Today I want to share with you the rituals of self care that I use to nourish and replenish myself.
Over the last year, I have noticed that I am consistently more joyful and more at peace than I have been in a long time. It is a joy that has been carved out, worked for and earned, and because of that, I know that it cannot be taken away from me without my permission.
Many things contributed to this replenishing of my inner wellbeing, but one of the main factors was my steady devotion to the quiet things that fill my cup.
I began to schedule and commit to my joy as I would to any other obligation I had. I show up for it. I am punctual. I am prepared. I hold myself responsible and accountable for my state of being.
To me, self-care is about uncovering the delight of this brief life. It serves to connect me with full self, and then, most importantly – in allows me to extend that connection to the world.
Here are my practices;
Magnify and slow down the little things
Take note of the simple activities that spark joy for you, and resolve to do them more often. It may be the simple act of puttering around your kitchen, making and drinking a hot cup of tea in peace or curling up in your favourite chair by the window and re-reading your favourite book.
Other simple acts: watering your plants, walking to the grocery store, drawing in your sketch book….
I personally love to drink a cup of coffee in a quiet place, with a notebook and my thoughts. I enjoy sitting at the piano and playing music that is beautiful to me. I enjoy making my daughter belly laugh. I enjoy practicing partner-yoga with her. I enjoy sitting down to meditate. I enjoy walking in the sunshine while listening to music that reflects how I feel in that moment. These things spark great joy for me.
I try to do some of these things every day, and when I do, I do it slowly, intentionally and indulgently. I relish in these small moments that often don’t take much time at all, but leave a big impression on my state of being.
Scheduled time to work on my Passion Projects
Since the beginning of February, I have given myself 2 hours every Friday morning to dedicate to my passion projects. This could be writing a blog post, or a poem, or planning a new video I want to make, or sharing my thoughts on a topic that matters to me on instagram. Since doing this, I feel so fulfilled knowing that I am actually giving myself a chance to do what is important to my heart. I love that I gave myself permission to schedule joy-practices into my week and I love showing up for them with discipline and responsibility.
Since having Reya, I started a habit of getting a massage every 6 weeks or so. Pregnancy and motherhood can take a toll on your body; what with 9 months of a little bowling ball attached to your abdomen which then becomes a bowling ball attached to your hip. My back hurt a lot. And so I began getting massages and never looked back.
It is one pure hour of allowing myself to lay in stillness and melt away any tension that is held in my body. I haven’t started getting massages here in Minnesota yet because we just moved here, and without childcare I am not sure how I would even be able to make these appointments – but I do hope it’s in the cards at some point.
Plan/schedule something good on Mondays and Sundays
Mondays are one of my favourite days of the week because it marks the beginning of the work week (my other favourite day is Friday because I give myself 2 hours every Friday to work on my passion projects) – but I see that the majority of people don’t feel that way about Mondays. Clearly, the most obvious change to implement would be to do work that makes you excited to back to it on a Monday. But in general, Monday’s can take some adjustment, because it requires switching gears from the energy of the weekend to the energy of work. Try to schedule something fun for yourself on the days that you find difficult – something that you look forward to doing. You could schedule a meeting at work with someone who you enjoy talking to, or even just take a different route to work to stop at your favourite coffee shop on the way. Little things like this can make a big difference.
Take “a happiness day” once a month
At the beginning of every month, I schedule 2 specific days into my calendar. The first – A happiness day. The second – A life admin day. These days can be on a weekday or a weekend – a Saturday certainly works best, but it can be done while working too.
First, my Happiness Day. This is a day that I dedicate to nourishing my heart and mind, to filling myself up. It will usually involve things like reading, writing, watching/listening to something inspiring, going for a walk, an extra long meditation and pretty much anything featured in this blog post as they are all things that bring me joy. Life is busy and I have responsibilities that I couldn’t disregard for an entire day, so my happiness day is more like a focus and intention for the day. In-between my daily tasks, I will make sure I do things that inspire me and nourish me. If it is possible, I would schedule a massage appointment or a date with my husband/friend too. Happiness days inspire me, and reaffirm my commitment to the life I am choosing to live, and the woman I am choosing to be.
A life admin day once a month
I also schedule a day dedicated to ticking off all those pesky to-do’s that keep sinking to the bottom of my list and never get done. Phone calls and appointments I have to make, errands I need to run. I always feel so much lighter, and productive after a life admin day.
Friend dates that fill me up.
Spending time with a friend and connecting deeply with them. Having conversations about the things that matter most to us. Instant cup-filler.
Daily joy-sprees and expressing gratitude
Take 10 minutes and see how much joy you can spread. Reach out to people. Express their impact in your life and your gratitude. Send a few messages/e-mail, leave a comment, make a phone call. Share encouragement and support. Spread joy and delight. Pour your light onto others. Play with your child, or your dog. Have a 5 minute conversation with someone where you tell someone what they truly mean to you. I aim to do a minimum 3 delight-giving acts every day when I do my “joy spree.” Sometimes 3 turns into 10. Those are such fun days!
30 minutes a day at least 4 times a week is what I aim for. Watching my body transform fills me with admiration and awe for my body and the power I hold to change things.
My daily meditation/kriya practice and my monthly mindfulness practice nourishes me on an energetic level. It allows me access a different intensity of joy that I never really had access to before. Without it, everything is a little bit blander. Meditation makes life electric.
