My first hedonistic experience was a spa day at the age of 18. It was a gift from my mother
who ironically, sacrificed her own self-care for the good of others. I’d like to think the notion of
women putting everyone else’s needs above their own was a sign of the times. Yet, I’ve come
to realize that extreme care giving to others may be an innate characteristic of most women.
With this comes the wisdom to also know we cannot give from an empty well. We know this.
We’ve been told this. We might be aware of what replenishes us. We sometimes aspire,
practice and embrace this. We may listen to our bodies and honor what this sacred vessel is
telling us. We may check in with our feelings and allow ourselves to express our emotions in
safe and compassionate ways. We may notice our thoughts, and ‘mind to our minds’ in
thoughts that serve our well-being. AND many times, we don’t.
We press on when we are tired and need to rest. We put off the walk, the yoga class, the
workout that our body craves. We eat to fill an emotional void. We put food and beverages
into our body which have little nutritional value. We flood our minds with worries, negative
chatter and mental regrets. We get our priorities mixed up. We forget our personal values.
We look to others to fix things or make things right. We take our bodies and brains for granted,
or criticize ourselves for the way we look or being forgetful. We can vacillate between anxiety
and depression. We are hard on ourselves. Sometimes we fail to treat ourselves as our Very
What if there was a simple, affordable, accessible way to be your own best friend? What if
indulging yourself in self-care, compassion, pleasure and luxury was your daily mission?
What if we spun the concept of “giving” to begin with ourselves, as much as possible, given the
circumstances of any given day? How could you start with this intention of giving to yourself?
Maybe you already have self-care practices in place. Are they still serving you? How do you
For me, this all begins with awareness, checking in with myself, as much as possible given the
circumstances of any given day. Years ago, I decided to drive without talking on the phone or
listening to music, books on tape or a podcast. I wanted to experiment with using this time to
pay attention to mind, body, emotions and spirit. Other than navigating through traffic in a
two-ton vehicle moving at 60mph!, I didn’t have many distractions.
When my thoughts weren’t traveling 60mph on their own, I would witness them. I would be
curious why I was thinking these thoughts and asked myself if I wanted to change them. This
was quite empowering and liberating. It took a lot of awareness and practice, which still
requires vigilance. The payoff is a clear, calm mind that has been trained to focus on the
positive, can process creatively, and has the ability to induct and deduct with perspective.
This tuning in, curiosity and tending flowed into the awareness of how I was feeling and that my
thoughts affected my feelings. Or sometimes my feelings were suppressed by my thoughts. I
was also able to check in on my body and what it needed. It could be the most basic thing, like I
needed to go to bed early, or take a bath when I got home. Sometimes I had to wrestle with my
mind who wanted to dismiss my body’s requests. But when I came from self-care, love and
respect, I could negotiate the arguing thoughts. I did this for a year and found it so beneficial
for my self-care actions that most days I still drive in silence, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Try
it for at least a week. If this experiment brings up frustration, irritability or resistance, that
means you probably will want to give this awareness opportunity more than a week. I know, I
know. This is same adage as not having time to meditate when you really need to be still and
meditate. My teacher told me to meditate twice as long as I normally would when I say; “I don’t
The quiet time in my car gave access to what my mind, body and emotions were experiencing,
with the space to assess and adjust for my well-being. I believe this all stemmed from that spa
day! That Spa Day was like nothing I had ever experienced, after all, I was only 18 years old in
1977. Yet, it gave the opening to awareness, noticing how good my body felt, how my mind
relaxed, and how I appreciated being cared for. An awareness that continues to guide me for
self-care mind, body, heart and soul. This gift from my mom was much bigger and long-lasting
than just a day at the spa.
Can you recall a time when you felt nurtured and cared for mind, body, heart and soul all at the
Pause and Recall.
Take a few breaths and bask in this memory.
Inquire; “how might I experience something like this again”?
Here are a few suggestions to connect with your mind, body, heart and soul:
– Enjoy a leisurely walk (not for exercise)
– Cook or bake
– Plant flowers
– Pamper yourself with scented oils or lotions
– Gaze into a candle or fire
– Listen to birds chirping
– Let raindrops fall on your face
– Take a relaxing bath
– Listen to music
– Take a day “off”
– Journal, Doodle, Draw
– Give yourself or receive a facial
– Watch a sunrise or sunset
– Compliment yourself
– Lean against a tree
– Eat something decadent without guilt
– Do absolutely nothing
Barbara Badolati, founder of BeWell Retreats has been a key player in the evolution of wellness since 1986. Her dedication to this field has included creating corporate wellness cultures, opening several yoga studios, providing health and life coaching for individuals, and leading worldwide retreats. The foundation of her work is to empower the individual toward greater health and well-being through lifestyle, mindset, movement and meditation. You can experience all of this and more through her virtual retreats and classes at BeWellRetreats.com
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