Self-care is many things. It is many different practices. It is small, and it is big. It is making a meaningful life change like switching jobs, seeing a therapist, and ending a toxic relationship. And it is eating when you’re hungry, taking a restorative yoga class because that’s how you love to move, and saying no when you mean no.
Self-care can be light and silly. It can be fun and yes, even, frivolous. It can be complicated and overflowing with painful emotions (which might happen in a session with a therapist, or while you’re sitting with your grief at home). It can be unique and creative, and it can be boring and mundane.
Today, I’d like to share the former with you, so you can add some creative, totally doable practices to your routine. These practices come from the new book I’m Awesome. Here’s Why…110 Lists, Activities, and Prompts to Remind You Why You’re Amazing by Sara Katherine, a writer, blogger, and coach.
- Have a self-care jar. Fill a jar with simple, fun ways to take care of yourself. As Katherine writes, “Include everything that helps you to feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to take on your awesome life.” She also suggests practicing at least one of these activities every day. Your jar might include activities such as meditating for a minute, taking a walk around the block, having a 10-minute dance party, journaling about your feelings, reading an inspiring poem, massaging your hands, and decluttering a drawer (decluttering can be an act of self-care, too). Simply pick any piece of paper from your jar, and try that activity.
- Focus on your favorite color. Discover what your favorite color symbolizes, and the emotions it sparks (e.g., you can Google it). Next, reflect on these questions: Does this new information surprise me? Or does it represent me and my emotions pretty accurately? Use a marker, pencil, or crayon in that color, and draw a scene that embodies that color. This might be anything from people to a landscape. Lastly, reflect on how you feel when you express yourself in this way.
- Create a comfort list. To start, jot down your favorite quote, song (or specific lyric), book, movie, and/or TV show. Think of these as resources you can turn to when you need a feel-good boost. Add to this list any time you come across other resources that resonate with you. When compiling your initial list, reflect on these questions: Why is this my favorite quote? Are there specific situations in my life that this quote has helped me to endure, or does it simply spark a feeling of joy when I read it? Why does this specific song or lyric help me to feel awesome? “Is it the message, the beat, or the artist singing it?” Why does a certain book resonate with me so much? What about a certain movie or show helps me to feel good? Do I relate to the characters, or to the story?
- Color your emotions. Use different colors on the page to express how you’ve been feeling lately. Then think about why you’ve been feeling this way. Are external factors causing these emotions? Or is something swirling inside that’s sparking these feelings? As Katherine writes, “Becoming mindful of your emotions and their causes is an important first step toward gaining a better understanding of who you are.”
- Pen each day’s epic story. According to Katherine, “Every day is a chance for a wonderful, exciting adventure. Viewing each day as this special opportunity is a simple way to feel awesome about your life and what you’re doing every day.” Jot down the events of today—no matter how small—as though it were an epic novel. “Every event is a key part of your amazing journey.”
Self-care also can be an experiment. It’s a process of trial and error. We try activities and practices that we think will recharge and rejuvenate us, and connect us to others and ourselves. Sometimes, these things do all of that, and sometimes, they miss the mark.
Either way, we learn valuable information about ourselves, about what works, and what doesn’t, about the next steps we can take, and the steps to avoid. And that’s all self-care, too.