Do you feel pressure to improve? Maybe your life isn’t where you want it to be yet—despite all your best efforts to transform. Perhaps you’re comparing yourself to others who seem to have it all. Or you’re holding yourself to a standard that jacks up your stress and tinkles on your joy. Well, I can certainly relate.
Every year around this time, I slowly begin my year in review by taking inventory on what worked, what didn’t, what turned out better and what was a total disaster. Suffice to say, I have examples in each of these categories. But here’s where it gets interesting, when I analyze what did work and why, there’s a common theme: simplification.
Small steps, consistently taken, add up to big changes. So if you’re itching for a wellness breakthrough, I encourage you to test drive a few simple shifts to your self-care routine, rather than sweeping changes that overwhelm you.
Change doesn’t have to be intense to work. Your life is already pretty packed—a little too packed if you ask me—so instead of loading up your to do list with goals and pressure, get a jump start on your New Year’s resolutions, intentions or whatever you like to call them, by trying some of the ideas below instead.
And listen up well-meaning perfectionists, stop getting in your own way and relax. Your new mantra is progress, not perfection. You don’t have to do these things 100% to see the benefit. In truth, perfectionism is really a desperate attempt at creating certainty—which doesn’t exist. It drains our life force, pisses off your soul and sucks the collagen out of our faces (or does that just happen to me?!). For the majority of us, when we start from an extreme place and seek extreme results, we set ourselves up for extreme disappointment.
Simplicity. Ease. Grace. Let the turtle be your guide. Slow and steady, my glorious friend. From a spiritual perspective there is no race, anyway. There’s only growing.
6 Self-Care Tips for the Gentle Soul
Now is a perfect time to ease into healthy practices that nurture your body and feed your spirit. Pick one or two points to focus on this month. Keep in mind that these suggestions aren’t about “never” doing something ever again. If you slip, congratulations! You’re HUMAN. Ask yourself why and just listen for the answers. And if these tips work for you, keep practicing them one glorious day at a time!
Start your day with introspection
Here’s how I greet each morning: I wake up when it’s still dark, light a candle and meditate for 10 minutes. Then I make tea and read something uplifting or write in my journal if I’m moved to. That’s it. The world is pretty chaotic and frightening right now. It’s easy to turn on the news and feel the energy seep right out of your body. Make it a vow to start your day by filling your well, instead. If you have to get up 15 minutes earlier, do it. Choose a time when your home is quiet and you’re the only soul awake. Or ask the waking souls to shhh so you can have your space.
Nourish your body first
What you eat is who you become. By choosing to nourish your body first thing, you’re setting the tone for the rest of the day. Water, green juice and avocado toast or a hearty smoothie will give you a boost of sustainable, nutrient-packed energy. If you love coffee, guess what? You don’t have to give it up (turtle power, remember). Instead, try cutting back to one cup and have your green juice first. Give your body a healthy burst of nutrients, alkalinity and antioxidants, then sip the joe.
Talk to your cravings
As your day unfolds, notice if you find yourself battling cravings. Cookies, those Starbuck’s seasonal soirees in a cup, chips, a smoke? But remember, your cravings aren’t always about the sugar, caffeine or whatever it is you’re jonesin’ for. Sometimes they’re a plea from your higher self. Instead of mindlessly acquiescing to the donut, ask yourself what the urge is really about.
Do you need more sweetness in your life? A time out from stress? Some love? An apology? What’s the craving attempting to fill for you? And what could you do to satisfy that itch (and your soul) instead?
Most of the time my cravings are a reminder to listen to my inner wisdom rather than my outer comfort. Compulsions to drown our pain in confections (or cocktails) are a sure sign that we have an undone spiritual assignment. Will you blow off your homework? Hint: It won’t go away. Suck it up and get it over with. Now is the perfect time to truly free yourself.
Practice The Daily Ten
You know you feel better when you move your body. There’s no denying it. So while you may not have time for a full-blown gym workout, you do have 10 minutes to shake what your mama gave you! Need some help? There are so many short online videos that are a click away. One of my favorites is Yogaglo.com. Countless teachers and practices at your fingertips. Another great resource is from my friends at FMTV.com. But those are only a few suggestions. Google your way to the workout that’s right for you. When I have more time I do longer sessions after work, but I still love my ten-minute bursts during the day. They energize my body and stimulate my creativity. If you’re having a hard time jump starting a workout program, start with the daily ten and up your game when you’re ready!
Cultivate what nourishes you BEYOND food
Your plate doesn’t contain all the answers. Your job won’t always fulfill you. Your kids aren’t always around (or pleasant!). And yet we all need soul nourishment. Without it, we wither. So what’s one thing you could do that would bring you some smiles this week?
I’ll go first: Helping animals. If you’re on my newsletter, you know that we recently raised close to $100,000 for rescue dogs in Puerto Rico via The Sato Project and that we post animal adoptions in each week. I love this work! My heart doubles in size when someone writes to say that they donated to one of our favorite charities or adopted one of the sweet beings we shared. Our readers have actually flown across country to rescue their new family member—all based on a picture! This nourishes me just as much as kale. So, how about you? What nourishes your soul? What makes you feel more connected, happy or of service? Whatever it is, do more of it.
Have compassion for yourself
Unfortunately, suffering is a natural part of life. We can’t avoid it. The trick is to acknowledge your suffering and then bear-hug it with compassion. Compassion is the medicine. Once you apply compassion you’ll be able to take the lessons and move through the discomfort. Residual ouchies may remain, but they won’t harden you. We all have scars. They give us character. I have old wounds on my knees from bike crashes and canoe flips. And then there are the cancer scars. All of which are a part of me now, neither pretty or ugly, just there—longing for compassion.
To help you put these tips into practice, I created a free Crazy Sexy Self Care Planner for you. You’ll get a snapshot of what a week of nourishing your mind, body and spirit can look like, along with easy suggestions and daily affirmations to get you started.