Every year around this time I commit to giving something up in the spirit of Lent. I am not particularly religious, but I like the idea of ritual and of committing to something bigger than myself.  (For those who don’t know, Lent is the 40-day period prior to Easter where Christians give something up as a means of reflecting on and honoring Jesus.)

This year I struggled with what to give up.  Should it be cheese?  Sugar?  Potatoes? It all felt frivolous and not at all meaningful—and one more thing to beat myself up about.  Then, as I was out with some friends on the first day, I decided that I was going to be dedicated to taking care of myself, whatever that meant.

I started by posting a picture on Instagram of the pomegranate margarita I’d ordered with the hashtag #40daysofselfcare.  Because sometimes self care means having a cocktail with your friends.

Pomegranate Margarita

An old friend saw my picture and sent it to a radio station he works with in Charlotte, North Carolina.  They loved the idea so much that they wanted to talk to me on air about the rationale behind my 40 days of self care.  I hesitated on the inside, but said yes anyway, because self care sometimes means pushing yourself outside of the comfort zone.  The DJs were fun, kind and genuinely interested in what I had to say.  It was five minutes of fun, and I’m glad I did what I wouldn’t normally do.

Self care breaks through the boundaries you’ve set for yourself.

Day 2: I came home exhausted. PJs on and a snuggle with my pillows while I watched Scandal was all my tired self needed to feel cared for.  (By the way – are you guys watching Scandal?  If not, you must jump on the gladiator bus immediately!)

Day 3: I’m lucky enough to live in New York City, and every day I walk by some of the most majestic sites that people travel halfway across the globe to see.  Sometimes I don’t see them because I’m so focused on my thoughts.  And then I turn a corner and something snaps me out of my head and commands my attention.

Grand Central Terminal in all her full glory.  Self care is stopping and taking a moment to just look at the beauty around the corner.

GCT

Day 4: Taking photographs is something I’ve loved for as long as I can remember, but I rarely give myself the opportunity to spend the day snapping away.  I spent the early afternoon in the New York Public Library, which is not only a peaceful oasis in the middle of midtown Manhattan madness, but is stunningly grand in its architecture.

I found myself mesmerized by this ceiling in one of the rooms, full of beautiful chandeliers, bronze moldings and breathtaking murals.

NYPL Ceiling

As I sat and looked up, I remembered how important it is to fill yourself up with beauty and take in what’s around you.  I can’t wait to go back.

On Day 5, I rested.  And that was enough.

Join me in doing one nice thing for yourself every day.  Share below what you do to care for yourselves!

xo, with goodness and grace.

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