#7 Dates with Yourself

Jan 24, 2015

I’m a teacher. I teach middle school all week long and typically, two weekends out of the month, I teach graduate courses to teachers on Friday nights, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday.  I LOVE it!  I’m often asked how I do it. How can I work all week long and then continue on throughout the weekends?

Truth be told, there’s no place I’d rather be than home. I'm sure you'd all agree. However, if I’m going to spend time away from home, spending it with like-minded people who are energized and excited about being the best they can be for themselves and their students is the place I want to be! It jazzes me up and gives me the energy I need to carry on from Monday through Friday. If I didn’t enjoy that time teaching, I wouldn't dishonor myself and compromise my time away from home and family.

My life is busy and taxed and stretched and pulled in all directions just like yours, so dates with myself are important and they are the answer to how I get through my busy days. Dates help to center me and remind me of who I am.   They remind me of my passions and all that I cherished when it was just me. A time I had long before my diagnosis and when days were simpler.

I  understand this is very difficult for so many men and women.  I’ve been a part of too many conversations where excuses are made and this small and precious bit of time needed to dedicate to ourselves is compromised, and often at the expense of others.  Compromising time for yourself is not honoring who you are, where you’ve been, what you’re going through, and who you need to be for yourself and the others you share your life with. Your body, mind, and spirit deserve so much more. You’re loved, and your work, and their needs, will be there when you return, I promise.  And you’ll have more clarity and energy to love them up and enjoy, yes enjoy, all that they need from you and you can receive those needs with a nice big, kind, and loving smile.

Dates with yourself are meant to be purposeful and intentional and there’s no room for shortcuts or half-assedness. Will you stay home or will you venture out? Where will you go? What will you do?  Why are you doing it? What will you wear?  It’s your date so you can do and wear what you want, but a date is a date! Would you not shower and wear sweats and Uggs out on a date with someone who jazzes your jazz? I doubt it. I’m encouraging you to psyche yourself up to spend some time alone with yourself. Shower, put your make-up on if you wear any and don’t forget your favorite perfume or cologne. The point is to look and feel your best. The secret is to fall in love with yourself first, so you can accept and honor the love and respect coming from all those around you. Like a magnet, when you love and honor yourself, love and honor find you.

Recommended Dates with Yourself: (Please help out and add your own ideas to share on the Shift for Wellness Facebook Group Page):

  • Go for a walk. The more secluded the better.  Is there a park nearby? Take pictures. Wherever you go, be sure to sit for a bit.  Be still and take your time. No one is with you to rush you along.
  • Visit a store or an attraction you’ve always wanted to go to. Stop waiting for someone else to be in the mood. You’re in the mood so go.
  • Window shop, and be sure to get a coffee and a muffin (or something healthier). Sit alone and savor it.
  • Go to the library and browse the shelves. Get a library card if you don’t have one.
  • Go to a museum. Check out an exhibit no one else is interested in seeing.  There are tons of museums in surrounding towns.  The city is spectacular but there’s no need to travel so far when so much is so close.  You can work up to that trip. Treasure your time alone.
  • Go to a play or a performance at a local college or high school. Maybe one day you’ll venture to the city! Be Fearless (my One Powerful Word for 2015)
  • Go for a drive and stop along the way to take pictures or sit somewhere beautiful and new.
  • Try out some new foods you’ve been shying away from.
  • Go out for lunch by yourself. Look your best and wear your favorite outfit, you’re on a date after all.
  • Take a bath and be sure to do it right. You’re not washing, you’re soaking…. Essential oils, candles, music, low lights, and be sure to lather up with some lovely lotions or oils when you’re through. Slip into only your best and most favorite outfit, pj’s or robe. I’ve gone so far as to sprinkle fresh rose petals in my bath and now it's become a habit.
  • Make something for someone. Use only the sharpest of pencils, the most colorful and juiciest of markers. There is no room in this life for a dried-up marker. Throw it away and buy yourself a beautiful new box.
  • Listen to your favorite CD while lying down reading the liner notes and singing along to the lyrics! Remember when all we had was time to do this?? I’ve even gone so far as to purchase a new record player so I can listen to the crackles and skips of my most treasured albums. Nothing beats a date with vinyl.
  • Mediate. Learn how by clicking on the  Meditations link on the website. There is nothing hard or tricky about it. Stop telling yourself you can’t sit still. Five minutes won’t kill you. In fact, it will heal you significantly. I promise you will fall in love with yourself and your life all over again.
  • Attend a yoga class and go for a cup of tea afterward or bring a cup in with you on these cold days. When I practice my yoga, my world could come crashing down around me, and it has, and I know I can stand strong and weather the storm.
  • Find that cupcake shop you’ve always wanted to go to and make a trip there. Bring something you’d like to read and sit at the counter and savor the deliciousness of that sugary treat! Maybe bring something along that you don’t want to do, which would make the doing of it all the more special and easier to complete!
  • Did you get to a movie yet? That’s what started this list after all (see previous post Don’t Limit Yourself).  I’m telling you, once you start, you will not be able to stop.  It’s a habit you won’t want to (or have to) break. Check out MoviePass.com for discount tickets.  AAA and AARP members, as well as students, get fabulous ticket prices, so be sure to take advantage of membership perks! Consider asking for Fandango gift cards for birthday and holiday gifts.

If you’re finding these ideas too much to bear, I invite you to give just one a try. Take a baby step and do something close to home, maybe even in your own home. There’s no need to spend money or travel far. I’m excited for you to get energized and excited about being the best you can be for yourself.  Get jazzed up to spend time alone and honor who you are and who you were before this time in your life.  There is so much more to do beyond what I’ve shared with you here.  I would love to hear what you did and where you plan to go! We ALL would. PLEASE share with us on Facebook @ ShiftForWellness or on Instagram @jenncaputo.

Enjoy, and believe in your heart that all will be well...and fun!