A while back I saw someone say on Twitter they had a list of things that made them feel better and they tried to make sure they did a few of them each day. It pinged for me, because much like wearing an activity tracker helped me notice I slept worse on days I moved less, leading to a potentially vicious cycle, data helps.
So, I started thinking about it. And for a while I kept a list. But the other value, because, yeah I hear you it can start to sound like work, is just figuring out things.
For me, here are some of the things that help: hanging with my cat, walking, reading, knitting, eating food I made in my kitchen, writing, listening to music, going outside, meeting up with friends.
I have moments where I check myself because I know I'm being irritated by something going on in the world or the day job or with a friend and so I stop and check this mental list. Am I hungry? Am I too hot or too cold? (This seems very silly but when you are somewhere you don't have control of the big thermostat, sometimes realizing that you have been sitting with your shoulders at your ears because you are too cold and should go grab a coat or sweater is not obvious until you stop to think about it.)
Have I done a thing that makes me happy today? If not, where can I fit one in?
And would getting up and taking a quick walk, even if it's to refill my tea give me the three minutes I need to make better response choices?
It's easy to consider self-care a goofy hashtag but it's also increasingly easy to have whole days where we forget to do tiny things that make us feel better because they don't make things cleaner, they don't pay bills, they don't seem necessary. So whatever helps to remind you that spending some time doing things that are awesome for you really is just as valuable as getting more dishes done.