This morning, I reading my friend Rapha’s blog post on things that sooth her, and I found it so interesting that I wanted to give it a try, too. Her article is in French, so if you can read French, here’s the link.
On my way to discover myself, I found that self-awareness was an important part of self-care. You have to know yourself, to understand yourself, in order to do what’s best for you. In order to care for you. And honestly, it’s such a long and rough journey sometimes, to understand your trauma, the way you react, the way you feel… Writing has helped a lot with this.
But when Rapha wrote about this book, “Running on empty : Overcome your childhood emotional neglect” by Jonice Webb, I thought… “I have to read this book”, because this is one trauma that is hard to explore on your own. And so she offered this ‘tool’ or exercise taken from the book, to list 10 things that sooth you.
Of course, it’s the kind of things that somehow, you know already… but to write them down, it’s like a magic list you can go back to when life is harsher than usual. I wanted to have that kind of list ready, just like we keep band-aids just in case.
So let’s go ! Here’s my self-soothing list.
1. Eating or drinking something that I love. Especially if it’s warm tea and/or something sweet. Over the years, I’ve learned to appreciate food and so when I feel down, it can help me relax, and feel a little bit happier. It can be a mug of my favorite infusion, or just toasts with strawberry jam.
2. Writing. When I hurt, it’s important to me to write it down. Some scream into the void, well, I write. I guess I’ve never been given the space to actually scream, so. Sometimes I try to avoid it all, and it never works. Only writing can help me to let everything out in the open, and as I write, I also understand better where the emotions I feel come from, and why I feel the way I feel.
3. Reading. It has always been my sweet escape whenever I couldn’t stand life and reality. At my worst, I will read fanfictions obsessively. Fanfictions provide me with the safety of already knowing the universe, the characters, the bonds… and I try to only read fics with a happy ending. Life is already hard as it is, I don’t need to have my heart broken by a fanfiction, haha.
4. Singing and/or listening to music. Listening to music comes as natural as breathing whether I’m happy or sad, so I almost forgot to put it in this list, haha. But it does bring me a lot of comfort when I need to, and I will forever be thankful for the songs that helped me along the years. For singing… I think this is linked to the fact that I was never given the space to scream or at least express myself when I was in pain. Maybe it was the only acceptable voice that was allowed as a child. I find great comfort in singing, even though I don’t do it as often as I used when I was living in South Korea (they have lots of karaokes, it was heaven to me haha). It’s a little bit as if I was singing a lullaby to my heart, praying that it will heal.
5. Nature. Unfortunately, I currently don’t live in an area where I can just go for a walk in a forest or something like that. But I know that spending time by the sea, in the woods, or anywhere among nature, is very soothing to me. It inspires me as a writer, but it also helps me relax, and breathe. I used to live by the sea in South Korea, and I hope that someday I will be able to do that again – live very close to nature.
6. Talking to a friend. As an introvert, I will tend to stay on my own when I’m down. But at some point, I will have the need to talk to a friend, a close friend. It can be messages on Twitter, it can be a call, or we can meet if we can (not as much an option as it used to be before the pandemic, though)… Let’s be honest, I don’t like groups, but I love one-to-one discussions. Not everyday, but from time to time, it puts me in such a good mood.
7. Traveling. I know, it’s not something I can do now, or something that can be easily done (it had to be prepared in advance and all). But it has to be on this list. When I travel to a new place, I feel like a child. Like the child I was never allowed to be. I love to discover new things and see new places, and I’m sure there are sparks in my eyes then. When I travel to a place I already know, it’s like going home, and I’m delighted to go back to the places I loved the most and feel the atmosphere there once again. Traveling is a spiritual thing to me, and something that I craved for a long time as a teenager. The first time I landed in Japan, I cried, because I was so happy to be there. Humans used to be nomad, and I think I still have part of that in my veins.
8. Watching a tv series or a movie. Watching either something that I’ve already watched or something that I’m 100% sure I’m going to like, helps me relax. It’s a bit like reading, but for when I’m exhausted, mentally and physically. If I put on a Ghibli movie, it means I need some extra comfort and softness in my life.
9. Journaling. I can’t believe it’s been more than a year since I started my first bullet journal, and… I managed to stick to it ! I never skipped a day, it’s a big accomplishment to me haha. I don’t journal every day actually, but I have several trackers that help me to at least write/draw/color something everyday. Also, when I design new pages, I’m very focused on it, and it helps me to let go of the rest. It’s also fun to experiment and it helped me letting go of my fear of failure.
10. Manual work. Cooking, cleaning, tidying… I don’t enjoy doing it everyday of course, but when I feel down, moving my body and doing something ‘productive’, that I can clearly see and assess, helps me to feel more worthy somehow. It also feels great to slip into fresh clean sheets, or have a little snack at 4pm with the cake you’ve baked. All my work is done on a computer, so sometimes it just feels amazing to step away and so something ‘real’. It also tires the body, which might help me to sleep better, and it can release tensions in the shoulders for example.
So, here’s my top 10. What’s yours ?
Have a lovely day, and see you next week !
2 thoughts on “Jonice Webb’s Self-Soothing List”
It’s been a long time since I connected here so I didn’t see your post!! I’m glad you took time to share your self-soothing list, it was really interesting to read about you ❤ (and yes, that book is a must-read!)
I like how some activities are universal, like nature and get into art to vent 🙂 The way you describe singing as the only "acceptable" voice to express yourself moved me…
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Hehe no worried. I really enjoyed reading yours, it inspired me a lot. I thought it was nice, to sit and think about what was soothing to me, so I can come back to this list when I need it. I know, right, it’s funny to see how there are a few things everyone like to do to feel better hehe. Thank you for reading ♥️♥️
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