I think a lot of us, especially us women, know how to be a great friend to each other. It’s something we pride ourselves on, and a subject Joss Dey and I discuss at length in our podcast, Crappy Friends(currently on hiatus, but tune in and listen to our first season!).
But being good to ourselves is harder. I recently wrote an essay about how easy it is to find fault with our physical selves, but it’s not limited to that, is it? I should’ve been smarter. Worked harder. Done more. It can be rare that we sit back and say, “Nice work, you!”
So I’ve been thinking about ways to be better to ourselves, to turn away from the negative voices in our heads and sometimes, in society, and really take good care of us. Here are a few things I’ve found that work for me. I hope they work for you, too, and that you have a whole bunch of ways to make yourselves feel good and healthy and at peace.
Ride a bike. I’m of the meandering through the streets kind mindset when it comes to bike riding, rather than the Tour de France wannabes. I never regret riding a bike. There’s something special about being faster than a walk, slower than a car. You see things you might miss, and the ease of pedaling is peaceful. I love a bike trail. I often ride my bike while wearing a dress, since I love summer dresses. It’s very breezy and pleasant.
Plan a night of sheer laziness. PJs on at 6:00, dinner of Annie’s Macaroni and Cheese and an oaky Chardonnay, Netflix or a movie or whatever. But plan that night. Don’t revert to it because you have nothing else to do. Say to yourself, “Tonight is mine.” It feels different.
Get off social media. Listen. I love social media. I’m glad you’re on social media, too! But when Twitter becomes an echo chamber of anger and despair, or you’re unfriending people on Facebook because of their politics, or you’re crying because their lives look so awesome…it’s time to read a book.
Make yourself over. Late at night, when McIrish is at work, I like to watch YouTube videos and try new stuff. Do I look silly in a cat’s eye? Sure do! But it’s fun just the same, and maybe I learn a new trick or two. If nothing else, I’m doing it just for me, just for fun.
Buy or pick yourself some flowers, just because they’re pretty. When you see them, so cheerful and bright, their only job to make you happy…that’s nice, isn’t it? Do that more.
Visit your elders or volunteer with the elderly. They’re usually so happy to see you, aren’t they? You’ve made their day. The Princess worked at a nursing home last summer, and she was told she had the prettiest teeth. Patients would pat her cheek, marveling at her firm skin. My skin isn’t so firm, but no one seems to mind. Dearest Son would wear a tie when he volunteered during a memoir-writing project, and boy, did that go over well. He always felt kind of heroic in those sessions.
Look in the mirror and say something nice to yourself. Consider those words. Don’t find reasons to deflect them. Own it. You have many wonderful qualities. It’s good to remind yourself of that.
It’s a tough world out there, folks. Take care of yourself, and take care of others. We all have the power of kindness. Sometimes, we have to use that on ourselves.
I’ll be off for two weeks while I’m on vacation with my family, gang. See you soon!