13 Bodacious Ways to be Nice to Yourself - Christine Kane

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.)

  • Alexia Isaak

    These are great insights from a woman who understands the value of aking care of herself. kudos to you and balance.

  • Elizabeth

    Just walked myself and then my two very grateful dogs while listening to “Right Outta Nowhere” and “Wide Awake” on my IPod. I’m off to get a pedicure, buy myself a pair of comfortable jeans that I can breathe really well in at full price, pray that my son takes a nap this afternoon and am planning to swing with the kids after my daughter gets home from school!!! I plan to be nice to myself all day!!! 🙂 Calling 256-togo (great service in Columbia, SC) for delivery tonight for dinner seems like an awesome plan. Yep, thank you ma’am for helping me help myself! Christine, somehow finding your blog at just the right time has been the last little nudge I needed to push me over the cliff of self doubt and fear I’ve been clinging to for a long time…I found out that I really can fly (if anyone is a FLYlady.net fan, that stands for Finally Loving Yourself)! Thanks chica!

  • aneffie

    This was such fun to read. . . and love #12. . .this has kinda been my soapbox of late I just don’t watch negative stuff, no news, no violent movies (boy does this limit my selections), and no negative press (which is why I love it here). It always amazes me when someone will come up all upset about one thing or another that they read or saw in the media. . .while I sit here happy and complacent in my little cocoon.

  • Monica

    Adults can be so boring.

    Amen, sister! I’m 42 and have always been a kid at heart. This has been criticized by some (mostly boring co-workers) and embraced by others (friends). Only, after seven looong years in the only job I can seem to find I just realized (gasp!) I’ve lost the fun in my own life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Katy Jo

    Ha! That’s funny you mention the book “How I write” because I just added it to my to-do list 😉 [which now contains more than 2 things… more like 50]. I love your blog! I found you because of mylemonadestand.com and am glad i did. adding you to netvibes now!

    and then stepping away from my computer 🙂

  • Christine Kane

    susan – not to mention the SMELL of crayons!

    hello petra – i just returned from facilitating a retreat this weekend. one of the women there voiced the exact same things you wrote here. especially the part about not waiting til things are on sale, and ultimately buying LESS stuff. thanks!

    hey michelle – grab some of your gal friends and go do the pedicure thing. it’s fun!

    kathy – sounds like you’ve got the whole self-care thing down pat!

    thanks tracy.

    hi delaney! wow! I always wondered who that guy was! he just sort of appeared in my head when i first started the song. i just adored him. and it sounds like you’ve definitely leapt and found the net! thanks for writing.

  • Delaney Kirk

    Love the list. Just clicked on your song that Liz linked to on her web. You wrote about me! I recently gave up a tenured full professor job that I had had for 18 years to follow my dream of living close to the ocean. My friends think I’m crazy. But it’s been the best decision that I’ve ever made!

  • Tracy

    Great list! I’m going to try them out. 🙂

  • Kathy

    Naps! Pedicures! Two of my favorites. The thought of a group nap makes me smile. I am lucky to be one of those people who can get a full brain shut down in 15 minutes and feel perfectly refreshed when I wake up. Sometimes I do this in the pedicure chair!!! And one other of my favorites is taking a nice long bath….scented with some relaxing aroma oils, candles lit. mmmmmmm

  • Michelle

    Bold+audacious? Didn’t realize that, but this is a great list. I’ve always wanted to get a pedicure. . .

  • Petra

    These are such wonderful ideas (and I was inspired to stop for a full-fat strawberry cheesecake frozen custard–YUM!!!) Ordinarily, I’d treat myself to some fat-free frozen yogurt, but today I thought, go for the gusto (which beer ad was that, anyway?) Love the one about paying full price–I no longer put off buying what I love if it isn’t on sale. The great part about this is that not only am I actually buying less (if I don’t LOVE it, I don’t BUY it, unless it’s $1.99 lip gloss 🙂 but I’m also surrounded by things that I absolutely adore. And a lot less clutter, too! I have NEVER regretted paying full price for something I really, really, really love.

  • Susan Helene Gottfried

    Swinging on swings made me think of another favorite one: color. Yes, crayons, coloring books, the whole nine yards. There’s something about the mindlessness of coloring that is soothing.

    Happy TT — yet another way to pamper myself.

  • Christine Kane

    hi eileen, go for it! blogs are meant to inspire conversation!

    thanks for the thoughts, caren. i love janet evanovich too. no guilt about it!

    hi leah – thanks for all those great thoughts! sark is wonderful, yes indeed. i’ll check out ‘something blue.’

    hi m, thanks for the additional list. postcards are good one!

    bev – sisters on the fly sounds like quite a great time. i’ll go check out your site!

