Last year, we gave you seven bits of advice for Self-Care in September: Trust Your Own Memory, Use Social Media Wisely, Schedule Stuff, Buy Stamps, Take Care of Your Body, Play Cards, and Re-Read!
This year, we present, September Unplugged 2: Seven MORE Ways to Take it Easy This Month!
I. Make Space
Make space for yourself to breathe or for the family to relax together! Build a fort with sticks and blankets! Rearrange the furniture so that the focus is the bookshelf instead of the TV! Test out a park bench or grab one of those foldout chairs at the art museum. Clear off a portion of the basement floor for a yoga mat and candle. Or, brush all that clutter off the dining room table and set it with a vase of flowers or a bowl of go-to fruit. Sure, “making space” may take a little “work,” but think of the benefits! This month, we’ll be giving our front porch a budget-friendly makeover! Stay tuned!
II. Shut up…
A friend of mine and I both confessed, recently, to sneak-watching Oprah over our lunch breaks in grad school. One episode, in particular, stuck out for us. A woman described the week-long silent retreat she took during daylight hours. I remember trying it, too. For a few days, while I was marking term papers, I didn’t talk to anyone, not even my husband, until the sun set. Now, I’m not espousing going all monastic and playing mute for the month of September. But, since you’ve cleared a little space to breathe, how about challenging the kids to see if they can be quiet for even 60 seconds in the morning before school? What about 5 minutes of quiet contemplation on the porch? Did you know that just 10 minutes a day of silence and reflection makes for a happier, healthier you? This month, we’ll be testing out some meditation apps for you!
So, maybe you’re not the next Borges or Brontë. Still, why not spend a few minutes a day writing something out of this world? Use the CanLit Premise Generator to write a funny post-card story! Try writing an episode or a scene for one of your fave t.v. series. Or, spend time spelling out a sonnet or a haiku. C’mon Shakespeare, there’s room in this world for your view! Alright, so, if you’re still not big on fiction or poetry, maybe you’ll like keeping a bullet journal or filling out a five-minitue journal like this gratitude book my old classmate swears by. Or, get grandpa started on his biography for the little ones. This school year, Bea and I will be writing a little fantasy book together.
IV. Sleep Well
Okay, so this is probably the biggest and best thing you can do for yourself! Get a better night’s sleep! How to? Find a good pillow, a comfortable mattress, and a decent coverlet at the department store, your fave discount store, or in grandma’s attic. Drink a little warm milk or hot water with lemon before bed. Turn off all of the lights and screens. Grab some earplugs or put on a good audio book. And, grab a good eye mask with room for REM movement. [I swear by this Bucky mask!] Under a doctor’s advisement, take Magnesium or Melatonin supplements and have your hormones checked. Keep the room temperature coold. And darken the room! Now, snooze for 7 to 8 hours and wake up feeling like a million bucks! Recently, we darkened our master bedroom with these Home Depot cellular blackout shades. It has changed my life!
V. Schedule a Weekend Getaway
I know it seems like an imposible time. But, with things just getting started up in September, and with travel rates low for the month, you might find it’s a great time for a wekeend getaway for your family, for you and your significant other, or for a group of friends. Even if you can’t make it out this month, did you know that just planning a vacation, even only an “imagined” or “ideal” one, can help you relax? Dutch researchers argued that planning a vacation provides a bigger surge of happiness than actually going on one! So, why not check a few travel books out of the library, at least, and dream on? Later this month, I’m meeting some of my high-school girlfriends in Phoenix for a reunion-alternative getaway. And, yes, there will be massages…
This one’s simple. One day. One hour. One glass or bowl or cone or plate. Try just one delectable dish you never thought to try. Never had a baked alaska? Order one or make one for yourself! Go out for a Sweet Jesus cone or the designer Donut of your dreams! Sample all the macarons! Eat a whole baguette slathered with butter or an entire Descendant Pizza! And, whatever you do, be sure to pop the cork on that champagne you’ve been hoarding! I plan on spending some alone-time with a lemon square on the kids’ first Friday back at school. If it’s not a food indulgence you’re after, then treat yourself to that pair of suede ankle booties you want, or that fall 2016 Chanel eye palette you just about swooned over, or admission to that Beyonce dance class you’ve been dying to take for months! Oh yes, we might be grabbing all three this month!
I’m a huge fan of The Healing Power of Hugs. As Hilary Hendel assures us, “Hugs and other forms of … soothing … intervene at the physical level to help the brain and the body calm down from overwhelming states of anxiety, panic and shame.” Wrap your arms around a front-yard tree! Cuddle your stuffies! Squeeze a pillow! Keep the dog or cat on your lap. Run your fingers through your loved one’s hair. And, hug your kids a little too long before they head off to school – even if it’s just because you’re happy they’re finally occupied for seven hours a day! With respect for others’ boundaries, of course, I plan on embracing more people and things this month!
XOXO, The Lunchbox Season