Slowing Things Down

I’ve been writing about self-care in one form or another for years. I continue to do so because (1) I think taking time to care for oneself is important, (2) in our society, that need to care for oneself still needs to be normalized, and (3) I still need to be reminded of the first two!

But it always comes back to — just how do you DO it? Keep in mind that “self care” can be a catch-all term that covers everything from taking ten minutes to drink your morning coffee while sitting down (instead of gulping it while standing at the sink!) to a Instagram-curated luxury trip to somewhere remote, probably involving staff. While I’m sure that’s lovely, it’s not what this site is dedicated to doing.

What Splendor focuses on is the notion of living thoughtfully in a small town and adhering to a budget. This post is going to focus on the “nuts and bolts” – let’s make that the “glitter and joy” – of starting this self-care journey. (Mind you, I always suggest starting with the “Diva Drills” in the Resources tab.) Given that this is the start of my Birthday Week and that one of my goals is to consciously work deliberate self-care into every day of this week, this is a good reminder for me, too.

We’ll revisit this as we go through this year, but for now, be content starting small. Nothing kills a good idea faster than setting the bar too high, not reaching it, and deciding that it’s just too darned much trouble. Three simple ways to start small this week – all easy to do and designed for success! If you like, pick just one idea or come up with your own. Or you could pick one from each category and still get them all done in an hour this week.

First, decide to do one thing slower this week (10 minutes). Slowing down is the core of self-care – it’s not about doing more, faster. For this category, pick one simple, everyday thing and do the “slow version” of it. You might want to drink your morning coffee from an actual cup instead of a travel mug on the go. (Bonus points if you’re using a cup-and-saucer instead of a mug.) Or dig out the good china and use it for dinner one night (yes, even if it’s pizza), accepting that you’ll need to hand-wash a few things instead of piling everything in the dishwasher. Slightly more involved – write a note to someone and post it in the mail instead of sending a text. This one may involve actually (gasp!) buying stamps! Don’t despair – you can get them at the grocery store and avoid a special trip to the post office – we’re starting small, remember! (NOTE – The barbarians are trying to ruin this. I just found this site and want to burn it to the ground and salt the earth.)

Second, try one new thing this week (20 minutes). Keep it small, but move just beyond your usual comfort zone. Go to the public library and leaf through a magazine that you’ve never read before. Or you might want to look up a recipe using a new ingredient. (It’s great soup weather right now and homemade soup is one of the easiest ways to have success in the kitchen in about 20 minutes of prep and an afternoon of simmering. Here are some recipes to get you started – and remember that it’ll always taste better on Day 2!) Or consider this one. Many folks are observing “Dry January” right now – why not try your hand at making a fancy mocktail? We’ve come a long way from only having Shirley Temples!

Third, seek out something beautiful this week (30 minutes +). Go to a local museum or art gallery on your lunch break and just wander. Or, if the weather allows, take that morning cup of coffee out to your porch or stoop and listen to the neighborhood birds. And this one is a bit of a cheat, since the music lasts longer than 30 minutes, but play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony (linked here for your convenience) and think about why that piece of music dictated the length of a compact disc, when that technology was being developed – here’s the tale!

One single hour, spread out over the next week.

You’re surely worth that.

Go live with gusto and savoir faire!





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