Self care doesn’t always come naturally to me. On days like today I wonder, “How do I find my way back to those small moments of delight?” They say it’s about being mindful and grateful. But sometimes it’s just hard to remember how to get there.

Usually, I start by reaching for my list. You know, that long list in your head of all the things you feel like you should be doing: meditating, exercising, taking my vitamins, making sure I get enough alone time… they are all so good, so then why do they feel like a laundry list of chores? Turns out, it’s because I’m missing a step.

The folks at PsychCentral put it this way: “A lot of people

[put] self-care into their routine as a forced thing. Then they feel tired out from it, and forget the fun stuff.”

PsychCentral go on to say, “Self care only works when you listen to your body, and do what you want without resistance. For me, I’ve learned to do what I want to do in the moment. So if I randomly feel like reading a few pages of a fictional novel or walking my dog, I do it. I don’t push it aside or promise myself I’ll do it later, I do it right then.”

art journaling for self care*So instead of starting with the laundry list, I’m going to start with the invitation: giving myself permission to do something fun. I’ll start a list of prompts that invite me back into this mindset: “What’s one small thing I can do to treat myself right now?” or “I would be just a bit happier if…

And then, I’ll just listen. Sometimes, it might be as simple as shifting in my chair to sit more comfortably at my desk. Sometimes, it might mean turning on some music, making some tea, or creating a page in my art journal.

It’s so refreshing to be reminded that self care is an invitation, not a prescription. And right now, I’m going to get some water and step outside for some fresh air, just for a minute.