You are probably thinking that giving a gift to yourself seems a little selfish, right?  Or maybe you are thinking that it is about time somebody show you some love and that somebody might as well be you!  Giving a present to yourself can actually be a very vital part of self-care.  When we balance the care we give ourselves with our other life duties and life stresses, we will feel more able to handle what life throws at us.  Plus, we'll be even more rejuvenated to help other that need us--which is very unselfish after all.

Let’s talk about self-care and self-love for a moment.  Self-care is something that we do deliberately.  It's when we take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.  Agnes Wainman, Ph.D. C.Psych. has defined self-care as "something that refuels us rather than takes from us."  Each of us knows our own heart and what we need to feel empowered and happy inside.  Look for little things that bring you joy and relax you.  They don't have to be big things.  Sometimes simple self-care that is only a few minutes a day can revive your soul in profound ways.  Schedule self-care into you daily routine if you need to.

Certain times of the year and during certain life events we may need more self-care and love than normal.  Be aware of those times.  For instance, many of us get stressed out and overwhelmed during the holidays.  Christmas can be a busy time for almost everyone, especially women.  If you know that you normally get stressed out during certain holidays or during regular times in your life, then plan ahead for a little extra love.  Put one thing that is just for you on your to-do list, or get up a little early to read your favorite book or meditate for a few minutes.  Plan exercise into your schedule or treat yourself to something special during these busy times.

Some stressful life events can be unexpected and we are not able to plan around them, such as moving, career changes, death, or family issues.  In these instances, look at the big picture.  What is most important in your life.  Remember to take care of the things that are of the utmost importance first.  If you need to get extra help or delegate some of your other duties, then give that gift to yourself.  Realize that it’s okay to let go of some of the petty and less significant matters that clutter our day to day lives.  Self-care is not one of those insignificant matters though.  Do not push it to the wayside.  If you take care of yourself in little ways each day during the hard life events of life, then you’ll be better able to take care of others.

Self-care does not need to be time consuming or something that takes over all of your life.  It doesn’t mean you go around being selfish and uncaring or other’s needs or your other responsibilities.  As you’ll see in the examples below, self-love can be very simple.  Often self-care involves helping other people or connecting with friends.  Sometimes, it means connecting with nature, enhancing your mind, or doing something to feel healthy.  Self-care should be positive.  Self-care can be small things, but they should be enjoyable, fulfilling things.  Take a little time to be deliberate about taking care of yourself.  Enjoy it and make it meaningful.

So take a few moments today to give yourself a present.  It doesn't necessarily have to be a physical gift that is all wrapped up with ribbons and bows.  In fact, sometimes the more abstract, non-physical gifts are the most rewarding.  There are many kinds of gifts to give yourself.  Take a look below at these 47 gifts to give yourself.  Pick a few that might be helpful to you this week.  Keep this list handy for when you are in need of a little self-care, and be sure to surprise yourself with a little gift once in a while.

  1. Walk instead of ride
  2. Give yourself a compliment
  3. Look at the stars
  4. Use a new word
  5. Forget an old grudge
  6. Take yourself to lunch
  7. Help a stranger
  8. Try a new food
  9. Read a poem
  10. Be thankful
  11. Read an uplifting book
  12. Jump in a pile of leaves
  13. Tell someone you love him/her
  14. Feed the ducks
  15. Take a risk
  16. Ignore your phone
  17. Hug a friend
  18. Take a nap
  19. Learn something new
  20. Walk in rain
  21. Meditate
  22. List 10 things you do well
  23. Waste a little time
  24. Stop and listen
  25. Walk in the rain
  26. Try to feel another person's hurt
  27. Turn off the TV and talk
  28. Pay a compliment
  29. Visit a lonely person
  30. Surprise a child
  31. Tell a joke
  32. Volunteer
  33. Acknowledge when you are wrong
  34. Be kind to a pet
  35. Have breakfast in bed
  36. Let someone help you
  37. Watch a sunset
  38. Do something hard
  39. Send a card to someone for no reason
  40. Drink hot cocoa
  41. Let someone love you
  42. Smell a flower
  43. Allow yourself to make a mistake
  44. Text someone you've been thinking about
  45. Pray
  46. Organize something
  47. Do something you've always wanted to do

Now that you’ve seen this big list of gifts you can give yourself, take a minute or two to think of some gifts you would like to give yourself.  Jot a few ideas down and try to do at least of those things for yourself today!

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