Lessons from a Month of Being Nice to Me

by Rebecca A. Watson on May 2, 2014

in 30 day challenge, Germany, goals, habits, holidays, vlogs

Yesterday was Beltane, or Mayday, here in Deutschland. It’s celebrated by lots of partying and music and dancing around Maypoles, much like the pagans of old did.

There’s also a tradition of going into the woods on a hike, which of course I was all about. My friend Ashley had the day off (as do most people … grocery stores and the like are also closed) so we planned to meet in the morning and head out.

And even though it was raining toward the top of the mountain, there were still plenty of people out. I love Germans’ enthusiasm for the outdoors.

Roßkopfturm 35 m high

And apparently ours as well. Look at those smiles despite the lack of a view.

rosskopf

On top of the Roßkopfturm: “Why not climb the 35 meter tower?” asked the acrophobic girl.

This was the perfect way to both end my April 30 day challenge and start my May challenge. In April I chose to do something nice for myself every single day. It was part of my attempt to be my own best friend. Here’s a few things I figured out and wanted to pass along.

Learn the difference between wants versus needs. The last time I did this challenge I thought jogging and meditation were the nice things I could do for me, but it became obvious that those aren’t an optional part of my day. They are very real part of my mental, physical and spiritual health.

I think the last time I kind of failed at this challenge because I would just say, “Oh, I did yoga today. That can be the nice thing I did for myself.” But that’s like saying, “I ate vegetables today. That’s being kind to myself, right?” I mean, yes, it is important to treat your body and mind well, but I don’t consider it optional.

I need to exercise. Stillness during my day is a necessity. Things I want are stopping to smell the flowers, laying and reading a book in the sun and buying myself a flower to plant.

This time I recognized the difference between the two and it made April’s challenge a huge success.

Treats from the U.K. didn't hurt either. Thanks Hannah!

Treats from the U.K. didn’t hurt either. Thanks Hannah!

It doesn’t have to take long. For some reason I always dismissed ideas that involved leaving the house to do something nice for myself, as if I lived in some desolate barren wasteland and only after a 20-minute commute could I find peace and joy. (Maybe that comes from my brief stint of living in Bloomington?)

So on a particularly nice day, I thought about just sitting in my back yard and journaling, but decided it’d be nicer by the Dreisam. Initially I thought, oh no, I have work to do. There’s no time for that.

But I nudged myself a little further and hopped on my bike. Five minutes later I was there! I sat, listened, read and wrote for 20 minutes and was back at home a half hour later.

I’m suddenly less clumsy. I’d read that if you have a tendency to accidentally run into things or burn yourself or hit your head randomly that you were unconsciously hurting yourself. This, coincidentally, is how most of my life has been lived.

I’ve been branded a klutz since before I can really remember, and when I read that, I started trying to pay more attention to myself. It helped a bit, but while cleaning I’d still knock my head on the sink so hard it bring tears to my eyes.

During the month of April, I’ve been blessedly bruise-free. I’ve also noticed times where I’ve narrowly missed getting hurt. It seems as though I’m slowing down in myself, taking more time to evaluate the space and world around me. It’s fantastic.

crutches and cowboy boots

Because these are the only shoes I own that go with the crutches in my closet.

Start saying “yes.” I didn’t need to brainstorm a million ways to be nice to myself. My little inner-artist (or inner-child if you like) is always suggesting fun ways to play and enjoy life. I just spent so much time squashing her ideas that she learned to be quiet.

Lately she’s been more vocal and that’s how I came to realize that yes, it would be nice to add a few more minutes onto my walk just so I can smell the lilacs. And of course, why wouldn’t I take my shoes off by the river? And stopping in the middle of my hike to sit next to the stream is a great idea!

It doesn’t need to cost a bunch of cash. I thought that being nice to myself meant buying chocolate and flowers and treats every day. But honestly, I wasn’t really craving much of that.

Don’t get me wrong. I did make a few cakes for my birthday, but more of what I was longing for was experience: the leaves and sand beneath my feet, the sun heating up my bare legs while I read and time to learn something I was really interested in.

Yes, there were a few things this month that cost something, but I calculated it out to be about 40€ ($55). The majority of this was a day trip for my birthday, which lasted most of the day, and extra money for a dinner we hosted with friends. Both of these were such fantastic experiences, I would count them worth much more than the cash I spent.

Being nice to myself is a sustainable adventure, especially since most months of the year aren’t my birthday month 😉

In order to be accountable I listed everything I did for the month and made a (not-so) little video about it. In case you’re not into watching me babble for four-plus minutes about this, I wrote everything below.

