Happy Valentine’s Day, friends! I know today can be tough for some people which is why I want to pop in to say that you are loved! Having a Valentine does not make you more or less qualified to receive love, nor does it determine or influence who you are. I remember being younger and feeing so sad that no one asked me to be their Valentine. This holiday is so hyped up and I felt like I was missing out. Fast forward to now, I love this holiday- and not because I have a Valentine (I don’t). I love Valentine’s Day because for one entire day the world is choosing to focus on love. To me this is incredibly powerful. In a world where there is so much hate, and violence, having 24 hours to tell those around you “I love you”, show you care, and remind those who have maybe closed their hearts off to love- that it still exists, is such a beautiful and wonderful thing. When I was a youth group leader I overheard so many heartbreaking conversations of young girls upset saying how they’re “unlovable”, and “not pretty enough” because they weren’t chosen to be someone’s Valentine. Today I’m introducing a new series on the blog all about love. I’ve been thinking about love lately as a whole. Oftentimes we make love out to be black and white, but it’s not. There isn’t one specific way to love or to be loved, and there are multiple components to examine. For example, love to me is comprised of spiritual, mind, body, and emotional wellbeing. When we are in a healthy place, and actively working to improve those four areas of ourselves, then we can properly love and also receive love.
Valentine’s Day is an inspiring holiday because we’re celebrating people for who they are. We purchase flowers, chocolates, and write out meaningful notes detailing the ways in which we care for someone. I wonder what would happen if we choose daily to celebrate ourselves the way we celebrate those we love on Valentine’s Day.
Click here to learn about the history of Valentine’s Day!
14 Ways To Practice Self- Love
regular check ins
Take a moment each day to stop and check in with yourself. recognize the emotions you’re feeing, and what your body is trying to communicate to you. Are there any tense areas? Where do you feel the weight in your body? Are you clenching your jaw?
Speak kindly to yourself
If the words you spoke to yourself, or the thoughts about your life were told to a friend or someone you respect, how would that sound? Would you be building that person up and encouraging them or tearing them down? I encourage you to speak to yourself as you would someone you love. Your inner monologue- what you tell yourself, matters.
MOVE YOUR BODY
People have different presences and ideas for this topic, but in my opinion simply choosing to prioritize your health and be active daily is most important. If you love going to group fitness classes, by all means continue doing that. It is also okay to go for walks or runs in your neighborhood or choose to follow along to Yoga with Adriene’s free YouTube yoga videos!
Find Your People
There’s a saying that you become the five people you surround yourself with. Examine those in your life and ask yourself if they’re really the kind of healthy, growth- oriented people you want to surround yourself with. If not, have one second of courage to prioritize yourself and seek out those people who will champion you in all areas of life, and all stages- not just the positive seasons.
Create a self- care routine
This is another things that looks different from person- to- person. For me, my self- care routine is my morning and nightly routine. I start and end my day a certain way to help me set the tone for how I’m going live the next however many hours out, and then my night time routine helps me to let go what may or may not have happened during the day, and start fresh in the morning. I also have a toolbox of things that I do when I feel my self-care battery running low. I like to refer back to these things to recharge myself!
maintain an inspiring space
This one doesn’t have to be exclusively a brick and mortar space, and can extend to digital, as well. The spaces, and environments we’re in greatly impact our lives. I recently wrote an article sharing my experience deciding to turn social media notifications off 2.5 years ago, and how this has helped me create more of a healthy and manageable digital space for me. The past few months I also started going through my space at home. I decided to do a massive clean out and only keep things that I was regularly using, and things positively contributing to my life. I ended up donating 6 or 7 (can’t remember exactly how many) large garbage bags of clothes, and items I no longer refer to. Now, when I go in my room, and work in the office I feel lighter and like I can concentrate. I love how simple my spaces are, and that everything has a home- it inspires me to focus more, and prioritize the more meaningful aspects of life.
Be Mindful to start and end your day positively
I mentioned this in one of the previous points, but it really does make a difference when you are mindful about how to start and end the day. In the morning I like to put on this worship playlist as I get ready. I’m not a morning person, and hearing the positive, and encouraging melodies help me to get my mind in the right state, and not start my day complaining or cranky. As for my nightly routine, I like having a hot cup of tea, reading something, and diffusing essential oils. These things I find help calm my mind and make it easier for me to relax. I’m also trying to not be on my phone past a certain time… even if I have nighmode on my screens. I encourage you to experiment what your mindful and meaningful morning and night time routine look like!
My friend Liz and I were speaking about forgiveness the other day, and while we weren’t directly speaking about the importance of forgiving ourselves, I think it is incredibly helpful and useful in being able to truly love yourself, accept yourself, and also do the same for others. Allow yourself to forgive whatever you may or may not have done, said, or thought, etc.
Create space for yourself to just be
I’ve noticed (and am sometimes guilty of this) how people have a difficult time just existing without having to do something. When I’m working at my favorite coffee shop I often take breaks to walk/ look around and I see others on their phones while across the table from their loved one, or I see those choosing to come alone find companion in their technology. What happened to the days when we did things without our pone glued to our hands, or the table? Another aspect not dictated by technology is explaining ourselves. Liz asked me a question the other day and she challenged me to give the answer without saying “because” after. She reminded me that we don’t need to justify our feelings- either happy, sad, or in-between to others. Our answer doesn’t need to have another answer attached. We can simply just be.
Talk to others
Socialization is so important! Reach out to friends, family, co-workers, etc. and start a conversation! As much as we may not want to admit it at times, we need connection, and community.
Boundaries are one of my top tips for maintaining my self- care. Boundaries are incredibly important, and I have seen firsthand the benefits, and also the repercussions of others breaking my boundaries. I like this article Healthline published about setting healthy boundaries.
Leave Yourself Notes
A few years ago my mom left notes on my bedroom door with compliments/ character traits she loves in me. Well.. they’re still on my door long after Valentine’s Day. I love waking up and seeing them, and reaching them about myself. On bad days they’re an affirmation that my decisions, or my circumstances do not define me, and I am not the opinion of those who do not respect my boundaries. I started writing notes for myself in my phone, and on the days my confidence wavers I refer back to those notes/ the list to encourage me.
Everyday I find something to be grateful for. It can be something as mundane as not h
itting a red light on the way to where I’m going, or a person, event.
Find comfort in stillness
I’m trying to practice mediation. It’s a struggle to quiet my mind sometimes because I can think of a bazillion other things I could be doing and what number on my to-do list I could be on, but I do notice a difference and a major mindset shift when I choose to be still- to not move, or actively think about what’s “next”
the Next article in this series is LIVE on: 2/14/ 20 @ 6PM CST