Has it been a week where you are constantly in a state of fight or flight? Or day after day of uphill battles and everyday you have been trying SO dang hard not to be discouraged, bummed, and defeated by the world? Then its time you check out from the world and check in to Self-Care Palace for one.
If it hasn’t been a week like that, then hallelujah and let’s just acknowledge, that those types of days may not far off in the horizon. Today is a great day to plan ahead and create a toolbox full of self-care goodies so that you can tame your anxiety and soothe your overwhelmed, over-stressed mind.
Because there will come the day when you have had too many deadlines, the cat threw up right when you’re walking out the door, the kids won’t get dressed (and somehow they don’t have clean clothes either), and then your favorite pair of shoes has a strap break! Or one of those weeks were life has just been so busy, and you have been running so hard from meeting to meeting that on the commute home all you can think about is everyone leaving you alone, so you can slip into a warm bath with some candles, earplugs, and a big glass of wine.
Let’s prepare for the days you know you will need some pampering and some self-love and put together a toolbox full of items to nurture your frazzled, overworked body and mind.
Let’s make it easier to maintain self-care and sanity (Lord knows we need some sanity around here!). Please let’s take a break before extreme burnout takes effect.
What are some items you could put in a box for yourself for tough days when you just need life to give you a big, beautiful hug?
The Contents of the Self-Care Toolbox
First, I would find a beautiful box with a lid, that is at least shoebox size. You can cover an existing box with nicely decorated paper or fabric or simply shop for one next time you’re out.
Write a kind, nurturing note to yourself to put in the box. Have the note be on nice paper (no back of the envelope scribbles or scrap paper). Use the good stationery for yourself! In the note give yourself some gentle suggestions for how to relax and nourish yourself. Also, describe a few of your best qualities and traits, so that when you are feeling down, you can remember that you are still a wonderful mother, friend, caretaker, etc.
Take care of your senses
Next, include something scented. This could be candles, incense, lotion, aromatherapy oils, or bath salts. I’m a big fan of putting several drops each of lavender, fir, rose, and citrus oil into a room diffuser or on a handkerchief I can sniff when I go to bed.
Include something to nibble on. What is your comfort food? Is it salty and snacky? Or do rich chocolate truffles filled with subtle flavors make you feel like you are walking on air? Include 1-3 tasty treats that you can would look forward to savoring. You might even want to include a giftcard to a great restaurant with take-out or coffeeshop. If you can’t get take-out tonight, you can plan for it tomorrow or this week.
Include something soothing for your skin. This could be soft socks, a silk scarf, the smoothest lotion that you love or your favorite lip gloss. You might want to put the business card of your favorite massage therapist in the box, just as a reminder that perhaps its time to schedule a massage. Also lovely are natural handmade soaps, exfoliating scrubs, body care products, & toxin-free nail polishes.
As crème de la crème, start a notecard for yourself. The notecard will have this title:
What I am not going to do this week. List as many things as you can that you can give up, ignore, or delegate for the rest of the week (maybe even forever). This could include: negative self-talk, making meals for others, laundry, checking social media, taking phone calls from time-consuming energy-sucking people, and believing you are required to do everything for everyone. You can list the items now to get your brain buzzing, or leave it blank beyond the the title to finish filling in that day.
This toolbox is an invitation to slow down and tune into what you need. A big part of what you need might be tuning into what your body needs. Often when I am so stressed and at the edge of sanity, its not because I have been fueling my body with good food and getting sufficient sunshine and exercise. Ummmm no, its because I’ve been ‘in my head’ too much, either worrying or problem-solving, grabbing whatever food I can grab on the go and skipping the exercise and sunshiney walks, because I feel like there’s no time for that. Make the final item in your toolbox a checklist of things you will do, that includes nourishing food, exercise, laughter and sunlight. It might also have a soul-satisfying activity that you don’t do enough like painting, dancing, playing music, or reading.
When I tune into my body, usually what it needs is some nourishing food that is not all carbs (my go-to when I’m busy and stressed), a warm bath, and a plan that evening or the next day to stretch, move, and get my heart beating and pulse racing. You might find that you need a hot bath, massage and two nights of going to bed early. Tune into your body and feel what you need to replenish yourself. Whatever that is, take some time to do it.
Did I leave anything out that you think is essential? What are you going to include in your toolbox? Let me know via the comments below.
Take care sensitive souls,
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I can so relate to “being in my head” when I find myself stressed, anxious, and burnt out! Thanks for these reminders to tune into my body and senses. When I get overwhelmed, sleep, movement, vegetables, and connecting with those I love brings me groundedness and joy. Also, I feel more myself when I do anything that confirms my identity (I am smart, I am funny, I am caring, etc.). Thank you for sharing! Off to make a toolbox…