  • Day One: Extra meditation
  • Day Two: Barefoot hike in the woods
  • Day Three: No guilt about not going to choir
  • Day Four: Coffee with Ashley
  • Day Five: Asked Sante to run errands with me
  • Day Six: Slept in and watched movies
  • Day Seven: Nap!
  • Day Eight: Attended Louise Edinton’s webinar
  • Day Nine: Astrology research
  • Day 10: Took bath and knit
  • Day 11: Coffee with Ashley
  • Day 12: Got up early alone
  • Day 13: Slept in, more astrology research
  • Day 14: Astrology research (seeing a pattern here?)
  • Day 15: Knit
  • Day 16: Cake with the guys, coffee with Ashley
  • Day 17: Coffee with Amin
  • Day 18: Watch movie and knit
  • Day 19: Made cake
  • Day 20: Day trip and hiked at Waldkirch Ruins
  • Day 21: Skyped Laura
  • Day 22: Saged home
  • Day 23: Watched LOTR trilogy
  • Day 24: Chilled out barefoot next to the Dreisam
  • Day 25: Visit the park with a blanket, journal and book
  • Day 26: Ashley and Alex over for dinner and games
  • Day 27: Knit sweater
  • Day 28: Did my makeup
  • Day 29: Went the long way after my run to smell the lilacs
  • Day 30: Bought Mystic Medusa Grandmaster Mars mp3

This is definitely one challenge I’m keeping as a habit. I may even continue to write down the nice thing I did every day, just to be accountable to myself.

A six-hour hike in the woods with a friend is definitely a nice thing to do for myself to start out May. And drinking tea/coffee, eating cinammon rolls and reading Tarot only added to the fun. It was Beltane after all. Gotta celebrate!

It also got me geared up for my May challenge, because there’s nothing like being in the wilderness and reading Tarot to get me aligned with the Universe’s energy. I’m adding prayer to my daily spiritual practice. I meditate almost daily but haven’t prayed really consistently for years. I started last night.

I’m also going to set a schedule to check email/social media twice a day and learn to use my time more effectively. I do this occasionally and it always works well for me. It’s going to be a good month.

Feeling inspired? Join the 30-Day Challenges group. Or read more about my different challenges. And let me know, how are you nice to yourself? What things really nourish and nurture your soul?

Photo Credits: My dear friend Ashley, Sam Kennedy

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Momma Bee May 2, 2014 at 5:44 pm

I really loved this~ what are you doing for May? I may want to join. Maybe I missed a post but I didnt see it! Your video was great. Glad you enjoyed your birthday month!

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Rebecca A. Watson May 4, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Hey MB! So glad you enjoyed my post. It was a lot of fun to write and make the video and do all the nice stuff for myself! For May I am adding prayer to my daily meditation practice. I’m also trying to only check my email and social media twice a day. You’re welcome to join with either or both!

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Lisa May 4, 2014 at 10:08 pm

I love this post. Found you through (Momma Bee, DDG, and so many others) I am working on the voice within that feels everything is still my fault. Just the bad stuff –however. The good stuff came from God or something. Anyhoo, I like what you’ve done here and it’s giving me ideas for some work I can do on me.

I’ve already ditched FB and Twitter (except once a week) and I am working on connecting to people on a more personal basis. So this is my May mission. To be reading bloggers I enjoy reading and posting support.

ps I like your blog. 🙂

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Rebecca A. Watson May 5, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Hey Lisa! Super happy to hear from you … thanks for stopping by and your comment! I know what you mean about only the bad things being your fault. Can’t take credit for the good stuff. Oh no! Ack! Honestly, there is so much good in us and I’m so glad you’re working on bringing yours out. Even the “bad” stuff has a purpose, right? Best of luck with your May mission! Stop by again 🙂

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Nicole Baker-Wagner May 5, 2014 at 2:16 am

Wow, so a friend shared this with me, and I can’t believe how well this puts into words what I have been doing lately to take care of myself. I have allowed myself so much more freedom to be silly, to try new things. Stress was eating me up, and now I feel much, much better. I hope this sparks a revolution!

Reply

Rebecca A. Watson May 5, 2014 at 8:50 pm

Hey Nicole 🙂 I really appreciate you dropping by and I’m stoked how much this post resonated with you. Thank you for your comment! I’m thrilled to hear that you’re finding ways to be kind to yourself. It’s so important and it sounds like it’s worked wonders with you. Viva la revolucion! 😉

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