I love creating a comfortable therapeutic experience for my patients- my office has a cozy massage table, super-soft blankets, lavender eye pillows and soft nature music (or other soothing sounds). For many of my patients, this might be one of the few times in their week where they get an opportunity to rest their body free from distractions of their daily life. So, I like to create as soothing of an experience as possible.
As a health care practitioner, I am very good at supporting other people. My personal challenge has been to take care of myself in that same loving way. Like many people, it was easy for me to ignore my body’s signs of needing support and instead work through a headache or a cold with an attitude of business as usual.
Over the past few years, I have definitely gotten better at supporting myself.
Create your own comfort practice
Creating your own comfort is important whether you are coming down with a cold, have a little digestive trouble or are experiencing a flare-up of a chronic condition. It’s also supportive when you are just having a bad day.
Comfort measures may not cure or shift the course of the illness itself, but they certainly feel good to your spirit. They soothe the emotions.
There are three keys to create your own comfort practice
1. Take note of the things that bring you comfort. Start observing the things in your life that bring comfort. Is it a cup of herbal tea? Is it your favorite music? Is it wearing your cozy slippers? Or getting into a hot bath? Write a list of the things that bring you comfort to serve as a reminder for times in need.
2. Stock your home with tools that bring you comfort. I have my home stocked with herbal teas and healing herbs for a cold, flu, or headache. I have my favorite blend of essential oils and a jar of epsom salts to create a soothing hot bath for achy muscles. I have a yoga mat and a foam roller when I need to stretch. I have my favorite books of poetry by my bed when I need inspiration. I also have relaxing music and guided meditations to soothe me when I have trouble falling asleep.
These comfort tools can be very simple and they are unique to each person. What tools can you stock in your home to bring ease?
3. Practice comforting yourself in times of need. When you need it, refer to your list to be reminded of some options that may comfort you.
If you are dealing with pain, illness or stress, these self-care options can easily slip your mind. Recently, this happened to me when I had a cold and my colleague recommended the neti pot. I recommend the neti pot to my patients all the time and I have a neti pot at home. In this moment of illness, I forgot all about how helpful it can be.
I see this in my practice all the time too. I can’t tell you the number of times I make suggestions to my patients and they report that they already know about them.
In times of need, sometimes it’s just so helpful to have a gentle reminder from your health practitioners and loved ones. And they may even expand your options for self-care tools by offering new suggestions.
The last piece of this is to give yourself permission to ask for help. In difficult times, talking things through to someone who cares can be the biggest comfort of all.