101 Little Ways We Care for Ourselves


101 Little Ways We Care for Ourselves

Usborne coloringOn February 24th, Denise and @brucemc had a podcast called  It's the Little Things (All 101 of Them). If you haven't listened, I highly recommend it.

I got to thinking. It usually is the little things that touch us so deeply, a touch on the arm, a kind word, a friend who sits silently with us in a difficult wait. Those are life changing things. We can lend our presence, our gentleness, our words and our silence.

So I keep returning to the thought: Can we list 101 ways we care for ourselves? I'll get us started, and I'm hoping you all comment below and add your numbers in sequence with the person above you. Let's see if we can get to 101! Feel free to return to add more as you think of them.

Small things, simple things, hings you can do at home, things you can do for free or almost free, things by yourself, things with others.

Small things that are really big things.

I mentioned this idea on chat today, and Lillie told me it fits perfectly with this morning's podcast with Denise,Bruce and Jane called "finding yourself in caregiving." That's my next stop, after I post this. We can listen here.

Let's get started!

1. Put on favorite perfume/lotion/aftershave even if you won't see anyone but your caree today, even if no one at all.

2. Same as above, with a favorite scarf or outfit. Do it for you.

3. Same as above, with sparkly, funky earrings.

4. Put on some music, loud, quiet, whatever suits you. Headphones if necessary. Let Pandora introduce you to some new tunes customized just for you.

5. Soak. Light a candle.

6. Breathe. You've been breathing all day without noticing. Now, notice. Try 90 seconds of breathing, not controlled or forced, just noticing what your body's been doing all day.

7. This one sounds odd, but it works for me. (Idea is from Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff, highly recommended read.) I thought it was wacky until I tried it. The idea is that your brain responds to touch even when it doesn't know who is providing it. So, you can give yourself a squeeze, or a compassionate touch of the kind you would give a friend in need of comforting. For me, that means rubbing my shoulder/upper arm tenderly. It can be accompanied by spoken words or silent thoughts of "You are doing a good job  You are only human.  You will make it."  I swear, it works for me. And no one has to know how silly you feel at first. It's between you and you.

8. Call a friend you've been meaning to talk to for a long time. Send a card. Send an email. Send a text.

9. Do a random act of kindness.

10. Smile, even a half-hearted one. It changes body chemistry. Again, sounds wacky but works for me. I have found if I put my mouth in a pleasant position, I can feel my breathing change.

11. Color, doodle, Zentangle. The photo on the post is color by number by Usborne books, made for children but very suitable for me. Relaxing beyond belief! (This is not an advertisement, but my daughter is a consultant for Usborne books--message me if you want info.

Okay, who wants to start with number 12?

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43. Pedicure. I love being fussed over and scrubbed and massaged. Ahhhhh......\r\n\r\n44. Skip the thruway and take the scenic route home. So what if it takes 15 minutes longer!\r\n\r\n45. Gardening -- get your hands in the dirt. I love weeding -- it's so zen for me. \r\n\r\n46. Pull a prank. My coworkers and I take turns playing practical jokes on one another. Laughter is like food and air -- vital to life.\r\n\r\n47. Take a walk on your lunch hour. Leave the stress of the office behind. \r\n\r\n48. Wrap presents in elaborate, fancy, lush, beautiful styles in my workroom. \r\n\r\n49. Eat dinner on our big Victorian front porch and watch the world walk by. Smile and wave at neighbors pushing strollers and walking dogs.


This is my kind of list! Great ideas!\r\n\r\n35. A bit creepy, but during the worst few years of my wife's illness, I stopped by a cemetery every week or two on the way home after work for a 15 minute renewal of perspective and reality. Reality=everyone has had some sort of adversity. Perspective=We didn't ask for this, but my kids still have a mom and I still have a wife, so we'll do the best we can with what we've got.\r\n\r\n36. Not creepy. 20 minute early morning walk in our neighborhood's greenbelt.\r\n\r\n37. Not for everyone, but Sunday night ESPN baseball therapy.\r\n\r\n38. 15 minutes of quiet, meditation, listening, Qigong, contemplation, or prayer.\r\n\r\n39. 15-20 minutes of exercise because the hour long routine isn't happening.\r\n\r\nWho's picking up #40?\r\n\r\nBruce


Loving what you guys are coming up with!\r\n\r\n33. Stretch. Reach for the sky. Then stretch in a side bend. My favorite, grab the opposite shoulder and twist to look over your shoulder. Ahhhhhhh!\r\n34. Choose some small stuff not to sweat, something to let go of. For me, a recent example is that my husband has begun standing to eat sometimes, and has recently added watching TV while standing. (if he sits down, inertia sets in. I kept repeating, \"Don't you want to sit down?\" and even, \"You're making me distracted standing up right now.\" That's small stuff. It doesn't matter , it doesn't affect anyone else, and it makes him comfortable. Let it go, Mar.


23. Take a photograph of something beautiful, out your window or in your own yard. Consider posting it on April 1 in the “First Photos” forum.\r\n24. Taste your food. One grape at a time, feel the juice squirt into your mouth.\r\n25. Stand outside for 5 minutes and use all five senses one at a time. See the view. Smell the air. Taste the flavor in your mouth. Listen. Feel the air — what is the temperature? Where does the heat or coolness or cold primarily touch your body? What direction is it moving?\r\n26. Create a 'time out\" spot in your home -- could be just a side table with some pretty flowers and a chair beside it -- could be positioned for a beautiful outside view. \r\n27. Make yourself a beverage and savor it -- in our still cool climate, it could be coffee/tea/cocoa -- in warm climates, a smoothie, an iced coffee, iced tea or soda. Savor it sip by sip.\r\n28. Daydream. Picture a vacation scene in your mind, and feel free to create one for somewhere you've never seen. Daydream your hopes and dreams, embrace some possibilites. \r\n\r\nYay! We’re more than 1/4 of the way to 101! Keep posting!

Allison O'Brien

21. Make some microwave popcorn, get all snuggled up on the couch or in bed....with lots of pillows and put in a funny movie. Laughter is healing!!!\r\n22. Find a good guided meditation CD and let your mind and body relax!! Get your self centered and let that inner peace take over for a bit!

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