After a day of giving the best of yourself to everyone and everything you encounter, how do you recover? How do you cope with being burned out, or spent, or fried, day after day?
It’s hard finding time to give back to yourself, but how can you go about your day tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that if you never find time to revive your energy?
Some times a cup of tea just doesn’t cut it. A bath will feel really good (try it if you haven’t), or getting a piece of cake is delicious. But you’ve most likely been doing those for a long time.
They’re great, but receiving the same gift over and over again causes it to lose its impact. Sometimes you need a brand new experience.
Sure, keep taking walks, lighting candles, and taking naps. Keep enjoying the benefits of journaling. But try taking a chance on an unusual way to give back to yourself. You might just be pleasantly surprised!
1. Use All 5 Senses
Human beings rarely slow down enough to really experience life. We’re always moving and getting bombarded with sensory information and so rarely really absorb it.
Try buying that same piece of cake, but really taste it. Look at how the icing is piped on. Really smell it. Then feel what it feels like sliding off the cold metal fork into your mouth. Truly experience the bursting taste and revel in how intense and flavorful it is.
That piece of cake really means something to you now. It really had the opportunity to give to you.
Try taking a walk the same way. Really listen to the birds, feel the sunshine, smell the wind, and feel your feet on the pavement. Just walk like this for a few minutes.
Your whole mind will be caught up in your experiences and the rest of the world’s stresses will melt away. It’s a meditation on yourself.
Try using all five senses with anything you love. It will take the action and magnify the experience, filling you up completely, and leaving you uplifted.
2. Re-Read Your Favorite Book
We all have that book we loved growing up. That one we slept with next to our pillow, that really changed the way we thought about the world or ourselves.
Read that book again! It’s probably been a while.
Look at why you loved it, what it taught you about yourself, or how it made you feel.
Was it the first time you really thought about love, loss, or adventure?
Did you imagine you had magic and how amazing your life would be? Did you see life as being made up of shades of gray instead of black and white? Did you see yourself in a new light? Or spend days trying to get into the looking glass, or wardrobe, or Neverland?
Whatever the spark was, that book spoke to you. Going back and reading it again will hit you in a new way. Maybe it’ll rekindle that spark, or maybe you can look back on your youth lovingly.
Whatever you find, you’re sure to discover something that makes you feel just a little more inspired.
3. Be Creative
In a world run by logic and to-do lists, being creative almost always takes a back seat. But being creative fuels the soul and gives so much happiness to the creator.
As children, our creativity is given so many outlets that disappear as we grow up. Although the easy access to those creative outlets may have disappeared, the creative spirit inside of you definitely hasn’t! So take a break out of your adult life to reconnect with that creativity.
Try coloring! You’ll be amazed at how fun it is. Or take a cooking class, or voice lessons, or learn to grow bonsai trees.
Your imagination is limitless.
Give yourself the go ahead to invest in a hobby that simply makes you happy. Sing in the shower, act out scenes from your favorite movie, paint a landscape, doodle on your coffee cup, make jewelry. Do anything that excites you.
Just make time to be creative.
4. Talk to yourself in a mirror
As hard working individuals, we are often seeking validation from the people around us.
Did my boss like my work, did my mom approve of my house, did my friends like how I handled that situation?
You can’t control the opinions of other people, but you can definitely take a minute to talk to yourself and let yourself know how well you’re doing. Or at the very least, how hard you’re trying.
Give this a try:
Sit or stand in front of a mirror in a private place and really look at yourself.
Don't analyze your appearance, judging to see if you missed a spot shaving your beard or if your make up is uneven, but instead look yourself in the eye like you do a friend.
And really tell yourself, “I think you're doing a great job.”
It may be hard at first and you might even get emotional, but that only means you really want to hear that praise from yourself.
Really talk to yourself (try to do it out loud, it’s more effective) and tell yourself that your best is good enough, or that you tried as hard as you could in that last difficult situation.
Connect to yourself and validate how hard you try to be a good person.
And if you can do it, tell that person in the mirror that you love them. Look at yourself like you would your significant other, or parent, or friend and say “I love this person I see.”
How powerful would it be if you were as kind and forgiving with yourself as you are with everyone else. How often do you say things 100 times meaner to yourself than you would ever dream of saying to your best friend. Or a complete stranger.
Try treating yourself like you’re special.
Not only does this give back to you, but it boosts your self-compassion. When you are giving and kind to yourself, you feel more uplifted and therefore go about your days more positively.
When’s the last time you really laughed? Truly belly laughed, cracked up, couldn’t breathe kind of laughed?
You could probably use a good laugh.
Laughter releases endorphins that help make you happy, and you deserve to feel happy.
So go watch a comedy on Netflix. Go to a comedy club. Get one of those games where they ask you to do uncomfortable things like charades or drawing with your eyes closed. Play with puppies or children and laugh at how funny they are.
You deserve to feel “deep laughing” good. And when you feel that good, it helps you enjoy wherever you are on your journey.
Whatever You Do, Just Make Yourself a Priority
However you give to yourself, the most important part is just doing it. It should feel rewarding and emotionally satisfying to you, and help you feel a little lighter.
Life is too hard to just give and give. You’ll end up depleted and tired.
Giving back to yourself helps you keep going with an uplifted spirit and lets you keep putting your best foot forward.
Have fun experimenting with these unusual ways to give back to yourself, and feel free to share any of your personal favorite ways to give to yourself or your experiences with out ideas in the comments below.