being kind to YOU
Yesterday, I wrote about the importance of being kind, of noticing others and letting them now that you see them. Today, I want to explore being kind to yourself. This is partly inspired by the topic of Self-Care from The Declaration of You Blog Lovin Tour. And though I am participating in other topics along the tour, I realized I had something I wanted to write about "self-care."
For me, taking care of myself means creating conditions where I can bring my whole self to the day. This can be challenging if I haven't gotten enough sleep or if I feel particularly anxious about something (usually the two go together for me). Also, I need my coffee.
But deeper than that, and why I think self-care is difficult, is that taking care means being kind, it means noticing, being aware and we don't always do that for ourselves.
A few months ago I wrote this post on giving yourself permission to just be. I was thinking about making choices based on what you need at the time. We do so many things in life because we think we are supposed to, or because we need validation, or we have responsibilities. It's easy to get lost in all of that and push ourselves to the background.
This post from Tanya Geisler significantly resonated with me. She writes about the way we shrink ourselves when taking a compliment. We recede. Someone has noticed us and we don't know what to do about it. This has happened to me several times recently, along this journey to better health. Someone will say something about running like, "Way to go, you!" or "I'm so impressed you signed up for half-marathon" and I'll feel uncomfortable calling myself a runner, "Well, so far I've only run 5K's." or "I'm very slow." Both of which are true, but are they necessary?
What happens if I allow myself to be proud, to say, "Thank you"?
I told workshop participants a story about a time that I cut so much out of a poem based on other's suggestions that I ended up hating it. My professor said, "You are your own worst editor, right now, Devon. You have to start believing that you know what makes it good, and do those things, make those edits."
We know what makes life good for us. Yet, we often refuse it. In Tanya's post she writes that we are afraid we will somehow jinx it for ourselves and I know that is so true for me. I can be very superstitious and there's some fear in me that if I acknowledge my happiness, or talent, or feel good-ness, that it will somehow get taken away. And in doing so, I take it away from myself.
Being kind to yourself is easy. You already know how. What works for me or your friend you tells how awesome the tea she found is and how relaxing it is, may not work for you. You have to figure out what you need to bring your amazing, kick-ass self to the day, the meeting, the moment.
Here are some things I do when I'm being consciously kind to myself:
I wear my favorite outfit. I have a pair of jeans and a few different shirts that make me feel awesome. I don't know why, but I love them and when I wear them, I am more confident, and more likely to accept a compliment, take a chance and be in a good mood.
Give myself time. I try to schedule in some time in my day that I have no expectations on me. I spent this time reading, or listening to music, or walking around campus and taking photos. Sometimes, I watch TV. The key is to give myself the time so I don't feel guilty that I wasn't grading student essays or responding to emails.
Unplug. There is a lot of noise in my life. So days when I really need to take care, I stay off social media as much as possible.
Embrace my routine. Enjoy the daily stuff like errands, grocery store, putting gas in the car.
Starbucks. I love coffee. And when I get my favorite drink: iced caramel macchiato, I am happy.
How do you take care of yourself?