Not long ago, I was blown away by the beauty (inside and out) of a woman I met at a meeting of entrepreneurs. Kelly Newsome, of Higher Ground Yoga, talked about her in-home yoga and doula business for mommas-to-be. She practices and teaches them, "extreme self-care."
Over the next week or two, that phrase, "extreme self-care" sort of haunted me -- but in a good way. I got curious what extreme self-care would look like in my own life. And, I was curious about if and how our community could benefit.
When I was younger, extreme self-care would have only applied to physical form. But when I think of it now, I see that it applies to all areas of my life. As your Mid-Life Reinventionist, I want to find you every tool you can use to either reduce pain or increase joy.
This means we are taking a deeper dive. We're looking at ways to care for ourselves that go beyond "skin deep." Thus, we practice extreme self-care in every domain -- physical, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, and the like.
Below you will find 101 ideas for creating your own practice of extreme self-care. I asked for your ideas via our LAT Facebook Wisdom Circle, and you, of course, generously shared your views and practices.
These are highlighted in purple, because that is the color of royalty, and that is how I think of you.
One REALLY IMPORTANT THING -- as you go through our list, DO NOT use the list as another way to beat the crap out of yourself for all your NOTS. (Those things you're "not" doing.)
It's neither kind nor effective to bitch-slap yourself into a better way of living. (That is today's quote, by the way.) So, take what you need and leave the rest.
1. Drink that water -- or not. But you'll feel better if you do. Remember, "Hags" are sexy. "Haggard" is not.
2. Eat a papaya -- because it's a funky fruit.
3. Instead of guessing about your nutritional needs, hire an actual nutritionist.
4. Go for a walk. Take your camera. Take five pictures of things you never noticed on the actual street where you live.
5. Get all screenings done. Blood pressure, cholesterol, thyroid, the works.
6. Buy some funky new shoelaces for your sneakers. Wear them proudly around the neighborhood.
7. Sign up for a 5K event with a friend. Run, walk, skip, hop to the finish line.
8. Put flax seeds in your oatmeal. I don't know why, but Kelly does it. Plus, it's cool to have flax seeds in your pantry. Because it's weird. But not too weird, right?
9. Floss. It's amazing the lift you get from flossing. For one thing, you get more teeth in your mouth.
10. Are you up to date on your health appointments? Mammogram, colonoscopy, eye exams, dental stuff?
11. "Pamper my feet and my hands - they serve me and others all day and all night, they deserve some special attention..." (from Wisdom Circle member Sabrina Flückiger-Strotmann)
12. Do you have an addiction that needs treating?
13. Did you just lie to yourself when you read that last question? (I know some of you did!)
14. No? Okay, besides alcohol and/or drugs, do you have an addiction to a person, your work, sugar, cigarettes, anxiety?
15. Do you have someone close to you who has an addiction problem? If so, are you getting help for yourself? (NOT THEM. YOU. Their addiction is their business. Your response to it is yours.)
16. Ride your bike.
17. Get a fun basket to put on the front of your bike, so you have somewhere to put that awesome French bread that you're going to ride around with so everyone in town thinks you're so European and sophisticated.
18. "Meditate. Drink lots of water. Take your vitamins. Eat your vegetables. Get 8 hours sleep. Be outside for a few minutes that doesn't involve moving from building to car. Get your heart rate up. Not extreme, but extremely rare. I try to make it my bottom line." (from Wisdom Circle member Sandra Ahten.)
19. Eat some jicama. Because it's such a COOOOOL word, and it's so hip to say you had jicama on your salad today.
20. Get a pedicure. Ask them to paint hearts or flowers on your big toes. Celebrate the coming summer with a toe ring.
21. Design the "ideal tattoo." Pretend you're the kind of girl who gets inked.
22. Get rid of those crazy-ass bunion makers. Buy some better shoes that look AND feel great. Because you're worth it. And your feet are going to carry you to your Big Dream, so you'll need them to be happy.
23. Get rid of everything in your closet that is too tight. If you don't, you will dislike yourself every time you look at your "skinny days" clothes. And that dislike will make you want to pig out. Come on, you KNOW that's true!
24. Buy a new lipstick. Stay away from Granny colors. Really, get something hip.
25. Speaking of which, when is the last time you had an actual makeover? Truly, truly. Get rid of that 1985 look, girlfriend. Or, 1995. Or even, 2005.
26. "Regular massage appointments -- they are not just for relaxation Pray." (from Wisdom Circle member Debi Conro Goldben)
27. Are you wearing "old lady clothes?" You know what I mean.
28. Are you "settling" in any way about your appearance? This question isn't about other people, people. This is about how YOU feel when you go out in the world. Because we're all about making Crone-Making Hot. So, Crones. Not Drones.
29. Get a new Hello Kitty toothbrush.
30. Clean out your purse. (By the way, if anyone can look at your purse and think "pocketbook," get a new one. Truly, you're too young to be your grandmother.)
31. Get new underwear, because, you KNOW what you look like "under there" and knowing that affects how you feel about yourself. (Hint: You don't want underwear that you can actually tuck into the bottom of your underwire. There are comfortable options that don't scream "granny pants!")
32. The credit cards are killing you. Do what you need to do to live within your actual means. At all times.
33. See a financial planner and deal with the actual part of getting older that requires money after you can't work. Or don't want to.
34. Is your will up to date?
35. How about your power of attorney?
36. Balance your check book.
37. Are your taxes current? Have you been scrupulously honest there? Consider if the pit in your stomach is worth any gray areas there.
38. Do you have your important papers all together? In a fire-proof box?
39. Back up your computer files.
40. Are you overextended commitment-wise? Over volunteering?
41. How much do you do so you can "be seen" doing it? Ask yourself if that is really the way you want to live. If not, make some changes.
