By: Ellie Marsh
We all know of the traditional ways of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but nowadays the holiday is not reserved for just couples. While I find it important to show those who we love our appreciation, this year I really want to shine a light on a different kind of love: Self-love.
The journey to self-love is just that, a journey. I want to talk about some of the things that have helped me in my journey. Some of these things might seem quite simple, but sometimes the simplest things can get lost when we are wrapped up in our day-to-day lives, in addition to maintaining relationships and trying to excel in our careers.
There is no right way or wrong way of going through this process, and sometimes I forget to love myself, but I will always start to rebuild that love by using these things as a foundation:
Connect with your body. The stressors of daily life can get you down mentally and emotionally, but that strain on your brain can also manifest in other ways and have a negative effect on your body. It’s crucial to be mindful of how your body feels and address when there is something awry. Making it a habit to be active is not only beneficial to strengthening our bodies, but it also has a positive effect on our minds by reducing stress and anxiety. I can usually think of a handful of reasons why I don’t want to move off of the couch, but we owe it to ourselves to make it a practice to regularly move these incredible machines that truly do so much for us.
Nourish your body. Your diet is an important contributing factor to your overall health. When you eat well, you tend to feel better. Food is fuel, and implementing a whole diet consisting of things like fruits, leafy greens, and lean proteins is likely to result in higher energy levels, therefore giving us the longevity we need to get through the day. And, no, I am not saying that you are not able to enjoy a side of rosemary garlic French fries at dinner! You do that and enjoy every minute of it! Having a stable balance is just as important.
Shower yourself with positive affirmations. We are in our own heads all of the time. Our minds are so, so powerful, and how we feel about ourselves overall is reflective of how we speak to ourselves. Sometimes these negative thoughts just come naturally, but try to be aware of when this happens. Listen to yourself and understand why you are feeling that way, then rewrite the narrative to something more fulfilling. You should not be saying anything to yourself, about yourself, that you wouldn’t say to your best friend. You are deserving of love, yes from others, but most importantly yourself.
Allow yourself the time to take time. Working hard is critical to success, but it is important to give some of that time back to yourself during the day. We all need a recharge that expands beyond the average night’s sleep. If you want to take an hour-long hot shower while listening to your favorite music, do it. Even an allotted 10-minutes each morning to stretch in the sun will be beneficial to you. I look forward to the evenings when it’s time for me to do my skincare routine. I love the feeling of just wiping the day away, and ready to start the next day feeling fresh and revitalized. No matter what this looks like for you, give yourself permission to take the time to give back to yourself.
Committing yourself to self-love. This is it, this is is the bow that will tie your love for yourself together and keep it whole. You will have to commit to yourself. Realistically, we are faced with challenges daily that can easily discourage us, but be patient with yourself. Give yourself the time, then get back to it. We all have something to offer our world, and as Princess Diana said, “Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.”