Fitting in me-time is a challenge for busy women. So is finding the time and energy to do the things that feed your soul, revitalize, and nourish you. Lots of very smart women feel stumped about how to reward themselves or add a bit of comfort to their lives – in a way that won’t expand their waistline.
When you’re short on time and energy, food can seem like an easy short-term fix – but it’s not the only quick and easy solution.
Here’s a list of ten easy ways to take better care of yourself and feed your soul this week.
1. Untether yourself from other people’s agendas.
Commit to a thirty minute period each day with no screens, no electronics, and no streaming sound. Sit in the sun or sink back on your couch. Close your eyes if you want to and doze off if you need to. Breathe. Be. And notice what it’s like not to have your senses pulled in multiple directions at once. Settle into your body. Notice what’s important to you instead of being tethered to the demands, messages, and agendas of everybody else.
2. Sprinkle in joy.
Do something fun that makes you smile or laugh. Watch a funny video, skip around your kitchen, pull a prank, or make faces at a baby on the train until she bursts into a grin. It doesn’t have to take more than a few minutes and a clear intention to sprinkle a bit more play and fun into your life.
3. Make the ordinary special.
Wear the jewelry you don’t usually bother with, drink your tea from the good china (if you have some – what are you saving it for?), buy some fresh flowers for you – and put them where you can appreciate them. Upgrade your bath products to something that feels and smells like an indulgence instead of a routine that happens on autopilot. Buy the fresh berries or the shellfish or listen to classical music while you work. Put fabulous sheets on your bed or invest in a new pillow. You’re worth it.
4. Give yourself beauty.
Consider what easy things you can do to add more beauty to your life. Spending time outdoors in beautiful places increases happiness. Your indoor space counts too. Take inventory of where you spend your time – what can you add or take away from your daily surroundings that would make you happy?
5. Rest easier.
What would you change if your soul objective was to end up in bed at a reasonable hour, relaxed and primed to drift off to sleep? If you don’t already have a bedtime routine that paves the way to sweet dreams, commit to doing one thing this week that will help you rest and sleep more soundly. Close things down earlier, ban electronics and screens from your bedroom, or experiment with something relaxing that isn’t a bowl of ice cream. The payoff here has the potential to be huge.
6. Set and forget.
This week, make things easier. Make a list of the services, appointments or indulgences that nourish you and challenge yourself to make as many of these as possible natural, recurring routines. Can you set up regular massage, hair, or pedicure appointments so you aren’t always looking for ways to squeeze yourself in? Can you create a recurring “task” on your calendar or phone with set times for the things you love (It’s 2:00pm – tea time!)? Can you set a regular date with someone to walk or go dancing, or sit by the lake and feed the ducks? How can you create a structure that helps you feed your soul and take better care of you?
7. Choose your soundtrack.
Music feeds the soul. It also has the power to energize, shift moods, and get your body moving. If you aren’t playing music regularly, consider it. What mundane activity would be better with the right soundtrack? Could you use music to help relax or unwind? Would the right songs pull you out of a funk or change the tone of your commute? This week, upgrade your collection or experiment with a new playlist.
8. Add padding.
Rushing is stressful. It’s also unproductive. When you’re cheated out of the time you need to transition, you’re more likely to use things like food or procrastination, or busy work to create a poor substitute.
Start a practice of placing five extra minutes between things. Plan more time to get places – you’ll breathe easier. Plan for five minutes in between the tasks in your calendar and give yourself at least five minutes to transition from one role to another. Resist the urge to use your extra time to “get more done” and honor your very human need for transitions.
9. Plan play.
Play and fun slip off our radar when we get too busy. A big mistake is assuming that play has to happen organically, or that you have to wait until you have time. If you don’t make time for play, it’s not likely to show up. This week, plan proactively for the next 30 – 60 days. Put fun stuff on your calendar now.
10. Try a new sentence.
If you are like most smart, busy women, you say and think things like “I need to,” “I have to,” and “I should,” all day long. If this happens for a while, you can start feeling like you’re spending too much of your time reacting to your life instead of creating the experiences that you really want to be having.
This week, challenge yourself to practice wanting.
Take a blank piece of paper and finish the sentence “I want _______” as many times as you can. Then do it ten more times. Keep asking and keep answering. Say your wants out loud in your car, in the shower, and think about them when you go to bed. Wake up that part of you that desires, that wants, and that dreams. Don’t get bogged down with how to make these things happen, just start lighting up your soul by letting yourself think about what inspires you, what feels good – what you want. It gets easier and easier – and the more you tune in to what you want, the more you’ll know about feeding your soul – and the more natural and habitual it will start to feel.
Take good care,