You feel raw and emotions are running high. You’ve had a stressful week at work, an over-the-top family weekend gathering, or a falling out with a close friend. You know you need some “me time,” and that it’s clearly a moment for you to regroup. What are your go-tos to reset? Your usual Netflix binge and a tub of ice cream sounds like a slippery slope hurtling toward a shame spiral. Instead, you may want to add some new self-soothing tools to your Honor Thyself Toolbox.
Here are some ways for you to productively reclaim balance to your nervous system and practice extreme self-care for those moments in life when you need it the most.
Give Yourself a Break
If you’re in need of some self-soothing, this is certainly not the moment to take an inventory of your life and your failings. Bring yourself into soft focus by practicing an important self-soothing tool: speaking to yourself with kindness and compassion. I often say to clients, when the proverbial mess hits the fan, “How much more can you love yourself right now, in this moment?” Loving and accepting who you are is a big part of emotional intelligence, especially when you feel raw and vulnerable. And positive self-talk is a valuable skill that can be developed over time. It’s learning to speak to yourself lovingly, even when you feel down, less-than, and at odds with the world around you, and sometimes that feels counterintuitive. So, crank up the kindness and give yourself some props.
Clean and Clear
Clear your home, your heart, your body, and your intimate space:
• Sometimes putting on some music and tidying or organizing feels good to the soul! Making your sacred space beautiful can be uplifting and soothing. Lighting candles and putting flowers around your home once you’re done shifts a mood and can be deeply satisfying. Don’t forget to fire up the sage and to Palo Santo every room, releasing any old and stuck vibes lingering about. We don’t need any outside energies running interference on the home front.
• Often, we get cluttered on the inside too, and we’re in need of an inner Kondo session. You can release old, pent-up feelings by processing them through writing about what’s going on in your head, clearing away the cobwebs of heart and mind, so you can be up to speed with you.
• A purifying soak in a warm tub, with Epsom salt for 20 minutes, can literally draw toxins out of your system. Next-level self-soothing is adding baking soda and essential oils to the mix. And a “psychic shower” is always in order: when you allow the shower to pour over you while visualizing the water clearing all that you no longer need. Just imagine everything you were carrying around being blissfully washed away, spiraling down the drain, gone forevermore.
Hobby It Out
Make a list of things you can do with your hands that you’ve always wanted to, but haven’t made the time for. And then try them out. Painting, jewelry-making, vision boarding, coloring, or even cooking can get super creative. When you tap into your artistic self, the intuitive part of your brain becomes engaged and a calming sense of well-being can have its way with you. Order what you need ahead of time and store it in your closet for that rainy day. Creating itself is soothing, calming, and way more constructive than a binge-tastic Lifetime couch potato run (although that has its merits too).
The Center Is Where It’s At
The center being you, your inner core, your internal compass, your heart center—when you’re operating from the highest, best aspect of yourself. That’s your center. The goal is to live from that place in every area of life, in all circumstances. And that takes practice because it’s not our go-to. So, when we’re agitated or drained, we recalibrate, knowing nothing “out there” is going to soothe us at a soul level. Only we can do that for ourselves, by turning inward for solutions when we really want to look outside of ourselves for the quick fix. And every time we do this, we strengthen that all-important connection to ourselves, at the deepest level of being.
We can learn, over time, to lean into who we are, knowing we have our own back, we are our own best friend, and that every other relationship in our life flows from that place of self-love and true power. So, notice when you feel shaken up, and get quiet. Be with yourself, check in with yourself, and ask what you need next. Speak to yourself with kindness, the same as you would with a child you cared for deeply, who’s needing love and direction. Remind yourself that your relationship to you is the only constant there will ever be. This is the self-soothing master class: be with you, stay close to you, tune in to you, and treat yourself with all the love and respect you deserve. You’ll be amazed how this practice will radically shift your life and open you up to all good things, up-leveling you in ways you never knew were possible.
The truth is, honoring ourselves and self-soothing can mean many things to different people: taking yourself out to a wonderful dinner at your favorite restaurant, going to a day spa for pampering, sitting on a park bench watching dogs and children play with abandon, immersing yourself in a great book, meditating while listening to a great guided visualization. At the end of the day, it’s about taking time to fill up your well that’s dry—and not going to the hardware store for milk. We pause when agitated or on empty, recognize it’s time for some radical self-care, and move into gentle action around our vulnerability. Self-soothing is how we shift into alignment with who we are. And as you continue to expand your self-soothing toolbox, you will ultimately develop a deeper relationship to amazing you.