Most of us think of caring for ourselves as an extra-curricular activity. Something we squeeze into our lives at the end of the day. Or when everyone else in the family is taken care of. Or when we’re sick.
If I’ve learned anything at all about the subject as it relates to me personally and professionally it would be this: Supporting ourselves with daily doses of self-care is not optional. Without it, clearing the stress and stuff in our life becomes a tedious chore, and a big reason why most clutter clearing efforts do not last.
Self-care is not just something you do when you’re on vacation, or your circuits are fried, or you need a special treat after a long hard day at work. Self-care is something you cultivate and practice every day because it is as essential to the body and spirit as eating, or breathing.
Plus, why the heck not include it. It feels really good! The self-care model works because it is body-centered, and immediate. It softens and quiets the nonstop chatter of the critical mind. “I’m overwhelmed by stuff,” “This house is a disaster,” “If I slow down how will I get anything done?” for example, is unhinged in the presence of pure ease.
Self-care is something that you do because it supports your intentions and ongoing practice in letting go. Here are ten ways you can cultivate it (in no particular order):
- Do at least one thing that makes your heart sing (read: love madly, adore) every day.
- Listen to one fabulous song that is guaranteed to lift your spirits.
- Light a candle and set an intention.
- Take a “salt and soda” bath or shower (equal parts of coarse sea salt and Arm and Hammer baking soda).
- Clap, dance, rattle, sing––anything to get the energy moving and awaken the senses.
- Repeat the phrase “I choose ease,” every time you think of it and notice how your body responds.
- Remove the word “should” from your vocabulary. Replace it with the word “could.”
- Talk to or spend time with someone who is cheerful, optimistic, and supportive.
- Avoid negative or sensational media and notice what it feels like after one week of “news fasting.”
- Read or watch something every day that makes you laugh out loud.
Try each item on the list for a period of ten days. Or better yet, practice one every day for ten weeks. Notice how you feel after a while: Do you feel lighter? Calmer? More energized? Is it easier to clear out a closet or a drawer?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What helps you feel better fast?
- In what ways do you nourish yourself?
- What is one thing you can do this week that honors and supports YOU?The bottom line: Self-care is about lightening up and having fun! If you’re not having fun you’re not clearing!
Stephanie Bennett Vogt is New England’s leading space clearing expert and the author of Your Spacious Self: Clear The Clutter and Discover Who You Are. She brings over 35 years of experience to SpaceClear, a teaching and consulting practice she founded in 1996 to help homes and their occupants come into balance. Stephanie shares her unique perspectives on simplifying, personal reinvention, and letting go as a course contributor for DailyOM and a columnist for the Huffington Post. Learn more: http://www.spaceclear.com.