All relationship are about give and take, yin and yang, push and pull. As women, we often spend countless hours analyzing our relationships, scrutinizing details and replaying scenarios over in our mind. But have you ever thought about your own relationship with yourself? Have you sat down to write a list of non-negotiables that you owe yourself, perhaps on a daily basis?
Maintaining one's sanity in life seems to have something to do with striking a balance between your short-term wants and your long-term wants. You want to eat doughnuts for breakfast every day this week, but your long-term self probably chimes in at some point and swaps in some granola. You want to spend your entire paycheck on plaid ponchos and sephora products (just me?) but your long-term self steps in and interferes. So what can your wise, long-term self ask of you each and every day that will up your overall happiness in the long run? What do YOU need from yourself every day?
Maybe this is starting to sound like a Dr. Seuss novel, but that's not my intent. On a run today I had this epiphany (call it runner's high) that I truly need exercise to be happy. It got me thinking about the simple things I can do for myself to make me happy, whole, and calm. I came up with the following list and encourage you to do the same. Ask yourself what you need from yourself every day, and then try to deliver. Relationships, after all, are about give and take, and the one you have with yourself is as worthy of investment as any other. So give yourself the things you need in order to be happy--you won't regret it.
1) Long runs outside
I could care less about the size of my waistline, but I do care about my mental health. If I go too many days in a row without a nice, long run, I get moody and irritable. Now that the weather is colder, I have to force myself to get outside, but once I do I feel ten times better. The sun on my face, the sweat on my back, it all makes me feel too good not to do on a regular basis.
I've tried to give up caffeine numerous times, with no avail. When my beloved coffee maker broke last week, it wasn't pretty. Not getting coffee in my system until I can tame the puppy and finally put on clothes to head out the door is a recipe for disaster, especially for everyone around me (apologies!). I love coffee. I love it right away in the morning. I love feeling the cup in my hands and savoring every sip. I decided not to dwell on the fact that I love a good cuppa joe and instead, embrace it. I bought a milk frother (all of $10) and keep full-fat creamers on hand so I can savor a delicious, luxurious cup every morning.
3) Time to do nothing
Some people like and need a full social calendar to feel happy. I have tried to be like this, but it always makes me more on-edge. I am someone that feels no shame in wanting to unwind in front of the TV or sit around and read a book. I love being around a few close friends, but I genuinely have no desire to be in a crowded room that often. With a baby puppy in my life I haven't had a ton of time to chill without having someone bite my foot, but it makes me revel the alone time I do have even more. (And I'm totally obsessed with my dog, so there's that.) After a certain age, I accepted the fact that I'm not someone who wants to be busy all the time. I need a few hours every once and a while to just be. It helps me feel more centered and refreshed than if I never come up for air.
4) Fresh flowers
It sounds simple, but keeping fresh flowers in the house is something that brings me tons of joy for $10 or less. Sometimes it feels superfluous when I know I need to get the fuck out of the grocery store before I go broke, but trimming the stems, arranging the bouquet, and placing them in a clean vase in my home makes me feel comforted and cheerful. Having one more living thing around in the dead of winter seems like money well spent.
5) A good book
I don't feel right if I don't have a book on my nightstand. Scratch that--if I don't have at least 3 books on my nightstand, waiting for me to devour them. I'm a slow reader but the feeling of getting lost in a story is a feeling unlike any other. When I haven't picked up a book in a few days my mind starts to get fidgety--I feel like I haven't stretched my brain enough or thought about the characters I've been following.