Self-Compassion Compass 72 Fun and Creative Ways to Put Yourself First – Without Feeling Guilty
By sybilrsmith on March 25, 2010
72 Fun and Creative Ways to Put Yourself First – Without Feeling Guilty
Created By: Sybil R Smith
Are you tired of feeling like you come in last place in the race of life? Are you just plain exhausted from all the care taking, giving, protecting, working, listening, raising, and stressing you do? Do you feel guilty for indulging yourself in self care activities?
Many of us flat out FORGET that we have to put ourselves at the TOP of the “To Do” list. Or, we feel guilty for doing so. If you do not take care of yourself, who will?
“Taking care of yourself seems like the LAST thing you have time to do, not to mention how selfish it is! Who has the money or the time to go to the spa, anyway? That “taking care of me” stuff is for OTHER people – for people who are already relaxed and don't have anything better to do.” Sound familiar?
Many people feel selfish when they think about having self compassion. They think they will become lazy, are afraid they can't do it, and think there are some things about themselves they just shouldn't accept. These are all false statements.
I want you to know that you are just as important as the person down the street. The OTHER people got rich/healthy/relaxed by taking care of themselves! The benefits of self compassion include, and are not limited to: better psychological health, reduced symptoms associated with negative affect, accuracy of self-appraisal, decreased anxiety, and better overall health.
Simply put, Self Compassion is viewing yourself with kindness. Self Compassion invites you to consider your shortcomings as part of the human condition. It exercises mindful awareness of painful thoughts and feelings. I moves you through those thoughts and feelings with loving kindness.
Self-care and compassion do not have to cost a fortune. Actually, it may cost you your life if you choose to neglect yourself. You are the one betting on your fulfillment – go all in! You will serve your self, family and community more authentically and fully when you are at the top of your “to-do” list.
Self-Compassion is easy...
Take care of yourself.
Be kind to yourself.
Accept yourself as you are.
Complete the Self Compassion journal exercises, then inventory how many of the following actions you are doing. Add one additional compassion action each week until you have lavished yourself with kindness and compassion all year long :-)
Take care of your body
1 Exercise – 20min 5Xweek
2 Keep your skin healthy with good care
3 Eat your veggies and have some protein
4 See a specialist: chiropractor, holistic practitioner, homeopath
5 Get a massage and/or acupuncture regularly
6 Go to the doctor regularly
7 Take all your medications as prescribed
8 Follow through with a detox fast yearly
9 Stretch every day
10 Sleep 8 hours per day
11 Drink lots of water to stay hydrated
12 Minimize sugar and caffeine intake
Take care of your mind
1 Learn something new
2 Learn something better
3 Talk with a good coach or therapist regularly
4 Find new insights through the use of metaphor
5 Take a sabbatical from traumatic work
6 Learn a word per day
7 Teach a class or skill
8 Read regularly
9 Practice something: music, puzzles, art
10 Moderate your language: eliminate can't, have to, and shouldn't
11 Keep clear boundaries between family, work, and self
12 Make a “no complaining” promise
Finding Your Compassionate Voice
Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper. On the left, write down negative things you say or think about yourself. Give yourself enough time to allow that negative voice to speak. Then, close your eyes and imagine a loving hand coming to rest on your hand. This hand is an extension of the part of you that accepts you as you are. Feel the warmth of this hand as it radiates loving kindness into your own hand. Allow the feeling of kindness to envelope your entire body. Take your time, breathe, and feel the warmth of acceptance come into every cell of your body. Next, allow the loving hand to guide your own hand to the right side of the paper. What might this loving hand help you to say in response to the critical thoughts written on the other side? Allow the loving hand to guide you as you talk back to the painful, negative messages written on the left side of the page.
Take care of your spirit
1 Deepen your essence and understanding by studying spiritual writings
2 Pray or Meditate regularly
3 Honor your passions by knowing them and acting on them
4 Start a gratitude journal
5 Keep a wishes or intentions journal
6 Record the gifts or answered prayers you've received
7 Let go of old baggage
9 Fellowship in a spiritual community with like-minded people
10 Get 11 hugs per day
11 Embody compassion
12 Develop or begin new meditative activities (yoga, gardening, music, poetry, etc.)
Being Kind to Myself
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Focus on the word “kindness.” What would it look like if you were kind to yourself – good to yourself? What would be different if you were kind to yourself? Let your mind dwell on this idea for a few minutes. The, take time to write down anything that came to your mind about what it means or what it would look like to be kind to yourself. Take a short break. Come back and look through your list. Are there things you could incorporate into your day or week that would be ways of showing kindness to yourself?
Take care of your relationships
1 Talk with your partner/family about you – what matters most
2 Engage in conversation with a long lost friend
3 Have lunch with your boss or other authority figure
4 Practice random acts of kindness weekly
5 Connect with your community
6 Listen to your family members daily
7 Learn how to apologize and forgive authentically
8 Use “I” messages when confronting or communicating with others
9 Make a new friend
10 Voice your nurturing voice and opinions openly
11 Develop friendships outside your work environment
12 Quickly correct miscommunications and misunderstandings
Showing Compassion to an Earlier Self
All of us have experienced painful events in our lives. Think about an earlier time in your life when you have felt particularly sad or lonely. Try to allow yourself to become gently in touch with feelings of that earlier time. Then, write a letter to that younger self that shows the compassion you have gained in the years since that painful period. What have you learned? How have you grown? What do you want that earlier self to know?
Take care of your surroundings
1 Keep a clean house; hire a maid if necessary
2 Keep the grass mowed and the flower beds blooming
3 Go through every room: if any item is not a definite keep, then give it away
4 Love your pets: wash the dog and take her to the vet
5 Balance the check book, and pay the bills on time
6 Cover your walls with beauty: paint color, art, decorations
7 Create order and a place for all your files, papers, and receipts
8 Wash the car and vacuum the inside
9 Ample lighting inside the house
10 Create space to move around inside the home
11 Be well insured: car, home, life, health
12 Keep 3 months worth of emergency savings in an easily accessible account
Making Time for Joy
Think of pleasurable activities you enjoy. If this is hard, think of things you have previously enjoyed – perhaps at earlier times in your life when you were less busy or had fewer commitments. Try to come up with pleasures from a variety of areas of your life – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. Remember these can be small pleasures – a short walk during lunch, buying a magazine you enjoy, feeding the birds, walking around a garden store or nursery. Next, indicate how much time each activity requires – a few minutes, an hour, a half day, or more. Try to come up with 20 or more pleasures, so you will have options from which to choose. Finally, pull out your calendar for tomorrow. Can you schedule two pleasurable activities for tomorrow? How about for each day of the week?
Take care of your fun
1 Buy some flowers
2 Get a facial/pedicure/manicure
3 Go skating, horseback riding, dancing
4 Hike in the woods
5 Build a snow-person or play in the Fall leaves
6 Treat yourself to Ben-n-Jerry's
7 Re-read your favorite book
8 Get a pet dog (or rock)
9 Write yourself a love letter
10 Blow bubbles and do all the “childish” things you used to love
11 Laugh often and be silly
12 Take plenty of vacation each year
Bonus Self Care Tip
Never, ever, ever work on your birthday. That day is reserved for you. Do what YOU want to do. Be lazy. Read. Be silly. Rest. Be excited. Hike. Be relaxed. Explore. Just BE.
Much Joy, Sybil R Smith www.sybilrsmith.com
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