Hello my dear friend, wish you a very happy valentines day. How was your valentine’s day? Did you do anything special? Frankly, growing up I never even knew about Valentine’s day till I think, I was in college. I never celebrated it and frankly, it was not as normalized in India as it is now. It was no where close to how it is celebrated here in the US. Even my daughter's preschool has a big celebration here with a valentine day party, goodie bags for kids and what not. I was totally oblivious to it’s grand scale until recently. But I love seeing those nice pinks and red colors around especially when it’s white snow is all you can see outside your home. So, today, I thought let’s do something special for Valentine’s day. Let’s treat my friends here with some nice ideas to show some self love and self care. This is episode 42 - 5 self care ideas for this Valentine’s day.
A warm welcome to my new friend to the Morning cup of Sunshine podcast if you are tuning in for the first time and of course welcome back to my regular and fantastic listeners. Are you ready for some self care ideas? Today I want you to not only listen to this episode but also try these ideas at home and tell me if you like it. Tell me which one is your favorite. This is the week to treat yourself.
Happy Moment of the Week
Let’s get into it but of course not without talking about Happy Moment. Do you know what my happy moment is this week? It is this exact moment, this beautiful Sunday morning. I am living my happy moment right now. Do you know why? Let me give you a little back story. I woke up early today to plan an episode for next week. I wrote my journal, planned my next week’s episode and then got myself a cup of coffee. I was just taking a sip of hot coffee while looking at the sunrise from my favorite corner of my home. Everyone else is still sleeping so it is quiet and calm. Do you remember I talked about white space, a blank canvas? This was the exact blank canvas moment and in this moment I suddenly got an idea of this topic. Valentine’s day is weeks away but I could not stop myself thinking about this topic. Without wasting any time, I pulled out my recording mike and I started recording. I just scribbled the title of 5 ideas on a post it note which was lying on my table and here I go recording this episode. I am loving how spontaneous I feel. I am so excited to talk about those 5 things. I am feeling so much joy to record so spontaneously. Here you go, it’s a kind of treat from me to you guys and I hope you love it.
Alright, that was my happy moment, what about you? I know this episode will be aired a day after Valentine so tell me all about your valentine day celebration. What was your joyful moment this week? A post for happy moments is waiting for you in our wonderful Facebook group - Morning Cup of Sunshine Community. Share your joy and spread the happiness around. Waiting for your happy moments as always.
Okay, ready for these wonderful ideas to treat yourself?
Idea 1 - Write a letter to yourself
This is such a beautiful idea. You undervalue yourself most of the time. You criticize yourself the most. When someone else says that you are so great at something, you can’t take that compliment without saying, it’s not really that great. Think how you speak to yourself. You are not good at it, think how many times you say this to yourself. Let’s just put a fullstop right here. I want you to pick up a pen and paper and write a letter to yourself. There are two ways how you could write this letter. One way is to write a letter to current you from the future you, assuring how great you are doing. Or another way is to write a letter to past you telling how it all worked out in the end , how all those worries and sleepless nights really were not necessary. Choose your prompt. But make sure you are writing from the place of compassion and empathy. No harsh words allowed in the letter. Imagine as if you are writing this letter to a queen of some land, will you dare to use harsh words, will you criticize? You are the queen for now, so write a letter keeping that in mind. I want you to tell yourself, how beautiful you are inside out, how kind you are. I want you to tell yourself to slow down and everything is going to be alright. I want you to tell that beautiful soul how much she is being appreciated. I want you to tell that amazing mom or a dad or pet mom, plant mom, how much her or his kids love her for being the way she or he is. I want you to tell yourself how you are making a difference in everyone’s life around you by just being there for them. I know you might find it silly. But I remember doing this once and I could not stop crying. I never heard so many good words about myself. I always thought I craved for appreciation and love from others but really I wanted some assurance and love from myself. It made me think clearly, it made me value myself more. You don’t have to be at a certain position in your job or at a certain weight or have to earn certain money or cook certain dishes to achieve respect and love from your own self. Are you getting my point? Most of the time, we depend on someone else to tell us how good we are doing. I always thought if my mom was there today, she would have told me how well I am raising my kids and then I would have had less mom guilt. But that is not true. It is me who has to be secure enough in my parenting skills that I don’t need an external assurance. But what if I don’t even notice this everyday? That is why we have to really take time out from our go-go routine and sit down, and pen all these emotions on a paper. This is a form of self care. Having a positive image about your own self is the first step towards having self love.
