We often say goodbye to friends and colleagues with this simple phrase, sometimes without realizing the implication: I want you to take care of yourself. Why?
These words express our desire to see our loved ones happy and healthy. What goes unsaid, and often unrecognized, is that care begins with the self. We identify this responsibility when encouraging our friends to “take care”, but when it comes to our own lives, self-care is often the first duty to be sacrificed at the altar of a busy life.
Megan of Pink O’Clock recently wrote on being kind to ourselves and shared a list of the ways she takes care of herself. The little niceties–coffee at a favorite shop, a pause for ten deep breaths in the middle of the day, taking five minutes to make home a clean and inspiring place–add up to bring greater joy and peace in a difficult world. Megan’s post has been on my mind since I read it, and today I want to share the ways I try to take care of myself.
· Making and drinking pour-over coffee
· Cooking lavish dinners just for me
· Choosing a job I love
· Indulging my desire to buy ridiculous floral rompers when thrifting
· Taking myself on dates
· Embracing a challenge
· Reading before going to bed
· Spending time outside whenever possible
· Hosting friends over the weekend
· Taking inspiration from high school students
· Dark chocolate
· Speaking kindly
· Treating myself to 50¢ books from the library
· Writing letters
· Being assertive about my wants and needs
· Reading Real Simple and Martha Stewart Living
· Going to bed early
· Calling and emailing my parents regularly
· Burning soy candles in the evening
· Apologizing when I’ve done something hurtful or wrong
· Single malt scotch
· Finishing what I start
· Unplugging from my cell phone, computer, etc.
· Walking along the beach
· Growing vegetables at home (or at least trying to)
· Picking up unique foods at the grocery store to try new dishes
· Entering conflict with an outcome-oriented mindset
· Smiling as often as possible
· Not making excuses for needing personal time
· Finding a reason to celebrate every day
· New nailpolish
· Ukulele singalongs with Emily
· Brunch with my sisters
· Trips home to Virginia
· Setting work/life boundaries and holding fast
· Trips to Mitsuwa for real ramen
· Silly emails about everything with my high school girlfriends
· Sending thank you notes when called for and just because
· Waking up early on weekends to get things done
The coolest part of all this is that posts by two other bloggers, Meg and Mary, inspired Megan to write her post, which in turn inspired me. I hope the effect will ripple and encourage you to reflect on how you show yourself kindness, whether that takes the form of a journal entry, a private meditation, or your own blog post.
Take care, friends.