  • Bev – Sister #615

    This is the only the second time I have visited your blog but I love it. I think another thing to add is to read the blog. Something I have done recently is to join the Sisters on the Fly. You can access at http://www.sistersonthefly.com. We are having a camp out in Murphy NC end of June. Check out the group. Wish you could come and meet the girls in the group. No men allowed and most of us have vintage travel trailers.
    Bev- Sister #615

  • m

    walking near water

    sitting outside with a cup of coffee

    sitting in cafes

    writing postcards to friends

    yes to smelling the roses!

  • leah

    ha! what a fabulous list! i enjoy doing nearly all of those things! the line about the cats, “Hmm. The human has decided to lie quietly. I’d like to take part.”, totally cracked me up.

    i recently gave a bigger chunk of money away to someone when i was having a wonderful day and wanted to share/spread the love. i got a hug. 🙂

    it’s always good to throw in some light reading. i call them “beach reads”, but being at the beach is not required! recent fluffy read: “something blue”.

    i laughed when i read you were a nanny. i recently left my nanny job of 6 years to pursue my art. part of the reason i loved nannying was that it gave me a great excuse to enjoy those “childish” pleasures. now, after all this time, i’m willing to be silly and child-like without children. 🙂

    a few more ideas: make a baby laugh (best feeling in the world and there are always cute babies in places like grocery store lines and out on walks with mom.), buy stickers (not sure why, but i love silly stickers. they’re fun to put on letters, or just to keep.) go to a garden shop (there’s something wonderful about breathing in the earthy smells of fresh turned dirt in a garden shop/nursery. it’s a wonderful treat.)

    this list also made me think of SARK who has loads of great ideas for bodacious ways to be good to yourself!

  • Caren

    My two walks a day with my dog are sanity-savers. People ask, “Why don’t you make your boys walk the dog?” Those people see it as a chore, not a pleasure. My guys come along when they want, but they don’t have to. They don’t see it as a pleasure most days. 🙂

    I *love* the image of grown-ups in the bouncy chairs! I did secretly want one when my oldest had his.

    I used to call Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series my “guilty pleasure” in reading, and Project Runway my “guilty pleasure” in TV watching. (Love Tim Gunn!! Christine, I know you don’t know who that is.) Until one day I heard myself and asked, “Why am I guilty? It’s FUN.” So, now I don’t have guilty pleasures, just pleasures. Even extra dark chocolate Lindor truffles.

    My oldest, at 14, still loves to swing. He says he gets his creative ideas, and thinks better, if he has time to swing. I’m SO glad he’s not embarrassed to jump on and go!

  • Eileen

    This made me smile this morning. My business is called Bodacious Bodywork- Empowering Abundance through Touch. These ideas are great. If I may I would like to make my own list of Bodacious ways to be nice to yourself for my blog.

  • Christine Kane

    hi diotima, when i was a nanny, i used to think, “now, if adults had cool bungee chairs that hung from door frames where they could spend about a half hour a day bouncing around, they’d be happy too!”

    what a great story tammy! thanks for sharing that! (i’ve done the same thing too – in grocery lines. it’s just so much easier. and people are always so happy when you help them!)

    barb, last night i walked all around a magnolia tree smelling the blooms while frogs grunted by the river, and it was like being talked to by the smell. so amazing! i totally understand that big smile you get!

  • barb

    when I first started work, a patient got roses, the real kind out of a garden. I stopped to smell the roses and to this day, whenever i see roses, (even store bought), I stop and smell them. in a patient’s room, at the vet’s, just where ever and I get a big smile and a moment of relaxation in the day. i am sooo glad that you don’t get offended when i don’t get around to your blog every day. then i can start a morning at work with a blog entry and brighten my day. thanks barb

  • Tammy

    Christine, giving money away, even a small amount, is so much fun because people just light up. A few months ago I was on line at the train station ticket counter and a young (early 20s) guy in front of me didn’t have enough money for his ticket. I tapped on his shoulder and handed him a five, without much fanfare. He thanked me profusely and that was that. About a month after that, I was sitting on the train and someone plopped down next to me. A hand with a Dunkin’ Donuts card stretched into my line of vision. It was the young guy. He said, “I just wanted to thank you for your kindness that day. I’ve been carrying this around with me, hoping I’d run into you again.” What a smile that brought to my face! The world is a good, good place so much of the time!

  • Diotima

    Oh, my, another adult who loves to swing on swings and jump on trampolines! Yay! Sometimes I can be dragged away from a trampoline, but if I pass a swing, I just have to swing on it. Slides are pretty irresistible, too. I do get some strange looks when I jump on a swing set in a playground, especially with my gray hair, but I think that’s just a symptom of a problem with our culture — we think play is just for kids. Naps, too.

    I’m convinced that if more adults played on swings and slides and trampolines, and took afternoon naps, the world would be a much better place. Maybe we can start a trend. 😉