Thursday, June 1, 2017

Save Self-care Coupons, Not Demerits

As adults, we have somehow convinced ourselves that self-care is indulgent and there isn't time for it. When we do occasionally carve out a small amount of time for ourselves we tend to feel guilty and almost instantly focus on what we have done wrong.
  • "I ate too much today."
  • "I didn't make it to the gym again today." (Even though our bodies told us "No". 

Why do we forget the kind things we do for ourselves but remember the negative things so well? Why isn't self-care looked upon as a strength that is admired and encouraged?

When I taught fifth grade, my discipline plan was based on a reward system. Whenever I caught a student doing something positive for themselves or their classmates they were rewarded with a coupon that could be saved and used at a class party for goodies. Positive coupons could NEVER EVER be taken away. I wanted my students to know that my focus was truly on what they did right. Good acts should always be remembered and cherished. They are the very things that made us stronger as individuals and a group. When discipline issues did come up, we took care of them outside the reward coupons. Many thought this system would not work because children need consequences not rewards for the good things they do. As a person who has always believed people innately want to do good, I didn't believe this and my students proved me right! Children (and adults) love when they get caught doing something good. My students worked hard to earn coupons and overall, I didn't have a lot of issues. Best of all, the more good they did, the more they tended to grow in that direction.

What if we started saving self-care coupons that reminded us of each time we did something good for ourselves rather than always giving ourselves demerits for what we have done wrong? Would we love ourselves more if we could focus on what we are doing right?

Self-care is a practice that takes time and patience. We are slowly growing and discovering that self-care is an energy source that helps us thrive. Like a flower that naturally leans toward the warmth of the sun, we find ourselves leaning more towards the joy we get from being good to ourselves rather than what we are doing wrong.

During May, I shared a variety of low-cost self-care tips that hopefully at a minimum reminded you to be good to yourself. As you go forward, keep finding ways to be good to yourself but also don't forget to check in with friends and family and find out how and if they are practicing self-care. We have to hold each other accountable to self-care.

I hope you have enjoyed these self-care reminders. I had so much fun writing each one. My daughter said, "It's therapeutic." She is so right. Sending good vibes out to the world is definitely one of the ways I like practicing self-care.