I'm pretty good some days at nurturing or soothing myself, other days, not so much. A previous therapist who helped me through child abuse issues said that doing self-care is like a muscle that doesn't get used often. In order to strengthen it, you must exercise it. So, self care and nurturing requires practice.
Another way of thinking about it is to mother your sad inner child who may not have been mothered in the way we would want. Like many of you, I'm a caretaker. I've taken care of others to an extreme while neglecting my own needs. I'm now trying to learn how to take care of me.
I thought it might be helpful to share some of my strategies and invite you to share yours. I'd love to learn new ways to nurture myself as I move towards my new life.
1. When something good happens or something that makes you feel good, try to be mindful and stay in the moment. This happened to me yesterday. I was in my back yard when it began to rain. I stood in the warm rain and ate blackberries as I picked them off the vine. I didn't worry about my hair or who would see me. I just stood there and enjoyed.
2. Aromatherapy - I love nice natural scents. I burn incense sometimes. I usually burn cedar or spruce. I really like the scent of trees. Other times, I use essential oils in a diffuser. Lavender oil is good for stress, peppermint is good for headaches, and eucalyptus oil is good for sadness and grief. My acupuncturist sold me something that smells fabulous for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety. Sometimes I use it just because I love the scent. Other times, I use it for the purpose.
3. A heated wrap - I know this will sound weird because its summer, but.... I love my heated wrap. Today, I'm sitting on it and using on my low back. My muscles are sore and achy from all the packing and lifting I've done the past couple of days. This heat really helps.
4. A hot bath - I don't do this often but I mix Epsom salts with an essential oil and put in my bath. If my skin is feeling dry and itchy, I add in a couple of spoonful(s) of olive oil. (Yep, the kind you eat and cook with.) It really soothes/moisturizes skin. It's a cheap way to relax and feel pampered.
5. Stretching - When some body part hurts, I try to gently stretch the area. If I can reach it, I'll massage as well.
6. Gratitude - I try to purposefully find things to be grateful for. There is always something. Maybe its just I like the green leaves on the trees outside my window. Anyway, practicing gratitude helps me.
7. Massing my skin - Some days when I'm feeling skin hungry, I spend a few minutes massaging my skin with lotion. It's not as good as a hug, but it's better than nothing. Cuddling with my dogs helps skin hunger as well.
8. A nice meal. Some days I will make a nice meal for myself. Then I take the time to eat it and focus on how much I like the taste, texture, etc. I feel better if I don't eat junk and I've spent a lot of time just cramming something in my mouth while doing things for others. For lunch, I had homemade guacamole and chips. Heaven!
Ladies, please share what you do. I challenge you to do something special for yourself today. Please teach me new ways to pamper myself. I learn so much from each of you. Thank you in advance!