A manicure would be really great right now -- a trip to the spa? Even better. Want a thoughtfully prepared and healthy meal, or a 'lose track of time' walk in a city you love? How about a long weekend getaway somewhere in nature, with 2 new books or a bunch of podcasts that have nothing to do with your job?
At this point, that would literally be magical, right?
But, sigh, practicalities set in and you just can't do that stuff regularly.
Fortunately, there are other ways to relax and restore that are accessible, easy and surprisingly effective. These little acts of restoration are also surprisingly important.
Relaxing, restoring and managing the different facets of your personal well-being is called self-care. There are all different kinds of self-care (like sensory self-care, for example) and there are endless ways to engage in self-care.
Speaking of which, here are trois from moi:
1. Wash your face -- a refreshing way to reset.
2. Make some tea -- how can you deny the Sleepytime brand with the little bear in its PJ's?
3. Stretch -- it brings you back to your body and loosens your muscles, which sends immediate neurochemical signals to your brain that basically go, "Ok, you can relax for real now." (It'll probably help that jaw clenching thing you don't even notice you're doing, too.)
It's nice if you can find a relaxing place to stretch like the lovely woman in the above photo, but if you have time to go to Central Park and stretch out in the grass, you probably aren't in dire need of immediate self-care. The good thing about stretching is that you can do it anywhere, the floor of your office, in the bathroom, while you're in bed right before you go to sleep, wherever.
Some of these self-care acts seem too simple to make a difference, but don't underestimate the cumulative power of consistent self-care. So often we seek boldness in change, we long for a grand gesture from within, the definitive moment, the memorable day that we finally decided to stop or start. We want to be able to package our change in a glamorized and compelling story, "It was right then, right that second, I knew." Honest change doesn't really work like that. Put boldness down for a moment and please hold onto this: No matter how small the gesture, regularly treating yourself thoughtfully and with kindness will absolutely change your life.