Our darkest times aren’t always when others hurt us, are they?
But when we hurt ourselves.
Those moments when we slip again into a habit we know is self-destructive.
A nasty little habit we know will bring pain, guilt, regret and general self loathing.
BUT we do it anyway.
Food. Wine. Social media. TV.
We all have our own personal poison.
And when we’re most vulnerable – when we’re angry, anxious, lonely, bored, scared, grieving or just battling that constant, nagging sense of failure – they draw us in.
And hook us.
It seems so crazy doesn’t it?
BUT when we’re stressed, we all do it don’t we?
And slip so easily into the groove of that repetitive instant comfort.
WHILST totally hating ourselves for doing it.
And it feels like it’s harder and harder to resist those horrible habits when we’re all living under constant bombardment from a world that never seems to sleep …
… AND demands that we are always ON!
It’s hard to see how on earth we can protect ourselves from ALL that pressure and stress? It’s the way of the world now isn’t it?
Well it’s certainly not easy BUT building a bunch of tiny good habits that everyday ease our anxiety, loneliness, anger, boredom and sense of personal failure truly can help.
It has me.
Now, this is NOT a massive lifestyle overhaul.
It’s NOT about fancy complicated diets. Or non-stop yoga and meditation. Or extreme minimalism. OR whatever else the new – we’ll never stick to it – fad is.
BUT the simplest, smallest habits – soul snacks – that can nurture our tired, vulnerable selves.
Tiny good grooves to slip into – when stress mounts – as easily as the horrid habits we hate.
Little things that there and then help us …
- Connect with others
- Feel at one with our own body
- Know we have done good
- Believe in ourselves
- Delight in our wonderful, beautiful world
- Enjoy our amazing ability to make stuff
- And just be there, present in the moment
This year I’ve tried to weave more and more of these simple snoul snacks into our days and weekly rhythms and the longer patterns and traditions of the months and the years.
Until with gentle reptition my tired mind can reach as easily for them as a glass – or three – of wine, Twitter or angry yelling at the world.
It’s not an instant makeover.
But a long term way of living.
A recognition we all need soul food throughout the day everyday to protect us from our darker selves in a world that feels hard.
In case it helps, I’ve shared all sorts of ideas for soul snacks below. Some are mine. Some borrowed from friends.
Do try a bunch that tempt you.
(Ignore those that don’t!)
Make space for them in your day. And look after yourself simply, body and soul …
Soul Snacks For Self Care
- Go for a walk
- Send a postcard
- Buy flowers
- Read a poem
- Colour in … it’s not just for kids, try these or these
- Do a crossword
- Feed the birds
- Sweep up leaves
- Take the bus … we are so isolated in our cars
- Chat to a neighbour
- Help someone
- Eat berries
- Make a cake
- Sit down with a cup of tea … and day dream
- Do a jigsaw
- Write a journal
- Pick up litter
- Sing a song loudly … however out of tune
- Say a prayer
- Smile at a stranger
- Tell a joke
- Stroll to the market
- Watch the squirrels
- Eat nuts and seeds
- Sand wood
- Paint with your children or on your own …
- Make play dough with your children … just chuck flour & water together
- Do a puzzle
- Plant a bulb or seed
- Send a letter with a proper envelope and stamp
- Talk to someone at the shops
- Walk in the woods
- Mend something
- Play cards together
- Call a relative
- Sit out, watch the world go by … and talk to anyone who does
- Empty the trash
- Keep a nature journal
- Read a short story
- Say sorry
- Have a nap
- Play an instrument
- Play an old board game together
- Listen to the birds
- Take food to the food bank
- Play hide and seek with the kids
- Go for a bike ride
- Stop everything for elevenses
- Forgive something
- Pop into church … you don’t have to be religious, just enjoy the quiet space separate from our busy world
I do hope these help to give you a little space everyday to slow down, find some calm in the chaos and know the joy of quiet moments.
For suprisingly, it is in those simplest of moments, we truly find the strength to forgive our darker sides and let ourselves be loved.
If you’d like more simple prompts for enjoying life slowed down try these:
- A simple step by step declutter guide
- The simplest self care routine
- Lovely ways to calm down as family
- 50 instant ways to relieve stress
- How to get your energy back after sickness