Most of us are taught that the way to succeed is too work lots of hours, exercise until we can’t move, and “rest when we die.” We’re taught to measure our success by how hard we work and how much we can acquire.
This “no pain, no gain” culture can have many negative effects, including a feeling of emptiness and disconnection from ourselves and others.
We can see this disconnection from our bodies in the way many of us treat our bodies. We stuff ourselves into clothes that are too tight or clothes that we don’t even like, we say things to one another like, “I hate my thighs/arms/breasts/_____,” we eat highly chemicalized diet foods in an effort to change our body types, we over-exercise to the point of pain and exhaustion. In essence, we treat our bodies with hate and then get angry when our bodies won’t do our bidding.
Pleasurable self care reverses this cycle of disconnection and body hatred. I say “pleasurable,” because it’s important to choose your self care rituals based on what feels good to your body rather than what you think your body should want.
If some lovely idea for a self care ritual has popped into your mind already, do that as your first self care ritual.
Schedule self care every single day. You will find that making time for self care sends a message to you and your body of its intrinsic value, and you will find yourself, more and more, making decisions throughout your day that support your true needs rather than what others expect of you.
Here are 15 ideas for self care rituals, just to get you started.
- Massage your whole body slowly, with wonderful smelling lotion.
- Get or give yourself a manicure.
- Take 10 deep breaths with soothing music playing.
- Take an dance class.
- Take a walk in a park and smell the air.
- Put your feet up and call a friend whom you haven’t spoken with in a while.
- Read a novel by candlelight.
- Trade foot rubs with a friend.
- Go to a comedy show and enjoy those big belly laughs.
- Wear your favorite party clothes or lingerie while doing the dishes.
- Put a fake tattoo on a body part that you typically denigrate and giggle whenever you see the tattoo.
- Get a massage, facial or body scrub.
- Draw a picture like you did when you were a child.
- Play with your dog (or a friend’s dog).
- Free write in a journal.
As you can see, self care rituals don’t have to cost a lot. The key to enjoying your self care ritual is to notice, with all five senses, what it feels like to your body. Also, it’s important not to judge yourself. This is just playtime, and it’s about your enjoyment and nothing more.
Comment below with your favorite self care rituals. Let us know how you felt, before, during and afterwards. Feel free to comment with questions too.
Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. Go to http://www.bodylovewellness.com/free to get your free download – Golda’s Top Ten Tips For Divine Dining!