Why I take cold showers/ Q&A

I’m not sure where I first heard this idea: “showing up for yourself,” but I think it’s incredibly important and the question I received this week is the perfect segue into this topic.

Dear Alia, 

I’m just coming out of a break-up and feel like I’ve lost one of my best friends. I’m barely praying and having food issues more than ever. I don’t feel very much in control of my life at the moment. Do you have any exercises you suggest I do or any advice? 



So. What does “showing up for yourself” mean?

Well, as an actress, musician, and overall performer, I always hoped that people (especially loved ones) would SHOW up to my concerts, my plays, my big projects. And sometimes they did, and sometimes they didn’t. And you know what? It made SUCH A DIFFERENCE to see that face smiling out in the crowd. The feeling that this person took the time and effort to come FOR ME! I’ll never forget when this guy I had been crushing on in high school, came to a play I was acting in with flowers for me and all the other actresses. Or when my parents surprised me on my 20th birthday and flew all the way to Pittsburgh to celebrate with me and my friends. It’s actions like that, when someone shows up for you that feel like a million bucks.

So here’s my question. Do you show up for yourself? Let’s imagine, you were separate from you for a second. Where in your life, do you SHOW UP for yourself? Support yourself? With flowers?

This might mean, going to bed at 10 PM because you KNOW you are tired and it’ll feel really good to hit the sack. Or spending 15 minutes in the morning to write in your journal because you woke up feeling like crap. It might mean, saying to your girlfriends “Hey! Can we go somewhere different for lunch this week? I’m craving food with less gluten” or giving yourself a 5 minute foot rub with peppermint cream because you noticed your ankles are swollen.

This is NOT to be confused with showing up for the world, for society, for friends. It doesn’t mean doing all the things you “should” do. This means showing up for YOU– really tuning into your true needs/wants and then finding a way to support yourself in that.  (And for you, Katya, that might involve prayer, companionship, nourishment!)

Where in your life can you support yourself like a best friend would? Where in your life can you be there for you, with flowers AND a box of chocolates?  (Tweet it!)

This can be a really fun game of romancing yourself…let your pleasure and needs be your guide. Here’s a list of my favourites to get your juices flowing!

  1. Pack yourself healthy snacks the night before a busy day (e.g. almonds, yoghurt, celery sticks, and maybe an indulgence like flan or dark chocolate.) Choose foods that make YOU feel like a rockstar.
  2. Say NO to something you don’t REALLY want to do. Or YES to something you secretly REALLY want to do.
  3. Give yourself a foot rub or face massage with coconut oil or ask someone to massage you for a couple of minutes (can we say massage chain, anyone?)
  4. Put on bright nail polish after soaking your feet in warm water, pushing back your cuticles, exfoliating, etc. (I swear you’ll feel like a fairy princess after this.)
  5. Exercise. NOT pushing a mandatory 50 minutes on the treadmill, but ask your body “what kind of movement would you like today?” and then listen to its response (may be belly dancing, yoga, stretching, a run…) I recently started doing this:  (The full DVD can be purchased here.) 
  6. Eye contact.
  7. Play pretend. When you’re feeling insecure, pretend like you’re the flippin’ Queen of Monaco because you’re worth it.
  8. Get real. Instead of trying to shove away the truth of what you’re feeling, take a moment to breath and bring attention to the sensations of your body and your feelings. Are you really nervous? Sad? What are the sensations in your body? Breathing into it and checking in with the truth of what your feeling puts you in a way better position to deal with it: (run to the bathroom, take a break, lie down for a bit, etc.)
  9. Just doing it. Fear is rampant. Breath into your fear and DO IT ANYWAY.
  10. Stick to a schedule that is totally pleasurable. This one makes SUCH a difference for me. When I make myself a plan for the day/week and actually FOLLOW it, I feel like a frickin’ millionaire. Even better, because I make SURE to schedule in fun things (e.g. dance break, run around the block, tea and cookies at 4, read “A Discovery of Witches,” meet brittany, etc.)  in between all the responsibilities.
  11. Pick up the phone. Call a friend. Humans thrive on connection and conversation.
  12. Do something new. (I’m surfing for the first time this weekend, what new thing can you try?)
  13. Quiet time. Meditating. Journalling. Breathing.
  14. Make a gratitude list. At least 30 things. Send them to your closest friends and make them send you theirs. It’s contagious :)
  15. Write a love letter. To yourself, to someone you really admire, to your sister…
  16. Go on a solo adventure in the city. Say hello to strangers.
  17. Take yourself out on a date. Like a DREAM date. (I did this in college and had the most epic nights :))
  18. Draw yourself a hot bath in candlelight and listen to opera scores. (Okay, I haven’t done this one yet but boy, am I ready to try it!)
  19. COLD SHOWERS. Seriously, this is the BEST mood-booster in the WORLD! I start with warm and finish with cold. Just enough to make me yelp. I feel magically cheerful afterwards. Here’s an article that details why they’re fantastic. 
Yes, I drenched myself in freezing water just for the purpose of this post. You're welcome ;)

Yes, I drenched myself in freezing water just for the purpose of this post. You’re welcome ;)

This list could go ON and ON!

So! It’s your turn now! Dear readers, where can you show up for yourself? How do you already do that? And what would you suggest to our dearest Katya?

Leave your fantastic comments and magical lists below!!!

And as always, thank you for reading :)