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The Church no longer has a corner on indulgences. What do you want and enjoy?
A bubble bath, massage, or aromatherapy?
Concert tickets, or a drum kit?
“Permission” to jump on the cheap weekend flight to London, or just permission to get lost on a short road trip?
I’m not suggesting you bust the bank with an indulgence, nor go overboard with luxury or gluttony, but find what is meaningful to you – the thing that would signal to yourself that you care for yourself – and do it.
Look in the mirror and say “I like you.” This may be harder than you think. (But if it’s easy for you, go you!)
Once you do that comfortably every day for a week, look yourself in the mirror and say “I love you.”
This is an exercise even I’ve found difficult. I can actually be silly when looking in the mirror, giving myself a wink or saying “Hey there, good lookin’,” but when it comes to a meaningful sentence, I turn bashful.
When I’m looking myself in the eye, I know I have to mean the words in order to say them. And these words, they’re worth meaning.
Leave yourself love notes.
Do this on your:
- bathroom mirror
- front door
- over the kitchen sink
- by your bed
- at your desk
- as you screensaver
- in your task list
- on windows
- in your car
A few specific examples:
Before leaving for vacation, write a note that says “You look fabulous and well-rested! Glad to have you back!” Create a screensaver with this message, write it on a sticky note and leave it in a drawer, or be bold and put it right on your computer monitor.
If you buy yourself a decadent/healthy treat the next time you’re at the grocery store, write this note on it: “I know these are your favorite – bought them just for you!” Put this note on the yummies and put them in the fridge or freezer.
Even though you know you put these notes there, you’ll still get a kick out of them when you see them. Plus, BONUS: you’re sending covert messages to yourself that you are valued, cherished and loved!
A dating sabbatical is a period of time in which you’re choosing to not date anyone. It’s a date break, with the added benefit of focusing on yourself.
1. Pick a start date.
2. Determine the period of time.
3. Shut down the online dating profiles. Come up with ways to turn down dates during the sabbatical. Bonus points if you’re brave enough to tell people you’re on a dating sabbatical.
4. Brainstorm the big things you want to do in lieu of dating. Maybe you want to hang out with friends and family more, or focus on your health, or finish your great novel.
5. Brainstorm the little things you’ll need to have on hand to replace dating. (This one’s my favorite!) Come up with a list of things you love to do, or have never done before! This is your go-to list when Friday night is feeling boring or Saturday night is feeling sad.
6. ENJOY! Enjoy yourself, your time, your freedom – all of it!
And that’s it, the quick guide to taking a dating sabbatical.
Want more? Check out my Dating Sabbatical page here.
A date with a book is sometimes the best adventure/romance/escape/travel/learning money can buy. Joining a book group is like getting the ear of a best friend who won’t tire of all the details of the date.
So, look to your local newspaper, meetup, bookshop or library for a book group. Or, consider gathering your far-flung friends once every two months to discuss.
A book group can, of course, be a group of people all reading and discussing the same book. But, you can get adventurous too. Maybe this is a book meetup where everyone brings their favorite book, discusses it, you let the wine flow, and, at the end, it becomes a book swap.
I recently learned about St. Catherine’s Day and a particular way of celebrating in France. I would encourage you to flip the tradition and have a little fun with it.
St. Catherine was a princess and scholar in the early 4th century. She became a Christian and denounced the pagan emperor Maxentius. He then burned 50 of her fellow converts to death. She refused redemption through a royal marriage and, once in prison, proceeded to convert the emperor’s wife and 200 of his soldiers.
A powerful woman!
In France, St. Catherine’s Day…well, let me just include this fun excerpt from Wikipedia:
On St. Catherine’s Day, it is customary for unmarried women to pray for husbands, and to honour women who’ve reached 25 years of age but haven’t married—called “Catherinettes” in France. Catherinettes send postcards to each other, and friends of the Catherinettes make hats for them—traditionally using the colours yellow (faith) and green (wisdom), often outrageous—and crown them for the day. Pilgrimage is made to St. Catherine’s statue, and she is asked to intercede in finding husbands for the unmarried lest they “don St. Catherine’s bonnet” and become spinsters. The Catherinettes are supposed to wear the hat all day long, and they are usually feted with a meal among friends. Because of this hat-wearing custom, French milliners have big parades to show off their wares on this day.
The French say that before a girl reaches 25, she prays: “Lord, give me a well-situated husband. Let him be gentle, rich, generous, and pleasant!” After 25, she prays: “Lord, one who’s bearable, or who can at least pass as bearable in the world!” And when she’s pushing 30: “Send whatever you want, Lord; I’ll take it!”
You can see we’re going to have fun with this, right?
St. Catherine’s Day is traditionally November 25th, which either makes it a convenient excuse to have another holiday party or a reason to pick your own date.
Build your own St. Catherine’s Day. Gather your friends, build some crazy hats – or go hat shopping! – tell crazy dating stories, and celebrate your single lives.
Write letters to your single friends and tell them how fabulous they are. Reach out to the younger women in your life – daughters, nieces, cousins, etc. – and share this fun French tradition (with a twist).
Happy St. Catherine’s Day!
Take care of the everyday things: replace ill-fitting underwear, iron or lint brush clothes as needed, wash the dishes (my personal weakness!), change your Brita filter, and water the plants.
These tiny acts send signals to yourself that you are important and cared for.
Why do we save brunch for Sunday?
I can’t come up with a good reason, so give this a try: call in to work, use a personal day, and take yourself to brunch on a weekday.
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I grew up with dogs, so I know how enriching it can be to love an animal. (Unfortunately, I’m allergic to cats so I never got to love them too much.)
Just check out this Google search on the benefits of volunteering with animals.
Besides the obvious facts that you’re helping out the critters, the organization you’re working with, and your whole community – those would be reasons enough! – other benefits include:
- “Helper’s High,” a feeling of euphoria and energy from volunteering
- An increase in oxytocin, which buffers stress and improves feelings of love and empathy
- Improved resilience through times of crisis
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Take out a sheet of paper, or start a list on your phone, of all of the little adventures you can possibly think of within a one hour drive from home. The “adventures” don’t have to be expensive or extravagant, but they do have to be a little out of the ordinary for your normal daily or weekly life.
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