Idea 2 - Cultivate a Hobby -
Time spent on something that you absolutely love is the best time spent. It can be very relaxing. Pick what you absolutely love or if you don’t know what that is then explore a few options. This world is full of different hobbies. You won’t even imagine how many different ideas you can find to nurture your creative side. Do you like gardening? Do you like painting? Do you enjoy writing or reading or may be podcasting? Do you love spending time with your pets? Do you like to knit? How about baking or cooking some different dishes? Do you enjoy DIY projects? How about singing or dancing or acting? The options are limitless, you just have to intentionally decide to spend some time on your own hobbies and interests. What happens most of the time is we keep all these hobbies on the back burner. Since this is not part of your job description. Not having a hobby does not really stop you from completing your critical tasks. But imagine setting designated time for your hobby every single day could bring you so much joy. It will open so many new avenues for you. Don’t force yourself to work on something that you don’t love instead pick what you love. It does not matter if it is extremely small and is limited to you only. It does not have to be something extravagant that the entire world will appreciate. If you love something as simple as having a herb garden in your kitchen then be it. Take care of those aromatic basil or mint because you love to take care of them. Lot of my friends asked me what are you suddenly interested so much in indoor plants. I really don’t have an answer for them. But watering them, trimming them, seeing them grow makes me feel happy. I don’t know why I started having this interest right now. But I am sticking to this as it brings me joy and it is part of my own self care routine. I think the best self care gift that you can give yourself is the feeling of joy. If your mind is happy, it reflects in your personality. You ooze out that happiness and you fill the room that you walk in with your happiness and positive energy. I want to be that person who spreads joy just with their presence and for that I have to start from my own inner self. If you are happy then you can make others happy. So, think about all those hobbies and interests that make you happy. Pick one and make it part of your routine. This has to be on your to-do list every single day. No matter what.
Idea 3 - Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
We share and we care, this is the basic human nature. I can tell you countless incidents when I was feeling low, sad, worried, stressed and then I talked to my sister or my friends and my mood turned upside down. I started feeling all sunny and bright, all those gloomy and dull feelings were washed away by that hearty conversation. I want you to pick up that phone today and call your friend, a friend who once was dear to your heart but with life’s busy flow broke your once fluid friendship. Pick up the phone and call her or him. Even while recording, I am thinking of so many names. I can think of so many of childhood, school, college friends. They were once so close to me. If somebody would have told me that time that you are not going to talk to this person for years, I would not have believed even for a second. But now when I think of it, I feel all sorts of emotions. I remember all those fun days, the fun, silly moments that we spent together. How could I let those precious friendships slip away from me over time? I had a couple of friends. We all used to live in the same apartment complex. We all were in the same class. We used to walk to our school every single day. I still remember all the fun that we used to do while walking back from school in the evening. It was hardly a 15 minutes walk but we used to laugh so much that by the time we reached our homes we were dead laughing. We never cared about how it looked, we never even thought about people looking at us laughing so hard. I don’t think we needed any other winding down routine after having such fun 15 minutes. We walked that road every single day for many years. I never imagined that we would not even talk for years. We did not have fights, arguments or anything like that. It's just that life happened. We all got busy in our respective life and never really got a chance to catch up. But I think this is the time to find those long lost friends and have a heart to heart conversation. You won’t believe how relaxing and nurturing it will be. Last week, I talked to my school teacher after 20 years and she still remembers me as that enthusiastic and bubbly girl from her class who was always eager to learn. I was over the moon after talking to her. She must have taught 1000s of students but the facts that she remembers me and I feel the same excitement to talk to her were enlightening for me. Don’t miss this chance my friend. I guarantee you that you will feel so much loved after talking to you old dear friend. It is a great way to shower some love and care on you and your dear friend too.
