My Friday was a little on the busy side, so this list is a bit late. However, better late than never, right! 🙂
This Friday I wanted to focus on creating our dream day. What would your dream day, or perfect day, look like? Sound like? Smell like? Feel like? Even taste like?
And, more importantly, what can we do to bring in elements of our dream day into our realities?
As adults, we tend to think about work and then family and then if there is any energy left over we can think about ourselves for a minute. But we have to remember: you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else. This is a lesson I learned the hard way. As a teacher, I was so busy taking care of my 4- and 5-year-old students that I neglected my own health. It came back to haunt me. My health became so poor that I had to quit teaching in order to get back on track. We have to make sure that we are taken care of before we take care of others because if we get sick there will be no one left to take care of any of us, right?
So, focusing on our five senses, let’s take a moment to figure out how to incorporate some comfort into our hectic lives:
1. Think about the things that make you feel comforted. Those items, people, and experiences that you crave after your most hellish days. I discovered my own set of comforts after my father died. I realized there were certain foods, sounds, activities, people, and thoughts that bring me comfort. I noticed that my comfort foods were foods I grew up eating- cheese toast, chicken salad, Drumsticks ice cream, white grapes, Granny Smith apples with peanut butter, hot tea. What foods do you find yourself craving when you need comfort? Try to eat one of your comfort foods this week and see if you don’t feel your shoulders relax when you take your first bite.
2. What about your sense of touch? Most everyone loves to get a hug when they are having a bad day. But what can you do to soothe yourself? After my boyfriend and I broke up, I found my cat to be a great source of not only companionship but she also soothed me when I pet her. There is something very cathartic about a pet. And there is research to prove it. If you don’t have a pet, borrow one for a while and just pet it. Today I, along with my mother and sisters, received prayer shawls from my mom’s church to help us with my father’s death. They are beautiful to look at, but best of all they are made of the softest yarn and they are warm. We were all wearing ours around the house this afternoon, feeling great comfort in this simplest of ways. Soft fabrics such as wool, silk, and cotton are very relaxing to the touch. Having a wool or cotton blanket on hand that you can bring out when you need some pampering can do wonders. Massages are a nice way to relax your muscles, as well, whether you seek the expertise of a professional massage therapist or give yourself a pedicure at home. Having some thick lotions on hand that you can rub into aching feet and tired hands can make a bad day seem to float further away from your consciousness.
3. What about your other senses? Aromatherapy candles can bring relaxation to your mind or can bring back memories of a time when you were happy. I love the smell of coconut. It takes me away to a tropical place where I can imagine lying on the hot sand at the beach, listening to the cool waves of the ocean crash on the shore. Very dreamy! Peppermint is a great aroma for times when you want to feel more alert and energized so you can spend the day surfing or playing a pick-up game of basketball.
4. What about sight? Think about the colors you surround yourself with. Then consider how you want to feel when you are in your home. Soft blues and muted greens and beiges are good for a relaxing bedroom. Bright yellows and vibrant reds are perfect for a recreation room. Bring nature into your home with a potted plant or two or decorating in greens and browns with the occassional hint of color (as long as it is not too bright). If you love the outdoors, get out there more! Eat dinner on the back porch during the summertime (don’t forget your citronella candle!) and take in all of the beauty of the trees and flowers and sky. Pencil in time to go skiing one day in the winter and take in the majesty of the mountains covered in white snow. Take the kids on a hike and try to name as many plants and trees and flowers and forest animals that can. Take in the beautiful sights that are right there for you, free, anytime.
5. And don’t forget about sounds! Keep some CDs or I-tune playlists on hand that have just the right mix of music for you when you are feeling nostalgic or needing a pick-me-up or just wanting to bask in the happiness that surrounds you. What songs elicit certain feelings in you? And if you have trouble sleeping because of traffic noise or noisy neighbors, invest in a white noise machine. It can help even the lightest of sleepers get some zzz’s.