10 ways to lighten up and feel good

Supporting ourselves with daily doses of self-care is not optional. Without it, clearing the stress and stuff in our lives becomes a tedious chore and a big reason why most clutter-clearing efforts do not last.

Supporting ourselves with daily doses of self-care is not optional. Without it, clearing the stress and stuff in our lives becomes a tedious chore and a big reason why most clutter-clearing efforts do not last.

by Stephanie Bennett Vogt — 

Most of us think of caring for ourselves as an extracurricular activity — something we squeeze into our lives at the end of the day, when everyone else in the family is taken care of or when we are sick.

If I have 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 lives 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 are on vacation, 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, such as I am overwhelmed by stuff, this house is a disaster or if I slow down, how will I get anything done?

Self-care is something that you do because it supports your intentions and ongoing practice in letting go. Here are 10 ways you can cultivate it (in no particular order):

  1. Every day, do at least one thing that makes your heart sing, i.e., love madly, adore.
  2. Listen to one fabulous song that is guaranteed to lift your spirits.
  3. Light a candle and set an intention.
  4. Take a salt-and-soda bath (equal parts of coarse sea salt and Arm and Hammer® baking soda).
  5. Clap, dance, rattle, sing –– do anything to get the energy moving and awaken the senses.
  6. Repeat the phrase “I choose ease,” every time you think of it and notice how your body responds.
  7. Remove the word “should” from your vocabulary. Replace it with the word “could.”
  8. Talk to or spend time with someone who is cheerful, optimistic and supportive.
  9. Avoid negative or sensational media and notice how it feels after one week of “news fasting.”
  10. Read or watch something every day that makes you laugh out loud.

Try each item on the list for a period of 10 days. Or better yet, practice one every day for 10 weeks. Notice how you feel after a while. Do you feel lighter, calmer and 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 quickly? In what ways do you nourish yourself? What is one thing you can do this week that honors and supports you?

The bottom line is that self-care is about lightening up and having fun. If you are not having fun, you are not clearing.

 

Stephanie Bennett Vogt brings more than 35 years of experience to SpaceClear, a teaching and consulting practice she founded in 1996 to help homes and their occupants come into balance. She is the author of Your Spacious Self: Clear the Clutter and Discover Who You Are, as well as a course contributor for DailyOM and a columnist for the Huffington Post. www.spaceclear.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 3, June/July 2013.

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