When someone says 'self care' to you, chances are that some of the first things that come to mind are bubble baths and face masks (like it or not). Why is that?
Part of it is the commercialization of self care, but that wouldn't have caught on if there wasn't something to it. The common thread of a lot of the clichés of self care - baths, masks, tea, cozy loungewear - is stopping. And that's a solid strategy.
If we're not careful, we can spend every minute of every day striving. Even once work and chores and errands are done, we're conditioned to feel like failures if we're not using our free time to better ourselves - exercising, learning a new language, starting a home-based business, or reading the latest self help bestseller that tells us how we've been doing everything wrong our whole lives.
What's missing is more time for doing nothing. Staring into space, daydreaming, wandering with no destination in mind, watching the world go by, being a little bored. The benefits of "waking rest" are different from napping, watching television, or scrolling on our phones. It's thought to be a key factor that contributes to our well-being, along with exercise, nutrition, and sleep. (Source)
Bubble baths and face masks can be pleasant activities that let our mind know it's time to stop striving for a few minutes. So can walking the dog, meditating, or lying down and staring at the ceiling. It doesn't really matter how you do it, as long as you're "relaxing and letting thoughts come up as they arise." (Source)
So today, let's pick the activity that we're going to train our brains to associate with waking rest. Reserve this specific activity only for waking rest (don't use a bubble bath for waking rest today and scrolling on your phone tomorrow, for instance). Then take five to ten minutes to let your mind wander while enjoying your trigger activity. See if you can do it every day, or a few times a week. If you can do it at the same time each day, brownie points for you. If not, though, just fit it in when you can.
What activity did you choose for your waking rest? Let me know in the comments below.
Debra Purdy is the owner of ShopEco, a voracious reader, and a bona fide skin care fanatic.