Love Yourself First
When you’re married, you tend not to make a huge deal of Valentine’s Day. Maybe hubby brings home flowers and you have fish and veggies, or maybe you’re both so busy shuttling your kids back and forth that you completely forget to even buy a card until the day of- when there aren’t any left. When you’re married, the whole thing kind of seems like a holiday that Hallmark and florists market just to keep themselves in business.
When you’re unmarried, those two weeks can be a really interesting time. Seeing advertisements for dinner cruises, deals for a dozen gold-dipped roses, and every candy under the sun can have you thinking more about your relationship and longing for someone to share in those experiences with. In the past three years, I’ve experienced both sides of Valentine’s Day. Last year, my first year after my divorce, Valentine’s Day felt like the most agonizing holiday. When you’re going through a breakup or a divorce, the last things you want to see are aisles upon aisles of cards about “lifelong love”.
This year, I’m flipping the script on my opinions of love, and honoring myself and all of the hard work I’ve put into personal development in the past year. The following practices are things you can incorporate into your daily life to ensure you’re giving yourself the love you deserve.
Move every day.
This one isn’t about the way your body looks. It’s not about achieving some vision of your toned and tanned body. It’s not about checking off a box on a tracking sheet. It’s literally about making yourself feel better than you did when you woke up. Elle Woods was absolutely right: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” Even if you don’t have the energy/time/space to workout some days… you have to move. Go for a walk at lunchtime. Walk your dog instead of driving him to the dog park. It only takes 20 minutes and it releases enough endorphins to turn your entire day’s mood around.
2. Get a massage.
How many times have you thought about getting a massage and considered it “treating yourself”? How many times have you prioritized your time or your money on someone else, something else because you felt guilty? Brush aside any thoughts you currently have about massages falling into the category of pampering or indulgences. The physical and mental health benefits of massages could easily have their own blog post, but I’m going to give you the abbreviated version. Massages have been scientifically proven to relieve physical soreness and pain, in addition to anxiety, digestive disorders, fibromyalgia, headaches, and insomnia. If bettering these aspects of your health isn’t self-care, I don’t know what is.
3. Spend time on your hobby.
Whether you’re a wife, a writer, a mom, a yoga teacher, or a student, you’ve probably told yourself that you don’t have time for hobbies. In fact, you’re probably so busy that the question of whether or not you have time for a hobby hasn’t even crossed your mind. This was me for a long time, and if I’m being honest, most times it’s still a struggle. But finding a hobby is important. Hobbies calm your mind by giving you something to focus on a continuous goals to reach. The more time you send on your hobby, the better at it you get, and the more rewarding it it is for you. This time becomes your “me” time. You deserve “me” time. You need “me” time.
4. Write a self love mantra. Repeat self love mantra until you live it.
Let’s face it, no matter how many days you crush your workout, stick to your nutrition, and check off your to-do list, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough. Some days you look in the mirror and your view of yourself is foggy. Maybe you compared yourself to an instagram influencer, or your long-lost girlfriend from high school. Maybe the diet you were so committed to just isn’t working. Maybe that project you worked on for weeks isn’t appreciated by your boss. Whatever the case may be, it is absolutely imperative that you don’t let these things fog your vision of yourself.
“You work so hard.”
“You are so strong.”
“You are beautiful.”
“You are inspiring.”
“Don’t give up. You’re almost there.”
These are your mantras. These are your truths. These are the things that you need to tell yourself daily, until you realize that they are true and you accept and love who you are. Forget your mantra? Write it down. Write it on a sticky note on your mirror or your fridge. Write it on your planner. Make your mantra into a pretty background on your phone, so you see it every time you pick up to scroll through the women you will no longer compare yourself to.
If you plan on showing up for anyone else, you first have to show up for yourself. You have to love yourself, through the tough and the easy. Spend this Valentine’s Day caring for the most important person in your life: you. I promise you, you’ll never regret the time you spent taking care of yourself.