I recently realized I’ve managed to define a few basic ingredients for a good life, that can vary in size, shape, execution, but without them, I don’t know that I would lead a good life. So I treat myself good, by making sure I get these. Preferably on a daily basis, but that might be optional once in a while.
During sleep, the body heals itself.
I might be sleeping, feeling as if I’m not doing anything, but my body is busy at work.
Repairing. Strengthening. Nourishing.
So I make sure I get my sleep.
Once in a while I experience a sleepless night or two though, and during those, I rest. I might not be sleeping, but I can rest. Lie there in bed, and just enjoy the warmth, the closeness of my husband, the cat snoring in the cosy chair in the corner. Resting. Not as good as sleep, but a close second, and I would rather take rest than anxious worrying.
Get outside. Sit in the sun. Sit in the shade. Take a walk. Go for a jog. Have dinner in the garden. Sleep in the hammock. Plant some flowers. Do whatever you want to, but get outside. Even when the sun isn’t out. The sun isn’t actually the thing, it’s fresh air, outside, being in nature, that’s the thing. But I love the word sunshine, I love the images it opens on the inside of my eyelids when I close my eyes, thinking about sunshine.
So if it’s raining – get outside anyway. Get dressed so you can take a walk in the rain. Or undress, and get out there in the summer rain, dancing away, naked on the lawn.
We’re made to move. Something has to happen for us not to be able to move, because we are built for movement.
Dance. Run. Jump. Walk. Crawl. Ride a bike. Go swimming. Stretch, bend, exert yourself.
Your body is made for it, and the way of our times is not beneficial to us. Long commutes by car, train, bus. Sitting in front of a desk all day, hacking away at a keyboard. We’re not cut out for it. So if that’s what you do – get conscious about it, and treat yourself well, well enough to inject small bursts of movement into your day.
Take the stairs. Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the last bit. Sell the car and get a good bike, by all means. Set the timer at 30 minutes and take a dance break, in the office, letting all your colleagues be inspired. Heck, you might start a weekly lunch-beat at the office, who knows! As long as you move. That’s what the body is made for!
Sustenance. We need it. Nourishment. Liquids and solids.
I almost laugh at myself now, but just a few years ago I had a great epiphany. I truly got it, that every time I eat or drink, I have a choice. A choice to eat or drink something that brings be closer to a healthy state, or something that brings me further from health. Let me tell you, that was a big one!
And you know what – sometimes a delicious piece of dark chocolate is just what I need to stay healthy. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself. And that’s fine. Health isn’t just about physical nourishment that can be ingested. It’s about more than that. But to a large extent, I think modern man has forgotten that the food we eat, is a sign of our reverence, respect and love for ourselves. And I think, we all deserve the very highest reverence, respect and love! Looking at how my diet has changed over the years, it’s reflecting that, more and more. And that makes me very happy, because I deserve the best!
We need to belong. Human beings are wired for it. Wired for connection. That’s why we care so much about what other people think of us. Even more importantly then, to actually create a life where those around you really truly love and respect you. We become like the five people we hang around with the most. So pick wisely. Deliberately.
I didn’t really catch on to this until a few years ago, and since then, the very companionships I cultivate are such a vital part of my expansion as a human being. I’ve co-created several arenas, where I can be me. Fully. Without holding back. I will be held in a loving space, encouraged to experiment and expand, to evolve and grow. Where I can get a hug and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, as well as a kick in the butt, when that’s what’s needed. Make sure you surround yourselves with people like that. And the best way to make that happen, based on my experience, is by being like that yourself. Be a person you would want to hang with.
Sleep, sunshine, movement, food and companionship.
In no specific order. Neither is more important than the others, but rather, are all vital ingredients for a good life in my understanding.
First published on my blog on April 10th, 2016: https://helenaroth.com/doing-gentle-13-treat-yourself-good/
Audio production: Caspian Almerud
Photography: Anders Roos http://www.andersroos.nu/
Soundtrack: Olof Jennfors Ljudtjänst http://jennforsljud.se/