Tiny Self-care

My blog has been waiting for a while now, very patiently. The thing is writing happens for me when I have created enough space in my mind. Creating that space is all I do, and then typically I don’t even have to wait too long. With me taking up a new job and then the pandemic taking over the globe last year, my mind space has been very limited lately. So when a friend suggested that I turn my email to them into a blog, I jumped on it as a way to feed my poor blog something.

So that’s what this is. This was my email to them with a few suggestions for items that I called tiny self-care (it’s really what I would call subtler self-care). If you know me, you know I like making lists as a way of exercising those muscles for divergent thinking. I also wanted to include some not-so-traditional self-care items. Happy to note that the recipient has chosen a few items that appealed to them and has promised to try them out.

  1. Think of what food flavors you like and make it a point to introduce them in your food for at least one week. So this is not heavy duty stuff like eating cakes or ice cream (drowning your sorrows, as they show in the movies or whatever) but this is the art of subtlety. For example, I know that I feel good when I have fresh lemon, cilantro, dry fruits etc. in my food.
  2. Pick a website like TED talks or something equivalent which has short interesting media (video, podcast or photos). I like TED but it could be Instagram for all you know. Find a cozy corner of your house and browse the site for 15 minutes when sipping your weekend (or weekday) cup of tea/coffee. I do this myself and love it. Do this at least a few times and make it a ritual. Same cozy corner, same style, same site.
  3. Aromatherapy around bed time. Buy the small aromatherapy diffuser and oils, and keep them on your side table – easy peasy. Oh, remember to turn that thing on once in a while.
  4. Find some kind of jewelry that you have found interesting but have not worn it lately. For example, a toe ring or anklets or beads or a nose ring. Buy it or uncover it from your stash. Wear on and off for at least two weeks.
  5. Paint by Numbers. Know what it is? I’m doing one right now. It’s honestly a good distraction if you need one. You don’t have to be an artist, and it is not about how the end product looks! Since you have to focus on the painting, it gives your mind some rest, and it is a bit meditative once you get into the groove. Keep it in an area where you can work on it in between things, and also invest in a magnifying glass – you will thank me! Start with a simpler painting.
  6. Donate for some cause or volunteer (either alone or in a group). I don’t have much to say about this, other than it’s honestly good self care more than charity.
  7. In case you are watching depressing news or surfing
    Internet and that’s making you feel overwhelmed, stop and get out of it. Same applies to crappy WhatsApp groups, social media forums etc.
  8. Veggie gardening (indoor or outdoor) if you are into that sort of thing. If you are not, you can still do it if you’re feeling adventurous. I was reading the other day about some herbs that grow easily indoors in just water, no soil required and very low maintenance.
  9. There is the usual spa stuff but deep oil massage for head and feet is particularly soothing. Coconut oil wins. You can also figure out where your stress stays in the body the most (e.g. neck/shoulders is common) and invest in a small massager that takes care of that area.
  10. Why is coming up with the 10th idea always more difficult? I’m going to have to pause here and sleep on it. Oh wait, do you have Build a Bear type of store? Build a bear for yourself or if you are avoiding stores (due to the pandemic) then buy a custom soft toy online.
  11. Then there’s the usual stuff like exercise/yoga/meditation/nature walks. Nothing extraordinary but it works. What to do. Oh, maybe you can try kickboxing. I don’t know, kickboxing just sounds very exciting.
  12. Weekend café/restaurant dates with your significant other or a close friend. We have done this for the last two weekends now except we buy coffee and sandwiches, and sit in the car and eat! We didn’t want to sit inside and it was too cold outside. But hey, we shall buy our breakfast and eat it too! I’m totally getting hooked on the toasted caramel flavor BTW.
  13. Declutter frequently used places such as kitchen/bedroom and put a little art piece that you have made (or will make). Stand in front of the art piece and admire it loudly minimum four times. No max limit on the admiring front!
  14. Talk to three close friends or family members. Make sure these are only the ones you know will have positive energies for you.
  15. Watch old videos of a hobby that is close to your heart (e.g. some dance form or old movie songs). Start with YouTube and make that special watchlist.
  16. Write a letter to yourself. Make a list of things that are bothering you or write whatever you feel like. Make it at least one page! Write it in the purest form of your native language (shuddha Marathi). Okay okay, doesn’t have to be in a particular language. Pick what you like.
  17. Watch a few feel-good movies. You know which ones yours are.
  18. Stop cooking for at least a week assuming you are tired/bored of cooking. If it is some other chore that is bothering you, give it up for a little while.
  19. Buy something that you will give your child (or someone younger) as their heritage. I remember the joy I felt when I bought this beautiful, original hand-made cuckoo clock that lasts for years and is typically passed on to the next generations.
  20. Whenever you are with people and would rather be alone but can’t get out of there or you find yourself getting into circles of negative thought, watch your breathing, slow it down, take a few conscious deeper breaths and think of a happy place. Figure out ahead of time what/how your happy place looks like.
  21. <Work those creative muscles and keep building on the list…>

That’s it for now. Take care, you.

Author: Prachi Sukhatankar

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