Personal Treat or Basic Self Care
Over the past number of years I have developed an exercise with my clients which centres around their engaging in activities that make them feel good. The form of the exercise is to encourage them to make a list of activities (the target is 31 items, one for every day of the month) that they can engage in, that make them feel good and nurtured.
Typically it has included, long baths, candles, listening to an album, 15 minutes of silence, yoga, walks, nice meals, coffees etc. The goal is for them to develop the habit of giving themselves a daily treat simply because they are always worth it and they are enough in and of themselves. My experience has been that many have struggled to identify actions and create the list and this has led to some wonderful work on building their confidence.
More recently however, I have begun to question whether my language of describing these activities as a treat is accurate, or would it be more accurate to describe these activities as the fundamentals of good self-care. There is no denying that all of the activities such as those suggested above are good self-care actions and we would all benefit from having them embedded in our daily routines.
However when we consider them as treats, it is almost as if we are saying that we are not entitled to these activities on a regular basis which was not my original intention behind the activities. So what do I actually want to say and encourage others to do? First and foremost we will all benefit from have good habits of daily self-care activities regardless of how busy our lives are. When we are busy these beneficial activities can get pushed to the background. My hope is that we developed self-care habits that are so strong we engage in them as automatically as getting dressed in the mornings.
So my challenge to you this week is to consider your self-care activities, and your treat activities. Take a critical look at them. Take the time to decide which need to be fully integrated into your daily routine so that the fundamentals of good self-care are fully integrated into your automatic daily behaviours no matter how busy you get!
Then in addition have a list of treat self-care actions that give you that boost whenever you need it!