Treat Yourself: Experiments in Self-Care

As my fellow Parks and Recreation fans might know, today is Treat Yourself Day, in honor of the 3rd anniversary of that particular episode. (If you have no idea what I am talking about, read on anyway because I won’t be talking about TV shows, I promise.) As a dedicated fan of the show, and someone who has been thinking a lot about what self-care means to me and what part it plays in my spiritual life, I thought today would presented a great opportunity to write about the importance of “treating yourself”.

To be perfectly honest, self-care doesn’t come naturally to me (shocking, I know). I am not very good at relaxing, my mind continuously is going about a mile a minute, and I almost always feel like I could do more; do better than my best, be more productive, spend my time more wisely, etc. So often even when I have time for some self-care, there’s a voice in my head telling me I don’t deserve it because I haven’t done enough yet. Herein lies the problem, I will never do enough. I can’t do better than my best and I’m not going to perfectly manage my time and resources 100% percent of the time because I am human. Suffice to say, self-care is necessarily a conscious act for me. But I have decided that it is important enough to warrant action.

I think for a long time I felt like forgoing time set aside for self-care and relaxation was in some way a noble or humble act. It’s not, in case you were wondering. Refusing to care for and love yourself in ways that you would not hesitate to care for and love others is just illogical. Self-care isn’t a reward for your unattainable goals, it’s a necessity to your emotional, mental and spiritual health. I am of the opinion that we were not created to let treat ourselves worse than we treat others and call that love. We were meant to take joy in our own existence as well as the existence of others. Furthermore, taking care of yourself allows you to show up for others better because you’re feeling stable and energized yourself.

So, if it’s been a while since you showed yourself some love, please treat yourself! Take a bath and pamper your skin with nice lotion afterwards, eat some ice cream, listen to some music, tell yourself you’re beautiful, paint your nails, drink something tasty, eat something decadent, or even buy yourself a little something that makes you happy. You are a glorious creation and you are worthy of joy, love and care. Take some time to bask in the love of the Creator (or just of the universe if you’re not religious) and enjoy some of the many blessings that the earth has to offer.

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If you, like me, have to make a conscious effort to make time for self-care think about times of the day or week where you can carve out a spot for making sure your physical and emotional needs are met. I also find that it’s helpful to brainstorm what things will help me feel revived and cared for; sometimes this is ice cream and a movie, sometimes it’s candles and an art project, figure out what things make you feel cared for and allow you to bask a little. In case you need some prompting here’s a list of some of my favorite self-care activities:

-Eat something yummy!
-Light nice smelling candles and do something that you really enjoy but don’t do enough like reading for pleasure of drawing.
-Buy some new nail polish from walgreens and make time to try it out while watching a fluffy TV show or movie.
-Journal and get out whatever you need to get out OR
-Call someone on the phone and get out whatever you need to get out.
-Tell yourself nice things about the world and yourself and your body and the work you’ve done today.
-Tell people you love that you love them.
-If you feel cute take a cute picture of yourself, go you for feeling good about the wonderful way you were created!
-Make a mess–do art, bake brownies, color with crayons, don’t worry about perfection!
-When you’re done studying or working, just be done, do something that take your mind off of it!
-Spend time with people who make you happy!
-Go on a walk somewhere really beautiful.
-Dance around in your room to happy music (like, dorky happy music–that stuff you don’t admit you listen to, get some Taylor Swift up in there!)
-Take a nice bath and treat your skin to delicious smelling soap and lotion.
-I could go on, but you get the idea! Revel in being alive and doing something that helps you relax and feel cared for.

Happy Treat Yourself Day!

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