This week, we celebrated Valentine’s Day, a day set aside to celebrate romance. From such dark and brutal beginnings (I won’t go into detail, but you can read more here, if you’re interested), this holiday has become a marketing success with more than $20 billion spent here in the U.S., mostly on candy, cards, flowers and an evening out.
Now, I love Valentine’s Day as much as the next person. My birthday parties were always Valentine’s Day themed, since it occurs just two days later. And I’m happy that some of the small businesses like indie flower shops and candy stores can benefit. But honestly, my interest starts to wane when a holiday becomes so commercialized.
So, I this week at Mindful Café, I’m going to turn the focus to self-care. I know my meditation groups are probably sick of me reminding them of how important self-care is, because when you care for yourself, you are better able to care for others (blah, blah, eye rolls).
Self-care doesn’t just mean those little indulgences we all know about, although those are nice too. Self-care goes deeper. It means getting enough rest, eating right, excercising, the big things that enhance your wellbeing. Self- care helps you to handle the stresses in life and builds resiliency so that when something big happens, you’re better able to bounce back. When you don’t care of yourself, you’re left feeling overwhelmed, tired and sick.
Self-care means tending to all aspects of your life – body, mind and spirit. It means engaging in physical activity, eating healthy foods, getting together with friends, find a spiritual practice and keeping your mind sharp. And it also means those little indulgences I mentioned earlier, making yourself a priority. That’s the fun part of self-care and I want to share some ideas you can try that will make you feel special without breaking your budget. And most of them you can do solo or with a friend. Here goes:
- Call your most very favorite person in the whole world. There’s nothing like hearing their voice, except for seeing them in person, and that’s not always possible these days.
- Give yourself a mani-pedi. Buy the most decadent supplies you can afford, put on some spa music and spend time soaking your fingers and toes. Take your time and do it right.
- Binge watch your favorite series. Pop some corn and get in your most comfy PJs.
- Take a hot bath. Light some candles, add a bath bomb and let it “take you away.”
- Start your next book and read all day. Here’s a suggestion to get you started.
- Call a friend and go for a walk together. My friend and I walk most Saturdays and I’m sure we solve most of the world’s problems in that time. Or at least it’s nice to bounce things off of her and get her input. Bonus: Exercise!
- Make your most favorite dessert ever, or buy something special from the best bakery in town. Remember, these are just indulgences. A sweet treat every now and then is okay.
- Sit on your front or back deck with a beverage of your choice, and just take in the scenery. Bonus point for including a sunset. Double bonus points for including your pets.
- Take in some culture. Go to a museum, gallery, park, animal sanctuary or other local attraction that you have never been to before. Check ahead of time for free or discount days.
- Take a nap . Yes, one of my favorites and I indulge in this a few days a week. In fact, I’ve written a blog post all about the benefits of naps called “Daily Naps? Heck Yeah!”
- Do something creative. There are so many resources on the Internet these days, so if always wanted to try, say, basket weaving, chances are there are many videos out there to help you with that.
- Put on your favorite nostalgic song. And then kick off your shoes and kick up your heels!
You don’t need a big bank account to give yourself a treat, you just need your imagination. Consider this list just some suggestions, and think of some of your own ways to practice self-care in an indulgent way. You’ll feel refreshed and ready for whatever comes your way.