Spring is such a wonderful time of the year. It reminds us of rebirth, growth and of course, the steady approach of a warm and languid summer. As we ease into a new month, we invite you to treat yourself to a little fling, to get your body, mind and soul prepped for the madness of the silly season and to help you see in the new year (and decade!) with wisdom, curiosity and a little humour.
Below are five date ideas to help you rekindle that nurturing relationship with yourself. You can sprinkle them throughout your week, or perhaps block out an hour or two just for you, to give it that authentic date-vibe.
Find some Focus
For at least five minutes, try and dedicate yourself to focusing on something, fully. That means no distractions, no multitasking, no Instagram-scrolling, no work tasks!
The point of this is to help quiet the internal chatter and bring your body & mind, fully focused on the present moment. Regular focused practice allows you to develop greater awareness of your mental and emotional states. It also helps you cultivate a more compassionate and inquisitive relationship with yourself. Try to avoid any tasks that are very cerebral (where you have to think too hard!) – the point of this exercise is to clear the mind and focus on something clear and external (e.g. art, music) or internal (e.g. breathing, visualisation).
A few examples include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Deliberate listening of a music track
- Deep breathing exercise (count your breaths)
Take a moment to write your current life, and self, a love-letter. Explore all the things that you are most proud of and grateful for and write out the letter as if you are writing it to someone you love very, very much. Acknowledge the things that have been challenging and the ways in which you were proud to have persevered and made it through. Acknowledge your achievements and the goals you’ve smashed. Acknowledge the kind, generous, compassionate and resilient qualities you possess. Acknowledge the people (and pets) in your world that make life worth living!
When we cultivate a gratitude practice, we force our brain to attend to the aspects in our life that we love and appreciate – thereby priming our mind to seek out similar things in the world around us.
To get you started, ask yourself:
- What tough stuff have you overcome?
- What are some achievements or experiences (big or small) that you can proudly acknowledge in your past?
- What parts of your character/personality are you proud of?
- Who in your life are you grateful for?
- What little day-to-day moments bring you joy? (e.g. the sound of rain, the smell of coffee, a smile from a stranger)
Make some Meaning
For at least five minutes, try and do something that aligns you with your best self. That is, in your mind’s eye, imagine yourself as the person that you most want to be – What do you imagine yourself doing? What do you imagine yourself having? How do you imagine feeling? Then pick one activity that allows you to take one small step closer to embodying that best version of you.
The point of this is to keep you aligned with visions of your ideal self. Understand that this doesn’t need to be a huge, overwhelming task. It is merely a moment of time that you spend in alignment with who/how you most want to be. It should weave in with whatever values and priorities are personally relevant to you, and not what others expect from you.
- Is my best self fit & healthy? Perhaps some yoga or exercise?
- Is my best self loved & supported? Perhaps some dedicated time with family & friends?
- Is my best self learned & wise? Perhaps time spent reading/studying/researching?
- Is my best self connected with nature? Perhaps time spent bushwalking/gardening?
- Is my best self successful & financially secure? Perhaps time spent working towards a business project or organising finances?
- Is my best self curious and creative? Perhaps time spent making art, writing, or playing music?
Eat a Mindful Meal
Food is fantastic. It nourishes and fuels us and it’s fabulous when shared with those we love. But often, we just consume it mindlessly with little thought for what it is, where it comes from, and the full sensory experience it provides us.
Buy, or better yet, make yourself a favourite meal. Something that is associated with happy memories from your past. Before tucking in, bring yourself into the present moment and be mindful about the whole process of eating. How do you imagine your food made it to your plate and how can you be grateful for that process that made it possible? What does your food look like? Take note of the colours, bumps and grooves. Really use your nose to smell each individual ingredient. Hesitate before swallowing – chew your food thoroughly and take note of all the wonderful textures & temperatures on your tongue, on the roof of your mouth, even in the back of your throat.
Some meal ideas:
- A fresh salad with brightly coloured vegetables
- A fragrant soup, or curry loaded with spices and flavours
- A signature dish you associate with your cultural heritage
- A fun, salty or sugary treat you remember from childhood
- A bowl of ice cream or yoghurt with vibrant fresh fruits
- A home-made pizza with all your favourite toppings!
Find some Fun
When was the last time you did something just for the fun of it? As children, many of us were great at foraging out moments of fun. But as we got older and loaded with more obligations and responsibilities, we stopped making fun a priority. As a result, we’ve forgotten how to play.
Find at least five minutes to cast off any restrictive or dignified notions of yourself and fully commit to doing something just for the fun of it. Better yet, make it something that you’ve never done before! Research shows that doing something for the first time fires up dormant neural connections in our brains and play-time helps foster greater creativity and productivity in our daily lives.
Some things you can do for fun:
- Arts and crafts
- Baking or cooking
- Dancing/singing to a favourite song/album
- A new (or old favourite) sport
- Play with a pet or visit the dog park
- Build a sandcastle
- Roll down a hill