Valentine's Day is here, and you might be planning a special day for someone you love this weekend. You're probably buying flowers, booking reservations at your favorite restaurant, giving chocolates or a giant oversized stuffed teddy bear to demonstrate your affection for someone near and dear to you. It's great to love others, and research even proves the positive impact of having healthy relationships and loving other people. It...
raises our endorphins and dopamine levels
boosts our positive outlook on life
reduces stress + blood pressure
raises our oxytocin levels (which reduces pain)
increases our motivation
helps us feel a higher calling in life
Don't forget about yourself!
This may sound selfish, but hear us out. In the hustle and bustle and fast pace of life, we often put ourselves on the back burner. We take care of everyone else first — our kids, our work (boss), our friends, our spouse, etc. — and whatever time is leftover (after we're completely depleted, and if there is any), is for us.
Loving yourself is absolutely necessary for your overall health and well-being, but we often either find it difficult to fully love ourselves (because we can't get past our flaws, weaknesses, failures, or that nasty comparison game we play looking at other people and their lives) or find the time to nurture ourselves through self-care, good nutrition, exercise, meditation, etc.
When you start taking care of and loving yourself very intentionally, you'll find you not only elevate your own health and well-being to a new level, but you'll have the energy to nurture and love those you care about at a higher quality, as well.
Here are a few ways you can start taking steps to loving yourself and nurturing a sincere appreciation for who you are:
Keep a journal | Each day, write 3-5 things you love about yourself and 3-5 things you are grateful for.
Exercise | Schedule a minimum of 3-5 30-mimute sessions per week of an activity you enjoy. Think of these as non-negotiable dates with yourself. On days you don't have a scheduled workout, do some kinda of light activity, even if it's just a walk around the block to get your body moving and breathe in the fresh air.
Monitor your thoughts/words | Don't let any thoughts or words about yourself that you wouldn't think or say about/to your best friend/spouse/etc. creep into your mind or out of your mouth. If any of these negative thoughts/words arise, stop yourself immediately, and tell yourself one thing you love about yourself instead.
Eat well | Put nutrition that optimally fuels your body and your mind. Instead of thinking about food as just something you put into your mouth, think about food as sustenance — a combination of densely packed vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and life! If you often find yourself short on time, instead of driving through the fast food line, have options for quick healthy meals or snacks at the ready — smoothies/meal replacement shakes, homemade freezer meals, veggies, fruit, yogurt, etc.
Meditate | Take a short 5 minutes to meditate each day. Right before bed is a great time to wash away the day and prep your mind + body for quality sleep! There are even guided meditation apps for your phone, if you need a place to start.
Forgive yourself | If you're holding on to or beating yourself up about something you did or that happened in your past, it's time to let go so you can heal.
Develop a new perspective around failures, mistakes, and setbacks | From now on, understand that there are valuable lessons and growth that come from failures, mistakes, and setbacks. Determine what these are and use these times as a positive opportunity, not a negative circumstance.