Idea 4 - Nourish your body and mind
You take care of yourself by caring for your outer body and nurturing your inner self. Self care is about both your body and your mind. There is no better way to care for your own body than exercise. Pick your form of exercise or try out different ones every now and then. But moving your body for at least 30 minutes every single day it the best way to show gratitude towards your body. I always say this, you don’t need fancy equipment or some expensive gym membership to exercise. If you have it that great but if you don’t have it that works too. When all this pandemic started, my daily routine of going to gym every single morning was completely halted. I have a dingy elliptical that I bought second hand from Facebook marketplace years ago. I did not have any weights and since everybody started setting up home gym, the dumbbells were out of stock for months. I started working out on my elliptical. It does not have any fancy tracker but it helps me sweat and I think that is enough. I started using water bottles filled with water as weights and that worked out great too. Everytime, I feel stressed after a long work day, I get on that elliptical, put my headphones on and I sweat it out for an hour. Sometimes, I sing while working out and don’t even realize how loud I was because of the headphones. I feel completely in sync with my mind and body when I exercise. This is the best form of self care for me. Having a long hot bath after this workout is not any less than having a luxurious spa date. Only difference is that it costs me nothing. Take care of your body my friend. It works 24*7 for you. It is your duty to nourish it with good food, healthy lifestyle and good workout.
Another way to take care of your body is to have a good skin care regime. Frankly, I am not great at it. I don’t apply much makeup not because I am taking care of my skin but because I have zero skills to apply makeup. I never had a proper, pre decided skin care regime but I am getting better at it now. I at least wash my face and apply a moisturizer. That’s about my skin care regime. So if you have any tips on that you are welcome to share those with me too.
One last way to take care of your body is to dress up. I know it sounds frivolous. But trust me this helps you feel good about yourself. Dress up every single day even when you are spending the entire day at home. I am not asking you to put on a party gown and tons of makeup. But at least get out of that pajama and wear some comfortable clothes, do your hair. It is a form of self care that we ignore most of the time.
This was all about your body, what about mind. You must have guessed it. Journaling, meditating, yoga. You name it and you have it. There are so many ways to nourish your mind. But do you know what my favorite one is? It is asking for help. It is the best self care gift that you can give to you soul, your mind. The feeling of calmness after knowing that you have some help and you are not alone in this is unparalleled.
Next time, you want to take care of your mind, then make sure you help your mind feel cared for.
Idea 5 - Just do nothing.
Finally, are you surprised to hear this idea from me? It is surprising coming from someone who always has something to do. But I have started doing this extremely intentionally. It is hard for me but I am trying. I am seeing the benefits of this idea. It is my blank canvas, it is my white space. This episode is one of the best things that came out of that blank canvas. Isn’t it? Try this intentionally. Sit in your favorite spot without phone, without TV , without any distraction. Just be there in that moment. Don’t plan your day. Don’t think of your to-do list. Don’t think of your chores. Just be present. Just try to be in complete sync with yourself. Try to hear the sound of your breath. But don’t force it if you can’t. There is no pressure to do something, or feel in a certain way. It is all about doing nothing. 5 minutes that’s it. Spend 5 minutes in complete silence. You will notice so many things about yourself in those 5 minutes. You will get closer to your inner self in those 5 minutes. Try this today and include this in your self care routine every single day. I want to know if you feel any different. Every single morning, I notice so many beautiful things which I would have missed easily. I get to see a beautiful sky just before the sunrise every single day. I notice the line of geese sitting on the roofs of the apartments in front of my window. I notice the symphony in their flying. I notice how silently the leaves fall from the tree when it’s fall season. I notice how the sky turns white and heavy before it snows. I can keep on going. This is just a beautiful experience and I don’t want you to miss it. So, just 5 minutes of blank canvas is what I am urging you to try today.
Alright, it looks like this spontaneous episode got too long. I can hear Maitreyi’s voice now. I think my time is up. But I had so much fun recording this complete spontaneous episode for you. I hope you like it too. Wish you a happy valentine’s day again. Take care. Remember, the relationship with yourself sets the tone for every other relationship you have. Take the time today to care for yourself and believe you deserve it.