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The other day, Paulette Terrels wrote about self care.  “When we know that we deserve the very best care, and that it must begin with us, we find our health increased, and our mind more spacious.”

I agree.  The better we take care of ourselves, the more magnanimous we become to others.  Whereas some would say that spending so much time thinking about yourself is selfish, I find that I am more openly willing to give to others when I feel full and well cared for..

One of the things I love about self care is that there are so many ways to do it.  Just the act of making your own list of ways is an exercise in taking good care.

Actions you can take for your own self care run the gamut from a full body, expensive massage to smiling.  I like to note and acknowledge when I’ve done something good for myself – getting a little more mileage out of it.  Some things I choose are when I moisturize my skin or say no when I really mean it.  It might be that I’ve just gotten off my own back.

You only need small bites to begin building your list of ways.  It could be a small change you need to make in a task to make it a whole lot easier or more fun.  Standing instead of sitting or sitting instead of standing, doing it 15 minutes later, or including music are some simple ways to show that you care.  Every time I remember to use music, I’m doing something good fo myself!

The more obvious things we can do for our self care are healthy eating, taking exercise, or spending time outside, in nature.  Naps are a favorite one of mine.  Even if it’s only five minutes to put up my feet and close my eyes.

I need to have at least a few minutes to journal each day. Others might need to play the piano or sketch.  It’s important to include, every day, some time for the things you love to do.

Indulgences are always fun, such as a long hot bath, a favorite dessert, or taking a vacation.  But self care can just mean being kind to yourself.  Forgiving yourself for what might have appeared to be a mistake.  It might be releasing a project that’s been weighing heavily on you, or taking a full lunch hour to eat slowly and quietly.

Once you get started on this game, the ideas will flow – a manicure, pedicure or foot massage.  That a/v or computer equipment you’ve been wanting, the piece of clothing or extra pillow you’ve been talking about.  Of course you don’t want to break the bank, but even letting yourself know that your desire is worthwhile by saving for it can go a long way to boosting your well being.  On the other hand, you don’t want to put off the purchase of something that could make your life easier or better that you can readily afford.  I once found myself struggling with a bent litter scoop.  It cost about $2.85 to keep me from complaining every time I went to scoop litter.

The point is just to answer the longings of your soul. Listen for ways to make your life easier. Be open for ways to have what you want.  You’ll know the true longings of your soul by how they make you feel.  If what you want ultimately makes you feel worse or goes against what you’re trying to accomplish, who you’re trying to be, you’ll know that’s the wrong way to go.  But as long as you stay tuned into things that are good for you, help you to move forward rather than backwards, those actions will say, “I respect you.”

Stay on the lookout and list those things that you can do to bring on that wonderful feeling that you know you care about yourself. When you can rest into that knowledge, you will no longer need to depend on others for it.

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