I'm declaring July my month of Self Care. After being labeled a professional codependent by my doctor ("No really, you actually made a paying career out of it...") I realized I had to start putting on my own oxygen mask first. So, I'm inviting you to join me. Partly because I love lists (we'll deal with that another month) and partly because I genuinely needed to work at finding ways to be kind to myself, I've created a month-long list of self care ideas. And because July is my birthday month, I added in a few bonuses, too! Let's have the best month ever, together.
1. Get a massage.
2. Turn down plans that don't sound fun. Don't make excuses, either. Just say, "I'm sorry. That doesn't work for me, but thank you so much for asking."
3. Spend some one on one time with a good friend.
4. Buy that little thing you keep thinking about but not buying. (For me, it's a barrette I like...)
5. Throw away 21 things that are just taking up precious space and revel in the emptiness.
6. Wear you favorite outfit for no other reason than because you want to.
7. Take a nap. A long, uninterrupted nap.
8. Go on Netflix and find a movie you loved as a kid. Watch it again and remember that feeling.
9. Eat the cake. (Mine is gluten free carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, and it is delicious!)
10. Make yourself an amazing fruit smoothie with really fresh organic fruits and vegetables. Mmmmmm...
11. Get a pedicure. Yes, even the guys. Spring for the upgrades. Callous remover and calf massage are 90% of the reason we go! Sparkly toenails are just a bonus. (Get the sparkly toenails too, while you're at it.)
12. Pay a maid service to come clean your abode. It's so worth it every so often.
13. Buy two tennis balls, put them in a sock and tie the end. This is the most amazing neck and back massage device known to man. It's self-use (lean back against the couch with the device on your neck, then move around a bit), never wears out and always feels amazing. You are welcome. (Bonus points: talk about how much you LOOOOOOVE your balls and refuse to clarify when people look bewildered. Laugh a lot to yourself.)
14. Try a new kind of meditation. Lately, I've tried a float meditation (in a saline water pod), a hanging hammock meditation (bliss) and some new kinds of sound healing meditations. Apps like Insight Timer are free and offer literally thousands of guided meditations. Have a go with some new ones.
15. Use the nice dishes. Seriously, the Queen is never coming for dinner. You are the most valuable person you'll ever make dinner for. Use the nice dishes for yourself.
16. On a related note, when you make yourself your drink of choice, use your nice glassware. It feels like an extra treat.
17. Go to a movie by yourself. Sit alone. Talk to no one. Just enjoy the movie you want to see, on your own schedule, without having to accommodate anyone.
18. Call your best friend from high school or college for no reason at all, except to say, "I love you."
19. Do your physical activity of choice, be it a nice walk, salsa dancing or tennis. Make the time.
20. Take a mini-road-trip. I live in Phoenix, but a two hour drive to Flagstaff drops me into a much cooler climate. How nice to have a day of relief from the heat! What's within a few hours from you? Water? Mountains? A beloved friend? Get in your car and GO!
21. Do silly tourist stuff in your own city. People pay good money to come to your town. Do you ever do that awesome stuff? Do you even remember how great your town is? Go out and remind yourself how blessed you are to live where you live.
22. Stretch. Seriously. It feels amazing.
23. Mix 3 cups of granulated sugar with 1 cup of coconut oil. Add a couple of drops of essential oil. Use a a scrub in the shower. You are welcome.
24. Read whatever you want. (Trashy vampire novels. Just sayin'.)
25. Throw away your old medicine cabinet items -- everything expired or crusty or gross. (yeah, you know...) Then take inventory of what you actually need and make a trip to pick up the important stuff so it's there when you need it.
26. Feel into the one commitment you have that is more stress than it's worth. Consider stepping out of that commitment. What might that look like? How might that feel?
27. Throw away any clothes with holes in them. Now.
28. Buy the damn shoes.
29. Start a journal, describing your nicest moment of the day. That way, you get to experience it twice!
30. Spend time doing your favorite hobby. Make some jewelry or study history and practice your guitar. Make time for your passion.
31. Invest in the one thing you think will most support you moving forward. It might be spiritual mentoring, counseling, a mastermind group. Search your heart, and then follow the guidance you receive. You deserve to feel supported.
Bonus: Listen to your favorite music from junior high, singing loudly and apologetically! (Shawww...ssssss....push it!)
Double Bonus: Re-read your favorite book of all time.
Birthday Bonus: Re-watch all the Harry Potter movies, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the release of the first book. Tell everyone it's Spiritual Psychology homework. Mumble something about Jungian Archetypes and Campbell's Hero's Quest.