42. "Schedule in your day 15 minutes to read for pleasure." (from Wisdom Circle member Beth Hahn.)
43. Meet a girlfriend for lunch. Or coffee. Or a walk.
44. Are any of your relationships hurting you? Consider what you want to do about that.
45. Sign up for an art class.
46. Take a vacation.
General Maintenance Stuff
47. Get the oil changed in your car.
48. Have your tires rotated.
49. Are you up to date on regular car maintenance?
50. Any home maintenance you're neglecting? Remember, prevention is cheaper than disaster repair.
51. Buy or grow fresh herbs to cook with - because they taste MUCH better.
52. Plant ONE pot of flowers.
53. "Get outside, if just to stand on your porch & breathe!" (from Wisdom Circle member, Sherry BakerBrio.)
54. Buy yourself some flowers for the table and/or your bathroom. Every week.
55. Take 20 bucks and buy a new loofah and some awesome smelling bath yumminess.
56. Actually use them.
57. Make an appointment with your spiritual leader to discuss your spiritual inventory.
58. Listen to inspirational podcasts. Recently, I've been getting into Tara Brach's stuff.
59. Get a new journal. Write/draw in it.
60. "Meditation. It's new to me, but I'm putting it on my to-do list. Does that count?" (from Wisdom Circle member Christia Sale)
61. Write a love poem to yourself.
62. Post it in the Wisdom Circle comments below.
63. Send some kid you know twenty bucks. Because, to a kid, that's a HUGE amount of money. And because it makes you feel prosperous to give.
64. Did you floss?
Other Stuff that Belongs In a Category Above But Is Too Much Work to Cut and Paste
65. Drink less soda. Or at least put a lemon in it. Because, if you're going to drink soda (I do), you might as well accessorize it.
66. Get some really funky earrings and bracelets. Because people will look at your earlobes and not what is happening to your neck.
67. Make peace with your neck. Let me know how that is done.
68. "Make love, make good food, make your body work for it, make time for rewards -- every day!" (From Wisdom Circle member, Kate Britt.)
69. Put your family photographs in order. Make little mini-albums for people you love, or like.
70. Throw a tea party for your girlfriends.
71. Invite friends over for a potluck supper.
72. Give a few bucks to a different charity.
73. Buy a new magazine you have never read.
74. Learn to knit. Or crochet. Or weld. I've always wanted to know how to weld. I'd think I'd be really, really good at it. Because it's fiery. And feels powerful.
75. Go on a date. If you're in a committed relationship, it should be with that person. If not, ask someone out. What the hell.
76. If you're in a committed relationship, but you've been dating someone else. Stop. You might be doing the right things. But you're doing them in the wrong order. And karma will not be kind to you.
77. Be scrupulously honest in all your affairs. Because it's less stressful, AND, because you won't have to rely on a fading memory to keep your stories straight.
78. Grab a trash bag, walk down your street, and pick up trash.
79. Don't forget your Humility Workout - Do a good deed. Don't get caught. We all need practice doing good without attribution.
80. Don't forget to attend to that upper lip situation. A recent question at our LAT Facebook page revealed that waxing was the preferred upper lip management tool - it was the Hands Down winner! (I personally like threading, except when the stuff grows back in you get all those crazy little bumps. It may be worth sporting that super red upper lip for a little bit, post-waxing.)
81. Say "no" to the next five things you don't want to do. Be sure to keep count. Because you HAVE to say "yes" to the sixth. Unless you're so in love with your life now that you don't want to blow it by going back to your over-doing it days.
82. Go to the movies. Eat popcorn.
83. You'd better floss again.
84. Make dinner at home. Unless you do that all the time. Then, go out.
85. Have sex with a person you like, or even love. (Last time I suggested this, one of our male readers asked why we would have sex with someone we didn't like. I'm guessing you know why.)
86. Go to the beach. Or the mountains. Or a lake. Just get out in nature and walk and walk and walk and walk.
87. Grill some vegetables for dinner. Because they're awesome. Since we've already tried flax seeds and jicama, perhaps you can just throw some regular old asparagus on the grill. Because enough is enough.
88. Clean out your refrigerator. Because it's probably really gross.
89. Clean out one closet in your house. Just one. It gets overwhelming if you over-commit.
90. Go to church.
91. Check out a local museum. Or a symphony. Or the ballet. Because art is the soul of life, and you need it.
92. Don't let anyone hurt you. Ever again.
93. Reread and redo number 92. It's that important.
94. AND, you don't get to hurt anyone either. Make sure you're being honest with yourself about that. Bullies don't like themselves. And you want to like yourself.
95. Turn your adversity into triumph. Pick out the one hardship you've been through that you can speak about from a position of strength now. Prepare a brief talk about that. And ask at school, or church, or your local women's group if you can share your experience with others.
96. Think about what legacy you want to leave to the world. Maybe just write about it for a few minutes.
97. Seek help in manifesting your legacy.
98. Get a sense of humor about your life. It's a drag to be around people who don't have one.
99. Decide to be happy. Because it IS a choice -- YOUR choice. AND because you're flossing now.
100. Be grateful. Every day. Insist on it.
101. Help another woman out. Every day. Pass on what you have been so generously given. Because none of us can take credit for ALL of the gifts of abundance and prosperity and mercy and love in our lives.
Have we missed anything??? If so, please let us know in the Wisdom Circle comments below. And please, please, pass this post on to your friends. Spread the love around.
Photo: Flickr, denniswong
Note: Jennifer Boykin is the creator of the midlife reinvention community, Life After Tampons (dot) com. To join the revolution, and get your free copy of the Comeback Quickstart, register here.