107 Ideas for Intentional Living

107 Ideas for Intentional Living Love Yourself

What if you decided today to live intentionally? 

Though the month is long passed, February tends to be that time of year when our thoughts inevitably turn toward love, romance and relationships—and sometimes earlier since most stores start putting out Valentine’s Day themed merchandise before the Christmas stuff is even off the shelves.

There’s nothing wrong with getting and giving cards, gifts and flowers, of course. But using the manufactured images and ideas of love that we’re bombarded with to measure our own relationships can lead to some pretty disappointing moments and limit how we view life itself. What if love is not a feeling so much as it is a way of being? What if romance is not a sentiment so much as it is a way of living? What if the relationship that nourishes all other relationships in our lives goes unnoticed and neglected because we don’t even think of it as a relationship at all…the lifelong relationship we have with ourselves?

We spend a great deal of our lives tending to relationships. Our hearts can hold many bonds that give our lives meaning, in our roles as wives, girlfriends, mothers, daughters, granddaughters, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, friends, and the list goes on. Unless we’re intentional about making time for ourselves, there usually isn’t much left over to call our own. Sometimes feeling guilty or selfish for wanting time to ourselves makes taking “me time” really difficult. But remember the wise words of flight attendants everywhere, you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of anyone else. The good news is that even just an hour a week can make a big difference and there are lots of ways to take care of yourself that don’t cost much, if any, money. If childcare is an issue, consider coordinating with other moms, not only to share childcare with but to learn from each other as well. Chances are there are other ladies in your area that are eager to connect and have lots of experience and knowledge to share. Taking time for yourself doesn’t mean you have to do it by yourself.

If it’s been awhile since you devoted time to yourself or if you’re just not sure where to start, try to remember a time when you were so immersed in what you were doing that time just seemed to stand still. Those are the kinds of activities that can create a sense of well-being.

107 possibilities follow. You may want to jot down any ideas that appeal to you, something you already do or something new you think might be worth a try. Think long-term and don’t exclude something based on today’s weather or mood.

  1. Take a nap
  2. Go for a quiet walk or hike
  3. Read a good book
  4. Exercise
  5. Listen to your favorite music (sing along for maximum impact!)
  6. Talk with a friend
  7. Give or get a hug
  8. Take a long warm bath or shower
  9. Meditate or pray
  10. Spend time with a pet
  11. Laugh
  12. Get some new plants for your home (thrift shops and neighbors who are PCSing are good sources)
  13. Eat a healthy snack
  14. Go to a museum or art gallery
  15. Cry
  16. Go for a bike ride
  17. Go to a concert (colleges and universities can be great places to go for free events)
  18. Journal about your thoughts and feelings
  19. Visit a park
  20. Dance
  21. Sleep in
  22. Take time to do nothing
  23. Wake up early
  24. Breathe in to relieve any tension in your body and let it go
  25. Go to bed early
  26. Go for a scenic drive
  27. Daydream
  28. Try something new
  29. Draw or paint
  30. Sew something
  31. Buy yourself your favorite flowers
  32. List your positive attributes
  33. Be mindful of your breath for 5 minutes
  34. Visualize your favorite place in nature
  35. Attend a support group
  36. Write a poem or other creative piece
  37. Go to a movie
  38. List your successes/accomplishments
  39. Stretch out the stress from your muscles
  40. Prepare a delicious meal using ingredients from a local farmers market
  41. Give thanks for the blessings in your life
  42. Browse a thrift shop for bargains
  43. Forgive someone, including yourself
  44. Trust yourself
  45. Clean out a closet
  46. Make a list of compliments others have given you
  47. Read a positive book, article or blog
  48. Learn to crochet or knit
  49. Ask for help
  50. Watch an inspiring TED talk (www.ted.com)
  51. List your goals for the next 5 years
  52. Try a new herbal tea or coffee flavor
  53. Reflect on some enjoyable experiences
  54. Find something positive about your day
  55. Eat lunch at your favorite restaurant
  56. Stand or sit in a confident posture
  57. Make a bucket list
  58. Greet people with a smile
  59. Send a card or letter to someone
  60. Call someone you’ve been thinking about
  61. Drink plenty of water every day
  62. Keep a gratitude journal
  63. Notice small things that make you smile
  64. Practice deep breathing every day
  65. Plant some flowers
  66. Play a musical instrument
  67. Get a manicure or pedicure
  68. Sit in the sun
  69. Play a sport or game you enjoy
  70. Believe in your decisions
  71. Create and write your own life mission statement
  72. Create affirmations and read them
  73. Write a story about your life
  74. Make a collage with words and images that inspire you
  75. Put a heating pad on your back
  76. Go swimming
  77. Play with children
  78. Volunteer with a cause you believe in
  79. Give encouragement to others
  80. Make a budget
  81. Try a new recipe
  82. Organize a party
  83. Go outside and watch the clouds
  84. Treat yourself to a massage
  85. Get out of the house for a while
  86. Take photos of nature
  87. Do a puzzle with a lot of pieces
  88. Change your hairstyle/color
  89. Go to a library
  90. Go to church, synagogue, temple or place of worship
  91. Write a song
  92. Write a letter to God
  93. Learn a new language
  94. Join a group at your place of worship
  95. Paint your nails
  96. Make a scrapbook
  97. Audition with a local theater group
  98. Write a letter to someone who has made your life better and tell them why
  99. Blow bubbles
  100. Fly a colorful kite
  101. Search for a group or event that interests you on meetup.com
  102. Go horseback riding or take riding lessons
  103. Say “no” when you mean it
  104. Have a picnic
  105. Listen to a podcast that interests you
  106. Watch a documentary
  107. What would you add to this list? Share with us in the comments below.

So much about military life is completely unpredictable and it can seem impossible to plan anything beyond the next meal. But I encourage you to create a plan to devote time for yourself regularly. Whether it’s an hour a day or an hour a week, schedule the time and honor it just as you would any other appointment. You are so worth it!


About Cynthia Blake

Having lived the life of military spouse for 21 years, Cynthia Blake is passionate about helping military spouses navigate the unique challenges of military life, as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and National Certified Counselor (NCC) in private practice, serving the El Paso/Fort Bliss, Texas communities.

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