I read a few articles about self soothing recently and was shocked to find that I do almost everything on the various lists of ideas. Thinking about it, I am not surprised to find I am a full on-daily-over the top self soother.
Self soothing is about coping, healing, and thriving.
As someone with fibromyalgia, I am always looking for ways to feel better. For instance, I ice something every day. One of these (feet, hands, shoulders, neck and back) get the cold pack treatment to reduce swelling. It is a necessary thing. But, beyond physical ailments, what else needs soothing? What about our hearts, minds, and souls? They need attention too to keep our mental health trending in a positive direction.
So, self soothing involves elements of our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well being.
Initially, self soothing takes some time and energy to incorporate into your life. With that in mind, we want to benefit from changes. To feel revived and refreshed on a regular basis, we need great habits.
Strategies that work for me:
First, our goal is that everything inside our home is curated to produce good feelings. What we own sooths and give comfort, or energizes and excites us, (or we get rid of it).
I have decorated my home in soft colors for a calming effect.
Lots of white and soft neutrals make my space calm. Blue, some green like I see outside, and easy to clean furniture help make my home less chaotic. In fact, we painted every room before moving in a soft light-gray to feel more open and airy.
As a habit, I don’t turn on the TV unless I have a specific reason. Quiet is a God send and self soothing to frayed edges.
If I do watch TV, it is going to make me feel great or I turn it off. Our hectic lives don’t need any additional stress.
I have soft blankets and throws folded near our chairs and couches for warmth and comfort. Any fabric needs to be comfortable and cozy or clean and soft.
Fabric is soft and not scratchy. Whether I wear it or drape it, it will feel good.
Self soothing also involves food and drink.
All year round, I drink hot tea and hot coffee in beautiful mugs, and ice cold water out of a beautiful glass. If I use something on a regular basis, I want it to feel good when I do.
I don’t enjoy most cooking, so I opt for one pot, one casserole, or an all day simmer. Steaming soup, baking bread, or roasting chicken fill the house with good smells and is a balm for my soul on a hard day.
Aroma is a self soothing issue too.
Things should smell clean and fresh. As an example, adding lemon to tea or rosemary to soup sends out happy producing smells. What smells do you associate with happiness or good memories? Can you reproduce those in your life?
By the same token, what other sensory things do you associate with happiness? Ask yourself what tastes, what sounds, what feelings in your life were joyful? Make those apart of your life.
Self soothing includes some basic self care. We cope better, heal faster, and thrive when we practice self care.
First, I take a few minutes in the morning to clean myself up. Make my hair look nice, wash my face, brush my teeth, and practice self care.
Out of respect for myself and my spouse, I get my hair cut regularly, and keep my closet fresh. My clothes are comfortable and not binding. I joke that I don’t wear anything that doesn’t feel like pajamas. Lately, I buy less, but buy much better.
Secondly, I keep my environment tidy and fresh.
By doing simple cleaning on a daily basis, I leave stress out of my weekly routine. I keep the floor and surfaces clear, dishes off the counters, a load of laundry every day or so, and run the vacuum as needed. Bathrooms get a weekly clean. As a rule, we keep home maintenance simple and reduce stress.
Self sooth to cope better, to heal faster, and to thrive.
Barefoot and writing,