This is taken from a section in my Body Gratitude program that includes lots of different tools such as breathwork, meditations, visualizations, gentle yoga and a workshop on self-compassion.
There are MANY ways to comfort and soothe ourselves. However, some may only momentarily make you feel better and may not be the most supportive for you in the long run. Rather than numbing or distracting, what if you chose something to self-nurture? Could you choose something that helps nurture, nourish, restore and fulfill you rather than something that depletes you? Make a choice that helps you feel safe and comforted when you need some extra support and self care. As an act of self-compassion, we set the intention to care for ourselves from a place of self-respect.
The question I ask when I am in a moment of needing self compassion and self love is, “How can I best support myself right now?”
One of the most powerful tools you have is your ability to control your thoughts and your actions. Not every thought that you have will be true. In order to practice self-compassion, we must first be aware of the moments when we are being hard on ourselves, the moments where we judge and shame ourselves, the moments where we want to numb and distract ourselves.
Know that you are worthy of this time to support and care for yourself. We all want to be loved and supported, but how can you give that same love and support you give to everyone else to yourself as well. If you’ve soothed yourself with behaviors that don’t really help you in the long run, know that it’s OKAY! We are all doing the best that we can at any given moment and learning a new way of supporting ourselves can take time and practice, just like building any new habit. If you find yourself going back into old patterns that aren’t supportive, pause and be kind. What did you learn from that experience? Can you forgive yourself and choose to switch your thoughts back to more loving kind thoughts? What was going on for you that day? (When we’re exhausted it’s more challenging to make decisions and we sometimes go on autopilot) Can you choose something else even in that moment to help support and nurture you? Maybe you choose something from the list below or let this list inspire you to come up with your own supportive and nurturing routine. Remember: keep it simple, choose something small that nourishes you and brings you joy. When you can build a routine of simple things you can do and provide for yourself (just start with one) daily, you will start to have a strong foundation of tools you can utilize when you’re having a day you need more support and compassion.
- Your breath – breathing practices and/or meditation
- Grounding exercises & visualizations
- Hand over your heart with 3 deep breaths (or any breathwork practice)
- Self massage or EFT tapping (use your hands, yoga tune up balls or other myofascial release tools)
- Walking outside and connecting with nature (engage the senses, which helps you be present – notice the sounds of the birds, notice the smell of the trees or grass, touch the texture of the bark of the tree or the leaves, feel your feet grounding into the earth, take in the colors, etc.)
- Connect: play with animals, call/meetup with a friend or reconnect with a loved one
- Make a cup of tea and observe the warmth moving through your body as you sip it
- Apply a heating pad to the body
- Essential oils
- Light candles and set a sacred space (if you’re an empath – check out the reclaim your energy meditation or work with rituals that help you regularly cleanse your energy and space)
- Warm salt bath with essential oils
- Skin care routine (check out EWG Skin Deep app to find products that are safe and do not interfere with your endocrine (hormone) systems or get a free skin consult with me for safer skincare and cosmetic options)
- Music & singing (I have a powerful playlist of mantra songs if you want to go deep, or maybe you choose something light and fun if that’s more what your spirit is calling for)
- Coloring book or a journal with pens that bring joy
- Painting, crafting or any other artistic expressions you enjoy
- A weighted blanket or soft & fuzzy (textures are good)
- Books or audiobooks (Brene’ Brown may be a great place to start)
- Gentle yoga (stretching and breathwork)
- Chocolate or dessert eaten mindfully – make it a special experience, don’t just mindlessly eat it to numb
*I know emotional eating or eating for comfort can be a tricky space for many individuals. However, it’s not always a bad thing (more to come on this topic later). Sometimes you just need the chocolate, the cookie or whatever it is your craving! Can you make that choice special? Could you find high quality chocolate or dessert made with lots of love and care? Can you give yourself permission to enjoy and savor each and every bite? Taking in all the flavors, texture, aroma, appearance, and fully receiving pleasure from it without judgement or guilt. Can you get what you need from the experience and move on with life (without trying to restrict the next meal or day or push your body to extremes to “make up for it”)? Our first comfort is food – as infants you cry and your mother feeds you. It’s okay to comfort yourself with food sometimes. It becomes an issue when food is our ONLY source of comfort and we begin to overuse that in a way that is no longer special or helpful. Does this make sense? If you’d like to learn more, message me about my Mindfully Nourished program.
If you’re feeling like you need more stimulation (maybe someone dealing with depression or low mood/energy) all of those above could be helpful, but maybe you find something that is nurturing AND challenging!
- Taking a class and learning something new (this could be movement based or some type of art/creative class)
- Find a yoga class that is a bit more challenging (focusing on strength and balance)
- Take a dance class to help you get out of your head and more into feeling in your body
- Breath of joy