What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
I'm on vacation and have been struck down with a mighty cold during this time off, but is it getting me down? Hell naw, son. I got this here list. Let me know if any of this works for you in upping your self-love-o-meter, or if you have better ideas.
#1: I am asking for help.
This is the most psychotic time of year in terms of overbookedness and parties and gift-giving and travel and family family family your family will eat you alive family. I find that one of the main ways that I become overwhelmed is letting my junk pile up -- spiritually and physically. OK, mainly physically. So I decided to do what I have a lot of trouble doing naturally: saying, "Help me!"
So I went to Facebook and I asked for recommendations for a good cleaning person. I didn't expect it to turn into anything but throwing away money for cleaning I should be doing myself if I wasn't so lazy, unorganized, you fill in the self-insult. Instead, what happened next amazed me. The lady that I hired was not only one a completely lovely human being, but she was sick talented in terms of spatial reorganization and giving me an entirely new place in a matter of hours.
"I was thinking I could maybe rearrange my bathroom with this bigger shelf," I said to her, not really thinking much about it.
An hour later my bathroom had been completely redone (the style before I would describe as "piles of bags chic") all due to me daring to take a risk in asking for help. Had I simply suffered in silence, resigned to never getting it together, this bathroom miracle (which is having a ripple effect throughout the rest of my place) never would have happened.
#2: I am listening to my body.
My wrist is still in a lot of pain from having a scooter fall, and I knew that I needed to try to release some of the tension that has accumulated from the accident. I booked a massage, and before you know it, I had this out-of-body experience where I heard the sound of my body softly snoring, and I realized it was the same relaxed noise I hear from my pup when he is starting to drift off.
I woke up eventually and my wrist felt a lot better -- and I felt proud of myself for giving my body what it really needed: positive therapeutic touch.
#3: I am forcing myself to do at least one thing a day that is meditative and healthy for me to unwind and get in touch with my inner life.
Some days it is doing free writing at 750words.com. Other days it is reading silly affirmations (my latest one is "I am made of love" -- I so love that one, it's just so beautiful to me for some reason). Another day it might just be taking a long walk where I let my brain wander and really pay attention to the beauty that surrounds me.
It's so easy to take New York (or any city) for granted, and I find that when I don't try to cram in a phone session, a music playlist, an audiobook, a podcast into my ears, I can sometimes actually listen to what's happening inside of me. Hey, look at that pretty tree. Oh look, it's some crunchy melting snow. Beautiful.
#4: I am not putting off things that I might normally put off.
Do I owe someone a quote for an article they are writing? A recommendation I said I would provide? A birthday card for a niece? When I'm not in a good place, I will look at all these things as a giant mass of can't-deal-with-it-nightmare-town. When I'm taking charge, I remember something a very wise former boss once told me: "I look at it like this. I can either do the dishes, which takes five minutes. Or I can agonize over not doing the dishes, which can take five hours." Good call.
#5: I am listening to TED talks!
I love learning so much I think it might actually be a form of knowledge hoarding. Like those who are addicted to seeking and chase around every guru and religious leader they can find. Sometimes I feel that way about my love of documentaries and public speakers who share, you know, "ideas worth spreading." But damn, TED can provide such a shot in the arm when you least expect it.
Most recently, I fell in love with this talk that discussed the five regrets people have when they are dying -- and how it relates to getting your brain better, finding happiness and achieving social connectivity through gaming. So good. And it also gives you a sense of eternal youth. Remember that buzz you got in high school or college when you found a teacher who made you glad to be alive on earth to hear her ideas? That's what it does for me.
#6: I am not trying to change people.
This is a huge one. You know that figure in your life you might continuously be irritated by no matter what? (Hey, maybe it's even yourself. I know I fall into that category a lot.) There is so much power in the idea of acceptance. A cat is being a cat. A dog is being a dog. That person is being that person.
Releasing the entire situation from judgement can be such a freeing act. It doesn't mean you don't want to take care of yourself, but part of taking care of yourself is accepting whatever the reality of a human being -- and not shaking your fist, wishing some guy would be more perfect or a family member would be more attentive. "Wherever you go, there you are," as is the name of one of my favorite books.
#7: I am allowing myself pleasure and a social life.
I have a friend who's been trying to fix me up for a while now, and last Friday, I reached out to one of the guys and said, "Hey! Let's go see 'American Hustle.'" It was spontaneous, and I don't think it turned into some love match or anything, but I had a lot of fun seeing the movie and meeting a new person. (Probably my favorite David O. Russell movie to date.) I also just had a lot of fun making time for something that had nothing to do with meeting some goal or objective. We had popcorn! It was salty and good. LIKE LIFE, RIGHT?
What about you? Are you practicing more self-love right now -- or less? What are you doing to take care of yourself, or even to stay more sane? Is it even possible this time of year?
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.