Dwell in joy more – Create a happy folder
This year, I have endeavoured to dwell in my success more than I ever have before. When we receive praise or achieve some form of success, it is so tempting to dismiss it and file it away quickly under “unimportant.” Now, I take a different approach. I celebrate my successes, all of them, from the smallest of accomplishments, to the bigger victories. I also dwell in a good feeling or a good exchange for longer than what feels natural to me. I keep a “happy folder” where I collect good things. A kind word said about me, a compliment, praise, a good thing done, an accomplishment, the things I have overcome. We tend to replay back our failures and criticisms, don’t we? If we’re going to play that game, then why can’t we replay our praise too? At the end of the month, I also make a list of all the highlights and lowlights of the month. My highlight list is always so long and my lowlights brief. It’s rewarding to visually see that there is so much to be grateful for, in comparison to the set backs.
Cuddles with my husband
My love language is physical touch. I am OBSESSED with cuddles with my husband. I tell him it’s like a drug for me, and he rolls his eyes and thinks that is SO excessive. Once you identify what your love language is, take some time to indulge in it for some time, as part of your self-care practice.
Reset days every week
I use one day a week to “reset” myself, review the week that has just passed and make plans for the week that is to come. Taking time to intentionally organize myself and my week stop me from feeling like I am tumbling unconsciously through the month. It gives me a focus. It lights a spark and gives me something to honour, nurture and create in the next 7 days. I know that I thrive in that “fresh start” feeling, so I try to give myself as many fresh starts as possible.
Celebrating my wins
I talked about this before, but not taking the time to let your wins sink in and just rushing onto the next great challenge, is the breeding ground for imposter syndrome. We have to take a real minute to acknowledge and celebrate our wins, big and small. It takes some creative thinking to find ways to reward myself that are not centered around food/spending money, but is worthwhile to do so.
Listening to music, decluttering, reorganizing, redecorating my room.
I’ve identified a few activities that puts me into a happy state. One of them is listening to music while I declutter, reorganize and re-decorate my home. I like the lightness of decluttering. I like owning just a few cherished and valuable items. I like changing the energy of my space. I like making things beautiful, a candle burning, fresh flowers in a vase, an open window, and everything tidy and organized.
Doing something really FUN!
Whatever that may be for you. My husband and I used to take Bachata classes once a week and that was just pure fun! I looked forward to every class and felt so good afterwards. Since having Reya, and along with the other commitments I have in my week, I haven’t been able to have as many novel, fun experiences as much – like taking a class or learning a new skill etc. But I do know that this is something that does make me feel really happy. Other ideas: Comedy clubs, concerts, a new fitness class, paint night, dance class, trampolining, adult-obstacle courses etc
Take a nap with wild abandon
Sometimes what nourishes my mind and body is to just sleep! It just resets my energy and reminds me that life can be lived slowly and luxuriously too, and not simply rushing from one task to another. I can do this by means of a nap with my daughter, or by going to bed very early (at like 8pm) with my baby and like a baby haha! Bonus when she’s with her dad or her grandma, and I get to sprawl like a starfish in the bed.
Make a little upgrade to an area of my life/home
Maybe it’s time to upgrade your knives, or your dinnerware. Maybe you’ve been dabbling with the low-waste movement, and you’d like to invest in some reusable grocery bags or a reusable travel cutlery set so you don’t have to use plastic cutlery when you eat out. Maybe you decide to finally paint the guest bedroom, or fix the shelving unit that has been bothering you for months. Maybe you want to upgrade an organizational system – perhaps you start meal planning, or laying out your outfits the night before, or trying our a new cleaning schedule. I have an ongoing list of improvements/upgrades I want to make, and work through it gradually.
The force of nature
Ways that the earth wakes me up: fresh air, morning sunlight, dense woodland, a trickling stream, golden hour, moonlight, raindrops, the wind rustling in the trees, freshly cut grass, sitting near wild flowers, the shade of trees, the ocean, cold air, warm sun on my back.
I love to laugh. I remember laughing a lot when I was in med school because I was surrounded by my friends who are all so funny. Like belly laughs till I can’t breathe and tears streaming down my face kind of laughs. That feeling you get after a long laugh attack – that is the feeling of a full cup! Joy overflowing.
Getting my eyebrows done
For me, getting my eyebrows done brings a glow to my face and I instantly feel better! Whether it is a dope manicure, or a luxurious facial, find out which beauty treatment makes you feel your best, and get it done sis.
Unplug and allow yourself to connect to what you really need
To fill yourself up, first you need to know what parts feel empty. It’s hard to know what parts feel empty when we’re always trying to “snack” and keep the hunger at bay. We don’t like feeling empty, or longing for something, because it is an uncomfortable experience. So we stuff ourselves with various things trying to satisfy ourselves – like shopping, or food, or social media. It is a profound experience to take some time and just stop snacking, stop fixing, stop trying. And just sit with yourself. Unplug from it all, from all the distractions you place on yourself so that you don’t feel something. And just be. Let yourself feel. It may be uncomfortable at first, but it will show you exactly what you need, exactly what you’re longing for. And then you can give yourself the gift of that very thing.
I realized that writing this blog post made me happy, because it reminded me of all the different ways I can delight and care for myself. I hope it gave you some ideas to cultivate rituals of joy in your life, so that you can nourish yourself and and transform the world with the magic you create.