Ups and Downs
Life is full of ups and downs. Here are a few things you can do for yourself to help the downs feel less and to create a few more up moments. It's really important to take a little time for loving yourself and enjoying being in your skin. If you remember to do that, there will be more of you to give. If you take the time to care for yourself, others will care for you more too. If you are kind to yourself, it will allow you to be kinder to others because you will not need to feel resentment. When we don't give ourselves time for ourselves - for care of our bodies, minds and spirits, we can become angry and resentful and that spills out into our lives and the lives of those we care about.
For the awareness of being alive, for all that you have, for all you can be and do. If you can't do all of the things below, you might be able to do one. Give thanks for that. An attitude of thankfulness can make life feel better all on it's own.
Fill a large plastic bowl with very warm water, add half a cup of milk infused with a few drops of peppermint oil. Soak feet for ten to fifteen minutes then pat dry with a soft towel. Give yourself a long, slow foot massage with your favourite moisturiser. Pop on a pair of white cotton socks to protect your feet while the moisturiser soaks in. Put those feet up while you enjoy a nice cup of tea and a magazine.
Arrange all your bits and pieces before you begin. Nail polish, remover, base coat, files, nail clippers, bowl of warm water, nail brush and soft towel and moisturiser. Allow yourself time to enjoy the process. Do your nails then take the time to enjoy a good hand massage with a nourishing moisturiser. Love your hands. They work so hard for you. Don't rush the process. Take time to appreciate your hands.
Cup of Tea
Make yourself a really nice hot cup of tea and give yourself time to sit and drink it while it's still hot. If you're having a biscuit then taste it. What can you taste? Can you identify the different ingredients? Breathe. Enjoy the moment. It's a gift.
Write yourself a thank you note
Write a note to yourself and thank yourself for all that you do. Pretend that it's coming from someone else and accept the thanks. You know that lots of people are probably thankful for the things you do, but just don't think to say thank you. Say it yourself. Mean it. You are brilliant at being you. You are unique. No one else can be you. Make a list of things you like about yourself. Then say thanks. If you don't think you like anything about yourself, look harder...think harder. Like that you can read. Like that you can see. Like that you can think. Like that you are alive. Like that you can learn to love yourself more. Thank you.
Write to someone else
Write a note or card to thank someone else for something. It might be a small thing or a big thing. Think about the things others do (not necessarily for you) that you take for granted. Do you notice someone being kind to someone else? Do you notice someone doing some little thing that makes the world a better place? Say thank you for once. Imagine how good that other person will feel to know that they're making a difference. We all like to be appreciated.
Light a candle
Any time, day or night. Light a candle and watch the flame. Enjoy the movement it makes. Concentrate on it for a few minutes. Leave the world behind and just be with the light for a little while. Breathe deeply and evenly and feel the peace it gives you. Be gentle in your spirit. Love yourself and life.
Pick a flower
Pick one flower. Smell the fragrance. Notice the structure and form of the different parts. Marvel at the beauty of this simple thing. Notice the veins, the colours, the shapes. Be thankful. Realise that a flower is one small fragment of a wonderful world.
Grab a pencil and some paper and draw just for fun. Even just lines on the page. Wavy lines, little circles. Anything you feel like doing. Don't think about what it is meant to look like. Just enjoy the movement of your hand and the marks that are happening on the page. It's not for anyone else. Just for you. Enjoy the process. If it turns into something recognisable that's okay. It's also okay if it doesn't. It's okay if it looks like a two year old drew it. It's okay. Just feel the process and let any tension flow out through the pencil onto the paper and let it go. When you're done you can keep it or throw it away or burn it; whatever feels right.
Do you get up in the morning without stretching? Take a few minutes to really stretch your body in any way you can. Feel how tall you can make yourself feel. Learn a few yoga stretches and enjoy feeling your body move and stretch and rest. Squeeze the tension out and let it disappear into the atmosphere. Imagine it flowing out of you and away into the clouds.
Allow yourself some time to just do nothing. Sit and close your eyes. Hear your breath. Allow it to slow down and follow it in and out. Realise the miracle of life. It rests in that breath. In and out. Such a gift. Such a wonder.
Do you get mad at yourself? I do. Pressure to be and do so much all the time. Pressure to meet someone else's expectations. We can feel that we are never enough. We can't possibly be all things to all people. Whilst it is not realistic to 'please oneself' all the time, choose what you do and how you do it. Say no to things that compromise your personal values. Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to be who you are. Remember that you're a work in progress. You will be growing and changing for your whole life. If you don't like who you are now, at least accept and love who you are and make gentle changes that take you towards the you you'd like to be.
Get as much sleep as you can. Television and the computers have become great thieves of sleep. There is always one more movie to watch, one more episode to see, one more game to play, one more level to achieve. The result is that we spend too much time awake! Sleep is our time of restoration. We need it. I slept eleven hours the other night. Straight up. I was tired and not feeling so well, but I felt so much better after a long sleep. I think about how often I am ready for bed but something comes on tv that grabs my attention and before I know it I've stayed up another couple of hours. Once I get past that first sleepy stage, I don't seem to want to go to bed again for hours and hours. I'm going to try to take more notice of that first hint of sleepiness and honour it. If it comes at 8.30 then I'll go to bed and sleep. Turning the tv and computer off and reading or meditating for a little while could help with inducing sleepiness. Our brains need a little time to slow down after all the excitement of movies and computer games.
Take a walk around the garden or anywhere outside. Feel the weather, smell the smells, see the colours, hear the sounds, feel your body moving, the breeze against your face and hands. Get into the moment and get into the movement. Note to self. Do this more often. It's guaranteed to improve your mood and your health. My aunt is in her seventies and has had two hip replacements. She uses a stick for insurance but still she walks the dog every day. She lives in England and she walks every day regardless of the weather or how she feels. If walking every day repays you with the great sense of fun and joie de vivre she emotes, then it has to be a good thing! She is one of my heroes.
Dance and sing
Whenever I sing someone tells me not to give up my day job...but I do it anyway! Singing feels good. It makes me laugh. I drum on containers, I jiggle and dance just for the joy of moving. It's not pretty. I don't care. I'm saying to you now, rejoice in being alive...your body is yours so enjoy how it feels. Dance at home on your own if that's the only time it feels good. Dance in the little room if that's the only privacy you have. Dance, feel good and let the smile spread across your face. Imagine the music if you have to. We all can dance to the rhythm of life. We all can sing. Have you ever heard anyone say "I can't sing". Phooey to that. If you have a voice baby, you can sing. So sing. If someone laughs, feel good that you gave them a giggle.
What do you do?
What do you do to feel good when you need a little time out to repair yourself? It is a bit like patching up. We all go through rough times in different ways. We all need fixing up sometimes!! Don't be ashamed if you need some down time. Go for it. Do it.You only need to give yourself permission.