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FreeTreat Activity 1: Create Self-Care Space

By Michelle May, M.D.

(This post is the first FreeTreat activity in our stay-at-home-retreat e-book. It is based on Chapter 3 of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat)

One advantage of a retreat-at-home is that you don’t have to leave home. That’s also one of the greatest disadvantages. At home, it’s easy to allow distractions, disruptions, busyness, and even doubt get in the way of creating the necessary time and space for your retreat.

I am worth itMake Yourself a Priority

In order to commit to your retreat, you’ll need to first establish the mindset of “It’s worth it!” If you’re not already convinced of the value of doing a retreat, make a list of the potential benefits. Perhaps more important, you have to decide “I’m worth it!” Only then will you give yourself permission to invest the time and energy when other priorities compete for your attention.

Create Time

Schedule a time in your calendar or planner for a self-care date with yourself. An hour each day would be perfect. Protect the time carefully. Remind yourself that if you had gone away for your retreat, you’d have all day-so an hour isn’t asking too much!

Create Space

The purpose of this activity is to create a space for yourself that nourishes calmness, creativity, and connection.

  • First walk slowly around your home and yard and see it with “beginner’s mind,” as though you’ve never been in this space before. Beginner’s mind allows you to see new possibilities. As you notice judgments arise, acknowledge them then move on.Woman meditating on the beach
  • Notice areas in your home that could be repurposed to create your self-care space. Stay open as you identify as many spaces as possible without ruling anything out. These might include rooms, entry ways, corners, patios, gardens, and workshops.
  • Keep your eyes out for comfy chairs, floor pillows, small tables and other surfaces, lighting, attractive containers and other items thatmight help you create a pleasant, functional space.
  • Take a break to let your subconscious mind work out the details-simply do something else for a while-take a walk, meditate, or even sleep on it.
  • Now choose your retreat space and a comfy place to sit. Add items that are calming, pleasing, and inspiring. Ideas: pictures of happy moments in your life, flowers or a plant, candles, vacation souvenirs, or anything that makes you go “ahhhh.”
  • Ideally, this space is a food-free zone that you can escape to whenever you feel like eating but you aren’t hungry (water, tea, or coffee are fine).
  • You can relax, journal, read, meditate, write, or anything your heart desires in this space.
  • Create a Self-Care Kit to keep your “redirection activities” ready and handy. (See FreeTreat e-bookfor details.)

Please post a comment to tell us about the space you created.

Next post: FreeTreat Activity 2: Love What You Do

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About the author

Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yo-yo dieter and the founder of the Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs and Training. She is the award-winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: A Mindful Eating Program to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle , winner of seven publishing awards. She is also the author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat for Binge Eating, and Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating for Bariatric Surgery. Michelle shares her compelling message and constructive keynotes with audiences around the country, offers workplace wellness programs, and has trained and licensed hundreds of health professionals to facilitate Am I Hungry?® Mindful Eating Programs worldwide. She has been featured on Dr. Oz, the Discovery Health Channel, and Oprah Radio, and quoted in Diabetic Living, Fitness, Health, Huffington Post, Parents, Self, USA Weekend, US News & World Report, WebMD and many others. Her personal success story was published in Chicken Soup for the Dieter's Soul. Michelle cherishes her relationships with her husband, Owen and grown children, Tyler and Elyse. She regularly enjoys practicing yoga and hiking near her home in Phoenix, Arizona. She and Owen, a professional chef, share a passion for gourmet and healthful cooking, wine tasting, photography, and traveling.

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