Valentine's Day has never really been a huge deal for me. I'm sure you've heard many people say, "I don't need a commercialized day to tell someone I love them," and I don't. However, there is definitely something to be said about self-love and self-care, that I will celebrate. I don't think we place enough emphasis on it as a society. I think the reason there is a gap is that we’ve been taught that if we’re not constantly working hard or taking care of others, we’re being selfish.
The older I get the more I realize how hard I was on myself growing up and how little time I spent practicing love for myself. Taking the time to love ourselves unconditionally, no matter how many "to-do's" we checked off our list that day, is so important and can really shift how we view the World around us and how it reflects back to us. It can be easy for us to be caught up in the mindset of "accomplishment," and to project our love so far outwards that sometimes we forget about what we feel like inside.
My journey through self love is ever evolving. The industry I grew up in and have worked in for years could be very unforgiving. It can leave you feeling like you're never good enough, never pretty enough, talented enough... never enough! That can start to chip away at you ever so slowly and despite having a thick skin, I think no matter what, it can eventually get to you. Especially having that woven into your development from a very young age. Being a type A personality doesn't help. Not only did I have other people criticizing me, but I was also my own worst critic and I never thought I was good enough.
Eventually it took its toll and I had to step back and re-evaluate my life. I needed to re-evaluate where I stood in this World and what was important to me. What did I want from this journey?
Self care and practicing self love became very important to me and still is. I had to start becoming my own fan! That was a challenge for me given the way my brain was wired... I was used to immediately finding flaws and critiques. Through this practice, I started to gradually pat myself on the back after completing a task, telling myself I'd done my best and I had learned from the experience. I've also learned that my creativity and my flow state happens within chaos and freedom, though having a critical eye is helpful, it has to come as an after thought. It's still a struggle for me sometimes but I've come a long way and I'm thankful for that. Allowing myself to fail, not taking it personally, and letting the process unfold into one giant masterpiece that is my existence. Flaws and all.
So in the name of love and loving ourselves, I have 8 self-love activities you can engage in for Valentines Day, or any time really, should you feel inclined. Here they are:
1) Take a Bath. There is nothing more relaxing than a warm bath with some soothing essential oils and epsom salts. Epsom salts are high in magnesium with is something most of us are naturally deficient in and they also help to calm us down and relax our muscles.
I love finding an interesting talk to put on in the bath, some some nature sounds, or sometimes just silence. Lavender is a great essential oil great for calming right before bed and Citrus is great to help uplift your spirits before your start your day.
2) Compliment yourself. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. Keep it on your phone or somewhere that you can go back and look on it every so often, not just when your feeling blue.
3) Do something you've always wanted to do but have never done. Or plan to do something you've never done and commit to it. Our time is limited and it goes quickly. Challenge yourself and quit making excuses. If it's been done before, you can do it. Even if it hasn't been done, you can do it! If Elon Musk wants to live on Mars before he dies, your goals are never too big or out of reach.
4) Dress up for yourself. Put on your favorite outfit. Dress up or down, whatever makes you feel most like YOU and most happy. If you like to wear makeup, take the time to out it on. Relish in putting on a nice shade of pink or red. Wear what you want and what makes you happy.
5) Shut off your email and cellphone. At least for an hour but if you can go longer then set a time frame. I know for me, there is always that nagging urge to refresh my email or social media page but once I give myself permission to turn it off, it goes away.
6) Put on lotion slowly. An old Ayurvedic method for self-care is to spend the time putting warm oil on your body from the feet up. Take the time with your body and don't rush it. How often do we just enjoy the simple act of hydrating our skin? Our lives are hectic and full of distractions and slowing down to do something as simple as this can really nourish the soul.
7) Listen to yourself.Listen to your body, mind and spirit. Listen closely to what it needs. Do not rely on only other people's advice. Start to trust your own advice and your own path. The more you do this, the more you will walk your own truth. How do you view a situation and what is your judgement? Or do you need more relaxation? More adventure? More time alone? What do YOU want? What do YOU need? Do more of those things.
8) Pat yourself on the pat. Congratulate yourself for a job well done, especially when nobody else has. You know how hard you've worked and you deserve to feel good about it. Say it out loud if you need to.
How do you show love to yourself? Do you do any of these things are something else? I'd love to know so I can do them too. Also, if you do any of these for Valentines Day or just in general, comment below!