I’ll be the first to admit – there have been times in this pandemic and the resulting levels of quarantine that I’ve taken really fine care of myself. And you know, there are times that I haven’t. Still, if this describes more or less where you are too, there is no reason not to take a deep breath and do an honest assessment right now:
Could you be a little kinder to yourself?
My answer has often been yes, and so I’ll share with you the three go-to things on my list, plus a bonus!
ONE: Sort Something
I love feng shui and Marie Kondo and all manner of new thoughts about how best to utilize space, but it doesn’t take a spacial genius to realize that clutter is ineffably icky, and that to live in a clear space is somehow easier and calmer than to live in a cluttered space.
While sorting a pile of clutter that has unwittingly grown over night (whether it’s mail or laundry or the random things that are meant to go somewhere else) isn’t always the task we want to do (or else, why would the pile of stuff be cluttering up that spot?), this is the four minute activity that brings high rewards in how a space feels. And when the space feels better, it’s easier for us to feel better.
But the pile of laundry will take more than four minutes? I hear you. But five sessions of four minutes is twenty minutes, which is enough to fold really, quite a lot of laundry. And folded laundry is only two steps away from being put-away laundry. For myself, when the laundry starts to pile up, I multitask folding it with waiting for other things. Leftovers in the microwave? I go fold laundry for a few minutes. Waiting for the bathroom to be free? I go fold laundry for a few minutes.
TWO: Fix Something
Maybe your middle name is Fix-it. Maybe sewing a button back on a shirt and gluing a hardwood chair back together is part of the arcane rituals of DIYers best left alone because you’re likely to sew your project to the pants you’re currently wearing, and glue your fingers permanently together. No worries.
The thing you fix can be your schedule. The thing you fix can be your self care routine. The thing you fix can be your yoga technique. The thing you fix can be your relationships.
Not everything that is broken in our lives requires glue or needle and thread, or even long and tearful conversations, but whatever your circumstances, take a moment to look around you and see what’s broken. Of the three or five or twelve things you notice just pick one (possibly the simplest) and think about when in the next week you could make some time to work on fixing it.
This is another one that isn’t always the easiest to motivate ourselves to do, but the payoff is really large, whether you get to reclaim the use of that shirt, or your yoga practice goes deeper and healthier, or your relationships get healthier and more profound – whatever it is will take a burden off your soul and that is some deep kind of self care, here.
THREE: Make Something
It can be in the kitchen. It can be in the craft corner. It can be with a camera or pen and paper or anything you like. The thing you make can be fluency in another language. It can be music. It can be really, anything that invites, somehow, your creative participation.
During quarantine, I’ve been writing novels and practicing the ukulele. Both make me happy and are emotionally low-hanging fruit for me (unlike folding laundry or fixing the desk chair, but to each their own), and both were things that I had some mental/emotional blocks regarding. Like all good makers-of-things, I embraced all over again that perfection is the enemy of the good, which is to say I was so busy worried about things being perfect that I no longer worked on projects at all.
So whether your making something is today’s loaf of bread, or today’s period of meditation, rock on and make it. It does a body good.
BONUS: The Epic To-Do List
There’s an app for that.
Need a tiny bit more motivation to do what you already know you need to do? How about you turn it into a game? Play yourself, dress like an elf, and get gems and gold for being a good administrator, taking out the garbage, or calling your parents. Or whatever it is you need to do. It’s an RPG for your life, and it’s free. Here’s the link for the Android version in the Google store, and there are similar ones in the Apple store from other developers, but I haven’t tried those…