Self-Soothes Sarah Pendergraft “I don’t have time for a massage.” “I can’t take a vacation.” “I barely even have time to sleep.” Self-soothing is often considered an indulgence, especially for those of us who tend to over-function. In reality, self-soothing is a vital tool that restores us to a more balanced place. Self-soothing functions in a similar way to sleep. Both sleep and self-soothing are essential to our wellbeing; both make us more productive and present in our lives. What is self-soothing exactly? Healthy self-soothing is a pleasant, mindful activity that allows you to tune into your present experience without the aid of substances. They’re sensory-based activities like taking a deep breath, touching a smooth or soft surface, listening to a favorite song, or smelling a scented candle. Self-soothes are powerful in their simplicity and teach us to lean into the pleasant moments just as much as we engage in unpleasant daily to-dos. Self-soothing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Often the simple things can restore and ground us after experiencing stress. Whether you’re struggling with substance abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety, or pretty much anything else, self-soothing is a crucial part of the recovery process. If self-soothing is unfamiliar or uncomfortable, challenge the thought. We might at first think self-soothing is something to be earned or worthy of first. I challenge you to think of it instead as an indispensable gesture of self-compassion and validation. It is actually a right we tend to deny ourselves. Have you self-soothed yet today?