strength.
- Marry/Date/Co-Habitat (whatever your preference) with a Really Nice Person. Who needs a bad-ass (in the arrogant, self-centered, high school maturity level sense of the term), being nice is way sexier, more secure, more comforting, more loving, more stable, and all around more awesome. Marrying a nice person is likely the best decision I’ve ever made. He’s badass in the confident, loyal, loving, strong, stable, handsome sense of the term. Way better!
- Read Non-Fiction to Expand Your Mind. Read Fiction to Expand Your Imagination. For the past couple of years, since leaving my life as an attorney and embarking on what I view as my spiritual path (or whatever ;)), I’ve only been reading non-fiction. It’s been great, enlightening, motivating and empowering. But since I’ve been feeling kinda crummy lately I’ve been treating myself to the Hunger Games series. What a treat it is. It’s inspiring for my imagination, a great distraction and such a good way to end the day (although now I dream about people trying to kill each other!).
- Watch Less TV. Such a hard habit to break. Getting sick definitely triggered my bad habits, including this one. Too much TV robs you of time and social interaction. Goals fly out the window. Motivation gets lost. So does conversation. TV’s addictive and it lures you in, try to keep it in moderation.
- Unplug. Create sacred spaces in your days or weeks where you unplug from everything. No emails, internet, blackberry, nothing. We are turning into an ADD society, jumping from one distraction to another. Seize back control. Unplug regularly or you’ll burn out your emotional hardware.
- Be of Service. Try to always find ways to be of service. To people, to animals, to the environment, whatever floats your boat. Life gives to the giver and takes from the taker. Find ways to give and keep giving. Ways that inspire you, that speak to you, that fill your heart. No matter where you are in life, there is always someone or something who could benefit from what you have to offer.
- Just be You. You are Perfect. You are Enough. You are Invaluable.
Do you have any tips to add? Please share any additional ones that work for you, I’m sure I’m leaving many out!
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