Self-care is an essential precursor to well-being. Yet in order to practice self-care that truly fills up your well, you first need to know what it is that you actually love. I know that a few years back I would have been completely lost if someone had asked me – “So what is it you like to do for fun?”
Doing what we love helps us feel alive inside. Filling our lives up with things that fill-us-up seems so simple, yet it has a big impact on how happy we feel.
This post is for those of you have no idea what you love. Perhaps you’ve never given it any thought? Or perhaps the idea of just stopping and rattling off a list of things you love to do leaves you feeling absolutely clueless.
I hear ya. Keep reading.
When you’re ready, grab a notebook and use these 4 question prompts to help you compile a list of things you love. It is this “Things I Love List” that forms the cornerstone of my self-care practice.
I’d encourage you to put your list somewhere accessible and to keep adding to it as you remember or discover new things you love. If you don’t have the time right now but are committed to having more joy in your life, save this post somewhere safe and come back to when you can give it your full attention.
Here are 4 questions you can ask yourself to help tap into the things that bring you alive and make you feel warm in your heart:
1. Brain Dump – List all the things that immediately come to your mind that you love.
Give yourself 5-10 minutes and scribble out a messy list of all the things that come to mind when you ask: What do I love?
Don’t censor yourself. Write everything and anything that comes to mind.
Often a big part of the problem is that we don’t give ourselves the time and space we need to identify the things we enjoy. We never really reflect on what it is we need and what fills us up.
Some of the things I love: scented candles, hot showers, the beach, peppermint tea, beautiful flowers, the smell of lavender oil, reading self-help books, snuggling with my corgi, the smell of freshly cut grass, ice-cream, painting my nails, watching home remodeling shows…you get the gist!
The list doesn’t need to have any form or sense about it. As you can see, mine is a mix of all sorts of activities and experiences. If you want to organize it later you absolutely can. You may choose to filter it into lists for “quick fixes”, “daily activities” and “big things” for example.
The main aim of this question is to give yourself the uninterrupted space to reflect and really think through what you enjoy.
2. Think back to Your Childhood – What did you do in your spare time?
Think back to your childhood and teen years and ask yourself, What did I do for fun? What were the activities that you were interested in when there was no pressure from the outside world? What were the games that you most loved to play?
For me, I loved to write. As a teenager, I wrote so many poems. I still have them in beautifully put together books. When I was younger than that, I can also remember adoring music. I would play my Dirty Dancing soundtrack over and over and sing with reckless abandon (who doesn’t love Hungry Eyes!).
Perhaps you liked to color, or bake, or read books, or run around outside. There are no restrictions to what may come up for you. Write from your heart.
The main aim of this question is to help you remember the things that used to bring you joy, that perhaps you’ve forgotten to make space for in your life as you’ve grown.
3. What are you Curious about? What are some of the things you’re interested in learning more about?
Grab your notepad and ask yourself – What am I curious about? What would I like to know more about, or perhaps try doing?
In Western culture, we don’t put enough value on the things that simply just interest us a little bit. Instead, we have come to overvalue things that are “productive” or move us towards a specific goal. We don’t allow ourselves the time or space to explore that which we might find interesting.
Yet just like children, adults need to “play”. To feel truly happy in our hearts, from time-to-time we need to do things just because we want to – not because we have anything to gain from it. Brene Brown and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross (two famous people-researchers) both talk about this deep need within us.
A list might include: tramping and bush walking, the history of Asia, cooking or cooking classes, competitive card games, yoga, international travel.
The main aim of this question is to help you tap into the things that you might not yet know you love. If you follow your inbuilt sense of curiosity you may just find a whole new bunch of things that are worth trying that you may truly love.
4. What would your Dream Day look like?
Ask yourself: If I was away from all of the pressures of real world stuff, and money and time were no object, what would my dream day look like?
You can go into as much detail as you like, but I’d encourage you to really immerse yourself in what this could look like for you.
Mine would include a few things that I’ve already mentioned above. Specifically, I would love to be on the beach under a giant umbrella in a warm climate reading an excellent self-help book. I’d also want to eat at an amazing restaurant and take a nap. There would be a lot more detail in my dream day, but those would be some of the specifics. To summarize some of those points into things I love: self-help books, traveling to warm climates, the beach, dinning in beautiful restaurants, and napping.
The main aim of this question is to help you picture doing the things you love, rather than being forced just to list them. It is a more practical way to envision it that may work better for some people, or help you identify some more things that haven’t yet come up in your lists.
Once you’ve asked yourself these 4 questions, and given each of them the time and thought they deserve, I would encourage you to come back and reflect on your list.
Do your best to look for opportunities to include these things in your life, because you will be happier for it. To read more about how to do just that, you can read another post of mine: How to Find the Time to Take Care of Yourself.
We all deserve to have a life thoroughly sprinkled with things we really deep down enjoy. These are the types of things that revive and restore us, and give us the energy to keep going and giving our best to the world.
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Hi. I’m Kate Snowise. I’m a Life Coach who helps people get clear on what they want, need and crave, and then helps them take the steps to move towards that.
I believe life is about more than surviving and being good enough. Each of us truly has the ability to thrive and live a beautiful, aligned life where we remember and connect with our authentic selves. I have an MSc in Psychology (the positive kind that concentrates on what is right with you). To read more about my signature coaching program The Thriving Life Project click here.