When it comes to taking care of yourself, don’t hesitate to dream big.
Sometimes we think that dreaming big is a big waste of time. That we’re too old or too ____ (fill in the blank).
Or that dreaming big is just another reminder of something else we can’t have or enjoy or take part in.
But dreaming big actually helps us realize what we really want. And once we do, we can go after it and actually enjoy it on a regular basis — even if the reality looks a little different than we originally dreamed.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Saad Shaheed
Here’s an exercise for exploring your big dreams and making them a reality.
Ask yourself the below questions, writing down your responses in your journal.
- If money weren’t an issue, what would my self-care routine look like?
- Where would I go?
- What would I do at home?
- What passions and pastimes would I pursue?
- If I had enough time — better yet, plenty of it — how would I spend my days?
- What would I do if I were a few years younger or older?
- If my weekends were completely free, how would I spend them?
- If I could retire right now, what would I do?
- What do I find myself daydreaming about? On a regular basis?
Review your responses. See if any recurring themes or patterns emerge. Write those down, too.
Then ask yourself these questions, and, again, jot down your answers.
- What do my dreams tell me about how I’d like to feel during my days?
- How would I like to feel when I wake up and when I’m about to fall asleep?
- How would I like to feel as I move about my day?
- What do my dreams tell me about what I’d like to see, smell and taste?
- If I could touch these dreams, what would they feel like?
- How are these dreams different from the way I’m living my life right now?
After you’re done, figure out how you can incorporate these dreams into your daily life.
Consider how you can take those feelings and needs and sensations and create habits or activities that satisfy them.
For instance, maybe you realize that you’d like to go on a Mediterranean cruise, because you crave the water and yearn for those feelings of rest and rejuvenation. Plus, you’d like to explore a place you’ve yet to explore.
Maybe you can’t go this year. Instead you satisfy those needs by going to the beach every weekend and doing something every day that gives you a similar sense of rest.
And you act on your adventurous spirit by exploring other places you haven’t explored closer to home.
Maybe you can’t go to the spa every week, so you create a spa-like atmosphere in your bedroom and bathroom that you can enjoy every day (and you go to the spa every few months).
Or maybe you’re able to pursue your big self-care dreams precisely as they are. Maybe you can travel to that tropical destination and take those guitar lessons and move to that quieter neighborhood.
Maybe you notice that you can make your self-care dreams into a daily reality, but you need to set some boundaries at your job and with the people in your life.
Either way, remember:
Those whopping dreams — the ones that don’t have any obstacles attached to them, the ones we’re afraid to even consider — can give us a clues into how we want to live our lives every day.
And we can use those clues to create a life that nourishes us, in various ways.
There are many ways to get our needs met. And our big dreams can give us a glimpse into those bigger longings and yearnings tugging at our hearts.