In fact, my friend Diane, who worked for 20 years in a ‘go-nowhere’ job did the best. She often turned down party invitations to stay home with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. Friends and colleagues would think she is a recluse. I understand. She’s my role model for self-care. She doesn’t do anything she doesn’t feel like doing.
On the flipside, one of my clients, an entrepreneur, wouldn’t allow herself 2 hours within the next week to watch a recommended ‘feel-good’ movie.
We feel guilty for doing something nice for ourselves. We don’t think we have enough time to take for ourselves. Sometimes it appears in the simplest of situations. We go to the counter of Starbuck’s and pick up a couple of muffins and two cappuccinos and sit down with our friend. If one is larger than the other, we instinctively hand it to our friend. Was that a friendly gesture, or do we always do it, because we feel we don’t deserve more.
We find ourselves locking the bathroom door, just to have a few minutes of solitude. Why can’t we take 20 minutes for a hot bubble bath at least once a week without feeling guilty?
We seem to think that self-care only occurs on 3-day weekends and our annual one-week vacation. I’ve found some subtle ways to sneak some self-care into our weekly routine so our social selves will not berate us.
· You’re running errands on your lunch hour, and have 10 minutes to spare. Instead of rushing back to the office, what about that cute antique shop you always pass by. Why don’t you pop in for a moment?
· Find an attractive mug or tea cup you like – perhaps $5 – make it a ritual to have a cup of coffee or tea once a week – or once a day and make it special.
· Do you have time for a walk? It could be your neighborhood or the park near your office. Twenty minutes won’t hurt. Go feed the ducks, or the squirrels, or admire the pansies.
If these suggestions are easy for you, you might be ahead of the game. Wanna go for the gusto and try something risky? Artist, writer and performer Julia Cameron offers in her book “The Artist’s Way” what she calls the ‘artist date’. She recommends once a week to make a date with yourself (alone) to do something your soul loves. For an hour or more, go to an art museum or exhibit, a concert or movie, an antique mall, a walk at a special nature area, etc. with no one but your inner child. Over the years, I’ve extended it to anything my inner child is pulling me to do. After a little practice, I felt a pull to do something special often, even if it wasn’t blocked out in my calendar. Try it, and see how it feels for you. Trust me, it can be habit-forming...