Valentine's Day puts the emphasis on love for someone special in your life. But did you ever think that, hey, YOU are someone special in your life?
Why not make this day about loving yourself? You can't love someone else until your truly love yourself.
In honor of February 14, the designated day of love, here are 14 ways to practice self-love:
1. Accept yourself.
You have beautiful qualities, both physical and emotional, that draw people to you. You don't need to look or talk or act like anyone else. We all offer the world something different. That's what makes it so beautiful. You are perfectly imperfect. Learning to accept yourself for who you are is the most important step to self-love. Stop comparing yourself to others and learn to embrace the person you are.
2. Declutter your space.
Living or working in chaos can deeply affect your mood and create a feeling of chaos within. An open, organized space can be freeing and uplifting. We’re not saying you have to keep your space perfectly clean, but taking a little time to tidy up can make a big difference. Getting rid of that pile of clothes you've been meaning to donate or sorting through that stack of papers you've been staring at for months can be quite refreshing. Think of it as getting rid of the old to make room for the new!
3. Pamper yourself.
Pampering yourself doesn’t always mean hitting up a spa: Doing something as simple as spending a few minutes reflecting on your best qualities, closest values, and proudest achievements (a practice known as self-affirmation) can also make you feel kinder and more sympathetic toward yourself. But also, don’t forget to treat yourself with the mani-pedi you’ve been meaning to do!
4. Nourish your body.
Replenishing your body with clean water and real, whole food is a loving gesture. As they say, you are what you eat. If you eat garbage, you tend to feel like garbage. Show your body that it matters by providing the high-quality nutrients it needs to thrive.
5. Leave yourself a note.
Words are powerful. How we speak to ourselves is important and often we’re pretty nasty and mean to ourselves, in shorthand and privately inside our own heads. This exercise offers an opportunity to treat yourself like you would your best friend – with unconditional support and kindness. A fun tip is to try writing a positive note or listing your goals as a reminder on your bathroom mirror so you can't avoid it. It's a great way to wake up each day!
6. Practice meditation and yoga
Our inner dialogue tends to focus on the negative — whether it's physical features, a mistake we made, or an opportunity we missed. How can you lo There is no better way to say "I love you" than investing time in listening to yourself, getting to know who you really are, and learning what truly brings you happiness. Yoga and meditation both offer us a way to do these things, classes are available all day at Bloom. Check out our schedule here
7. Be grateful.
Our inner dialogue tends to focus on the negative — whether it's physical features, a mistake we made, or an opportunity we missed. How can you look at these in a positive light?
Are you grateful to have a healthy body that you can move and transform? How lucky are you to have a good job to provide for your family? Are you thankful that you were able to learn so much from that one little mistake you made the other day?
Finding things to be grateful for on a daily basis can help change your inner dialogue. If you tend toward negative internal conversation, gratitude is a wonderful way to change that.
8. Learn to let go.
When you learn to let go of those things, or let go of what others have done to you, you’re giving yourself the chance to do better in the future. If we hold on to mistakes or the things that shame us, we’re dwelling on them, not learning from them. It’s important to learn to acknowledge your actions and how you feel, but then you have to let it go to make room for bettering yourself.
9. Get comfortable with "me time."
So many people struggle with the idea of taking time for themselves. They dedicate their lives to careers or children or ailing parents, and the thought of taking a couple of hours for themselves brings too much guilt to consider.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking some "me" time! Even just an hour every now and then can help to recharge, reset, and re-energize you. This is not only important for your own well-being but for those around you.
If you run yourself into the ground, what good will you be to anyone else? Remember, you have to put your oxygen mask on first if you want to be able to help the person next to you.
10. Take a tech time-out.
Between our phones and computers and TVs, our minds are constantly overstimulated. All this screen time can distract us from reality and from ourselves. Taking time at the end of the day without gadgets is a great way to get back in touch with yourself. How are you feeling? What are you thinking? What's going on in your body?
11. Start your day with a positive affirmation.
Begin each day by acknowledging something positive about yourself. Maybe you handled a stressful situation really well yesterday or accomplished your first headstand in yoga class. Even something as simple as acknowledging that you smiled a little more yesterday is worth noting. All the little things we overlook truly make a difference. Focusing on the positive moments in your day will transform your mindset over time. Did you know that the first hour of the morning is crucial? How you spend it will determine your experience of the rest of your day!
12. Learn to let go.
Letting go sounds so simple. However, it’s anything but. Problems and patterns with anxiety, stress and emotional imbalance can be deeply ingrained in us. And we tend to protect them and continually return to them, because in doing so we feel like we’re protecting ourselves. In order to let go, you need to dig down deep and realize that you don’t need protection. You need to recognize and believe that you’ll be okay - that everything will be okay. If you’re able to let go and start accepting things as they are instead of how you’d like them to be, you’ll find that you’ll suffer less from the problems of stress, emotional ties to the past or future, frustration with others, struggles with loss, and succumbing to fear. By letting go, you’ll set yourself free.
13. Have fun!
Life is short! It doesn't have to be so serious. While there is a time and a place to be serious, there should also be plenty of time to enjoy yourself. When's the last time you danced? Or sang at the top of your lungs? Allowing yourself to be creative and let loose will boost your spirits and remind you that life isn't just about work. There can still be some playtime in there, too!
14. Learn to say no.
This is a tough one. While it may feel uncomfortable at first, learning to say no is important. You must be able to set boundaries for yourself. Humans are social animals who thrive on reciprocity. It’s in our nature to be socially obliging, and the word no feels like a confrontation that threatens a potential bond. But when we dole out an easy yes instead of a difficult no we tend to over commit our time, energy and finances. “The ability to communicate ‘no’ really reflects that you are in the driver’s seat of your own life,” said Vanessa M. Patrick, an associate professor of marketing at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. “It gives you a sense of empowerment.”
That’s why learning to say no comes in handy!
Get the chance to practice self-love and connect with others in a truly authentic way. An evening of love, happiness and community starting with a candlelight flow, relaxing guided meditation and beautiful oracle card reading. Join Katie on Feb 22nd at her Moonlight Goddess Celebration! Reserve a spot today, spaces are limited.
Hailing from East County San Diego, Kaleen Moran (she/her) is an English major at Cuyamaca College and a young yoga enthusiast. Her free time is spent out in nature, whether her feet are on the trail, nose is in a book, or notebook and pen are in her hands. She finds solace in mountain tops, her dogs and cat, books and poetry, good vegetarian food, and the loving embraces of her family and friends.
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