Does your life ever feel like a treadmill?
You’re running and running—trying to take care of your loved ones, pets, home, career, community (and maybe love on the planet a bit, too).
Plus, you have a never-ending list of self-improvements to apply: Lose weight. Get stronger. Workout. Meditate. Improve gut health. Whiten teeth. Smooth wrinkles. Drink water. Sharpen mind. Learn new skills. Be kinder. And on and on.
That treadmill can sure get tiring, can’t it, sweetheart?
Too often, self-care feels like just one more thing to keep you running. Another task on the to-do list. A response to the constant pressure to improve. But what if there were a better way?
Real self-care should feel nurturing, not nagging.
So if the idea of self-care feels like a burden, recognize that it’s probably because you’re putting pressure on yourself to do “all the things”. Instead, give yourself permission to simplify. Start by focusing on just a few healthy habits to help you love yourself the easy way. That’s what I want to explore with you today.
Now let’s explore a few healthy habits you can try.
6 Simple Self-Care Practices to Love Yourself with Today
1. Start your day with introspection
Here’s how I greet each morning: I wake up, light a candle and meditate for 10 minutes. Then I make tea, write in my Results Journal and maybe read something uplifting. That’s it. When times are stressful, it’s easy to turn on the news or pop open social media and feel the energy seep right out of your body. Instead, make a vow to start your day by filling your well. If you have to get up 15 minutes earlier, do it. That time of sweet self-care will be well worth it.
2. 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. Instead, just try adding in a smoothie or some green juice first. Give your body a healthy burst of nutrients, alkalinity and antioxidants, then sip the joe.
I call that my add-before-you-subtract principle, by the way. So much nutritional guidance hinges on deprivation—on what you give up. But I believe true health is about abundance. It’s about piling on the good, deeply-nourishing stuff. Once you add enough goodness to your plate (or your life!), the mediocre is naturally crowded out.
3. Talk to your cravings
As your day unfolds, notice if you find yourself battling cravings. Maybe it’s cookies, chips, a mindless hour of Facebook scrolling, or a smoke. Those cravings aren’t always about the sugar, caffeine, or whatever it is you’re jonesin’ for. In fact, they rarely are. More often, they’re a plea from your higher self. Instead of mindlessly acquiescing to the urge, ask yourself what desire it really represents.
Do you need more sweetness in your life? A time out from stress? Some love? An apology? A chance to rest? What’s the craving attempting to fill for you? And what could you do to satisfy that itch (and your soul) instead? Remember, you’ll get better results if you add something to serve that deeper desire than if you try to subtract the craving itself.
4. Practice The Daily Ten
You feel better when you move your body. There’s no denying it. But it does feel challenging to fit in a daily workout, doesn’t it? So let’s start with something more attainable: Just move for 10 minutes. Even when you can’t do a full-blown gym workout, you do have 10 minutes to move. Let this be something easy and something that feels good to you. Take a stroll, stretch on your living room floor, or turn up the tunes and shake what your mama gave you!
5. Cultivate what nourishes your soul
Your plate doesn’t contain all the answers when it comes to nourishing your sweet self. We all need soul-nourishment, too. We need to make space for the activities that bring us joy and fulfillment. Without them, we wither.
These go beyond our daily routines, too. You may enjoy your job, but it won’t always satisfy you. I’m sure you love your family, but they can’t always be around (or pleasant!) to encourage you. So what’s one thing you could do that would bring you some smiles this week?
Maybe you should take a few minutes to draw or paint or dance. Perhaps you could call a friend, take a bath, or love on your pet (or foster a new one!). It can be anything that renews your spirit. So what is it for you? What nourishes your soul? What makes you feel more connected, happy, or of service? Whatever it is, do more of it this week.
6. Have compassion for yourself
Unfortunately, suffering is a natural part of life. We can’t avoid it—especially now with the collective challenges we’re all facing. The trick is to acknowledge your struggle 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—inviting me to practice some self-compassion.
If you do nothing else to love yourself today, start by offering yourself a bit of kind compassion.
Breathe. Smile. I love you. You love you.
Progress Not Perfection
I’m done with the pressure-packed, “do all the things” definition of self-care. Aren’t you, toots? It’s just not worth staying on that treadmill.
Our new mantra for self-care is progress, not perfection. Often, when we start from an extreme place and seek extreme results, we set ourselves up for extreme disappointment.
Instead, let’s reimagine a new, gentle kind of self-care. One where a few healthy habits make our lives feel more steady. One where we feel nurtured—body, mind and spirit.
As you step forward in self-care this week, remember: 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.
Your turn: What’s one simple thing you’ll do to nurture yourself today?
Growth & grace,