Ideas on Care (of all Forms)
by Laura Simone Bradley
Self is a new column created by healing arts practitioner and writer Laura Simone Bradley. Each chapter offers ideas to support and nourish your inner and outer worlds (emotionally, physically, spiritually). We begin with the act of care.
I often think about a pivotal moment in therapy, when I shared my (self-imposed, extensive) working hours. I deeply cared about work but I had little capacity for anything else. My self, my relationships, joy, living. Later, when I had a child, I started to really thinking about the role of care in my life. It’s been a journey — of unlearning, education, slowness and practice.
My care breakthroughs: 1) accepting that I can only truly care for others if I practice care for myself, daily 2) committing to seek out and appreciate acts of care, in all forms, in all categories of my life. The promoters of care and inspiration helps to keep it alive (like this), 3) making space for what really matters.
The more I’ve woven care into my life, the nicer it feels.
36 Ideas on Care (of all Forms)
1. Good care takes time and effort. Make space for it.
2. Accept that you can’t deeply care about everything you thought you could.
3. The ability to care is often about capacity, physical and emotional. Get to know yours.
4. Nice words related to care: appreciation, tending, cultivate, quality, cherish.
5. Consider — who or what do you enjoy caring for the most?
6. Make two lists: 1) things you deeply care about (a collection of small, heart-led things) and, 2) things you give yourself permission to care less about. Commit to tending to the first list for a period of time.
7. Planting seeds, watering them and being patient while they grow (literally and metaphorically), is care.
8. Listening is the greatest act of care. Not wanting to fix or know what you’re going to say next.
9. Don’t be afraid to show others what you care about.
10. Caring for ourselves (daily) allows us to truly care for others.
11. Create a care guide for you (a simple list of things that help). Keep it somewhere handy, for daily inspiration or support in tender moments.
12. Giving yourself permission (to rest, to stop, to let go, to trust etc) is care.
13. Some times when we (may) need extra care: January, December, anniversaries of lost loved ones, school holidays, family gatherings, illness, caring for others, (any form of) loss and grief, transitions, end of life.
14. Digital care: turning off your notifications and inviting regular period of digital pause.
15. Some principals of care: presence, ease, compassion, intention, softness, generosity, meaning, noticing.
16. Gather a small selection of objects that inspire care and connection.
17. Try: an hour/morning/afternoon/evening/day/weekend of care, for you. Notice how it feels.
18. Consider — what needs repairing in your life (relationships, belongings etc). Choose one thing and make the first step.
19. A fruit & vegetable shop is an excellent place for care inspiration (arrangements, wraps, seasonality, simplicity, nourishment of all the senses). People who do this work, care.
20. Some nice words and phrases that add a touch of care to everyday communication: restful, go well, warm wishes, with love.
21. Caring openers: “how are you, today?” feels so much easier than “how are you?”.
22. Take care in your communications. Avoid oversharing, gossip, unnecessary negativity.
23. “Be careful” comes from a place of fear, not care.
24. All parts of you are welcome is a lovely phrase to keep in mind (and say).
25. Some nice gestures to show you care:
Holding their hand.
“I saw this and it made me think of you”.
Sending something lovely and unexpected in the post.
Expressing gratitude, regularly.
Saying sorry (in the moment, or after).
A thoughtful, personal note.
A long hug.
26. Consider — times when you felt truly cared for? More of that.
27. Noticing the struggle and offering help (“what do you need, in this moment?”). And then remembering what helped.
28. Explore the creative possibilities of care. A hug with your child is lovely. A hug when your child climbs inside your jumper is better.
29. Remembering what someone you care about loves, is care.
30. Care for the host is always arriving with something thoughtful, and removing the bed sheets (always). Care when you’re hosting is care for yourself, before and after.
31. Committing to daily flossing is an excellent act of care.
32. Consider — what would you like to learn to care about, this season. The answer is in your heart, not your head.
33. Caring for our elders is important work, and can be deeply healing. Those connections and conversations matter.
34. Take time to honour the loved ones you have lost.
35. Consider — on your death bed, what are you happy to have cared about? And what did you wish you’d cared less about?
36. Tell the people in your life who you care about, what you love about them, often.
Some simple acts of care:
— Closing your eyes, taking 3 slow, deep breaths, one hand on your heart, other on your stomach.
— Doing something soft after you’ve done something hard.
— Resting when you feel tired.
— Helping the big feelings move through via movement, tears, laughter, words, stretches, breath.
— Allowing yourself to feel it all, and remembering it will pass.
Laura Simone Bradley is a healing practitioner, writer and end of life doula. She cares about things that support growth & healing, emotional themes of modern life, sensual nourishment and new ways of being & doing. @laurasimonebradley