On Kindness: 10 Ways to Treat Yourself

I regularly daydream about strangling the sucker that said, "your twenties are the best years of your life." 

No. No. They. Are. NOT.

If you're entering your twenties, I hope loved ones tell you this:

"Your life is a roller coaster from this point on, kid. Prepare yourself to feel terrified for the next ten years. You're going to reach your highest highs but your lowest lows are right behind, so don't get too comfortable. Screaming and crying won't get you out of anything. You're strapped in; the ride isn't going to stop - not for broken hearts, broken bones, or broken spirits. You've got to keep going. Move forward, no matter what. There's no other choice. But don't worry, those high highs are coming around the corner again. Until they're not. Laugh a lot or else you'll puke. Good luck!"

Then hope that your loved one pats you on the back - because you'll need the encouragement to embark on your journey.

I can confidently tell you I'm in the midst of my quarter-life crisis. Sometimes, after a 60-hour workweek, a crummy physical therapy session, and another restless night, I find it essential to treat myself. Here are some of my favorite ways to do so.

1. TAKE A BATH

Grab a box of Epsom salt on your way home from work. Throw your bag down, pour yourself your favorite beverage, grab a book/magazine, and fill up the tub. Light candles. Turn the lights off. Put music on. Melt into the water. Snooze. Daydream. Let yourself relax.

2. SAVOR SOMETHING SWEET

Whether you turn the tea kettle on for a steaming cup of hot cocoa, pour yourself a nightcap, or let a chocolate kiss melt slowly over your tongue until only traces of the milky goodness are left in your mouth, choose to lose yourself in the pleasure of meditating on something delicious.

3. LOOK THROUGH OLD PHOTOS THAT MAKE YOU SMILE

Nostalgia for your younger, carefree days are sure to make your lips turn up into a grin. Spend time actually trying to remember what being 6 years old felt like.

4. GET A MASSAGE

Ask your significant other to rub out the kinks. If your back is seriously knotted (like my own), save enough money over a few weeks (or months) to indulge and blow $100 on experienced hands. You'll likely leave the massage studio standing a bit taller. 

5. WATCH AN OLD MOVIE

A weekend of black and white movies in a bed piled high with blankets and pillows is about as exciting as a week-long vacation on a tropical land.

6. CALL SOMEONE WHO WILL MAKE YOU LAUGH

Laughing is known to enhance immunity, improve sleep, burn more calories, relax muscles, elevate creativity and memory, ease digestion, and improve oxygen intake. Laugh. Laugh at everything.

7. READ, WRITE, OR LISTEN TO A PODCAST

Instead of turning on the TV, relax by writing down your thoughts for the day, or lose yourself in someone else's world through fiction, or learn something new from a podcast. These three activities have drastically changed my perspective: they make my days exciting instead of drudging.

8. TAKE ON A DIY PROJECT OR START A FUN CRAFT

Nothing makes me feel more accomplished than starting and finishing a big (or small) project. Paint your bedroom that color you've been leaning towards for years. Build a desk. Plant a vegetable garden. Make a set of stationary you can send to friends and family. Lose yourself in collage or doodling.

9. TAKE A WALK WITH A LOVED ONE

Need to decompress? Recruit a loved one - friend, spouse, partner, child, parent, or pet - to take a walk with you. It doesn't have to be long. It doesn't have to have a destination. Just put some sneakers on and go for it. Chat. Vent. Listen to advice. Listen to your heartbeat in your chest. Breath. Feel the warmth of the sun on your skin. Keep walking until your feet can't go any farther.

10. PEOPLE WATCH

Noticing the lives of others will instantly make you feel more sane. My favorite places to gaze? Airports. Driver Seats. Into office buildings. These are the places where people's guards come down and you're able to see someone for who he is. Take some time to daydream about a stranger's life. Does that woman sleeping in the corner have a loving husband waiting for her back home? Is that college student in the Honda on his way to an interview or band practice?

 

Thoughts? Feel free to suggest some of your own treat-yourself tips in the comments section. I'd love to adopt your traditions!