Just as there was a time when “google” was not a verb, there was also a time when “bodacious” was not a word. It is said that bodacious is a blend of “bold” and “audacious” created in British English dialect late in the nineteenth century.
So, print out this blog and save it for one of those days when you need to find bold and audacious ways to be nice to yourself. Yes, I believe that we can master our emotions, and that we can shift our default positions and become healthy. And I also know that we’ll always have days when – no matter how hard we try – trying hard won’t do it. On such days, the best thing to do is to just give in and be really nice to us. Tomorrow we will thrive because of today’s kindness.
Here are 13 bodacious ways to be nice to yourself:
1- Decide that you’re going to be nice to yourself for the next __________ hours
The worst thing you can do is say, “Yea. Hmm. I’m feeling frantic. I should be nice to myself. That’d be good. Maybe I’ll try something. But first let me just check my email…” This will most likely perpetuate the frantic. The best thing you can do is to decide that for the next hour or five, you’re going to be exquisitely nurturing. You’re going to let everything stop, and you’re going to be nice to yourself. This decision is the fierce mothering part of you that steps in and begins the nurturing. The wimpy wavering email-checking part of you is the addicted unhealthy part.
2 – Get a pedicure
Visit one of the places at the strip malls. Sit in the rumbly chairs that don’t really do much but shake up your intestines. Bring your iPod and listen to music. Flip through stupid magazines to see if Paris is back in jail. It’s not exactly a spa. But in some ways it’s more fun. Spas can just be so much pressure!
3 – Buy something at full price
We make ourselves tired trying to save money in every last area of our lives. The amount of energy we waste on trying to get “deals” is not worth it much of the time. If you see something you love, then get it. I’m convinced that we’d all be so much happier and wealthier if we just got exactly what we loved without looking at the price tag and wasting time constantly looking for sales.
4 – Give away ten dollars
Yesterday I walked around town with my friend Suzi. We passed two women sitting on a bench, and one of them said, “Do you have a quarter?” Suzi, being the most generous person I know, instantly took out her wallet. The woman said, “How ’bout a five?” And Suzi laughed and said, “Hey, the price just keeps going up doesn’t it?” And she gave the woman a ten. She didn’t struggle with it. She just acted on her belief in abundance and wealth. (And Suzi is quite wealthy, I might add.) It was a joyful moment for me to witness the wide-eyed pleasure that these women got from getting a gift so huge. In an abundant and exciting world, giving is getting.
5 – Take a nap
Favorite thing: I climb into bed for a nap in the middle of the day. Within minutes comes the soft ploop of cat paws on the cover. I can almost hear the cat thoughts: Hmm. The human has decided to lie quietly. I’d like to take part. Then the paws walk all around me until they find the very best spot for settling. A few more minutes will pass. Then the next set of paws. And the same routine. Of course, eventually the dog has to get in on the action. This crams up the whole bed. But it makes me smile every time. And it makes for a happy community nap. Naps are necessary.
6 – Swing on a swing
I love swings. Any time I find a swing, I swing on it. My favorite swing these days hangs by long ropes from a big oak tree on the campus of Warren Wilson College. I go there just to swing on that swing. It always makes me happy. Who cares if you look or feel stupid? Adults can be so boring. Teach them that they don’t have to be.
7 – Jump on your kid’s trampoline (Or on your friends’ kid’s trampoline)
I was at a cocktail party a month ago. The adults were up on the deck watching the little kids jump on the trampoline. At one point, all the kids ran inside to do something. I put down my wine, kicked off my shoes and ran for the trampoline. Two other women joined me. We laughed and jumped for about 15 minutes. It was the most fun I had all week.
8 – Have no more than 2 items on your to-do list
I found a to-do list of mine from many years ago, stuffed in one of my writing notebooks. It had 32 items on it. I read through them, stunned at my insanity. I’ve come to realize that a day should have no more than one or two priorities for completion. When you get those two items done, congratulate yourself, and be happy.
9 – Order food to be delivered
I’m committed to health and eating mostly vegan. And I love preparing meals. But some weeknights, it’s just necessary to let someone else do the cooking. I’m lucky to have a great delivery service in my town. I don’t mind the extra expense if it allows me a night of no clean up, and a little extra time to write.
10 – Take a long walk with your dog
Many people get home from work and march their dogs around the block with a grim look on their face. It’s just another to-do item checked off the list. Take your dog for a long happy walk. It’s fun to see the delight and presence of a dog on a walk. It will absolutely lift your spirits. In these long days, my husband and I take the dog out to the farm at Warren Wilson College every night. She tries to play with the chickens and the horses. Occasionally she gets so excited that she runs in circles. (She’s part border collie.) And I get to watch fireflies and chew on mint leaves. I cherish those moments.
11 – Get on a prayer list
12 – Read a fun mystery
Part of the pleasure of going to the beach is that we allow ourselves the happiness of lounging around reading stuff that we wouldn’t be caught dead reading on the subway. Why is that? Are we so married to our egos that we’d rather not be happy in our everyday lives? In Janet Evanovich’s book How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author, a reader poses a question. The reader asks Janet how she stays upbeat all the time. Janet’s answer is that she only reads and watches happy things. It was so matter-of-factly-unpretentious that I stopped in my tracks. I’m so used to artists and best-selling authors putting up such a front about their reading habits. And it’s refreshing to hear someone say, “Hey, I like to read happy things. I refuse to read dark stuff. Enough said.” (If you need a fun place to start, try somthing by Carl Hiaasen. Like Skinny Dip.)
13 – Step AWAY from the computer
Everyone needs a break from email and search engine blah-blah, and blogs. (Yes, even this one!) Don’t include your computer in any of these activities. I promise, your computer won’t take it personally! (Neither will this blog.)