Valentine’s Day approaches and people are focusing attentions on romantic relationships. They’re celebrating the relationships they’re in, perhaps questioning if they’re in the right relationships or maybe bemoaning the fact that don’t have anyone to share Valentine’s Day with. However, in each of these scenarios, the focus is on the love people have for other people, and while this is important (although the commercialisation of love in this way is something I struggle with but that’s not a discussion for now!), I think it’s an important time to consider the love people have for themselves.
When I was teenager at high school in London, the biggest criticism you could make of someone was that they loved themselves. “Urgh, she’s so bigheaded, she loves herself so much”. It’s that unique British characteristic isn’t it? Playing things down, that self-critical, self-deprecating attitude that isn’t the most positive approach to bring into adulthood.
In health and wellness circles, the idea of self-love is something that’s promoted as essential to a healthy balanced life. However, I do think some people struggle with what that even means (I mean, ‘self-love’ can sound like something else can’t it?!) It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve come to realise what self-love means for me and that it’s something unique to every individual.
As I’ve mentioned before, for many years, I definitely did not love myself. My priorities were out of whack and I came last after work, friends and going out. That meant Popcorn for Dinner was a common occurrence, I never had any quality time for myself (sleeping off a hangover every weekend wasn’t really quality time), my bedroom was always messy and regular exercise was a pipedream. It was only re-evaluating my life and what I wanted from it that made me realise the importance of loving myself.
So, what are my personal self-love practices?
- Hot water and lemon in the morning when I wake up
- 20 mins daily Headspace meditation
- Cooking healthy and nutritious meals at home
- Trying to walk for at least 30 mins every day (ideally on the way to work)
- At least one class each week (usually yoga)
- Having a tidy bedroom and making sure my bed is made before I leave the house
- Making an effort with my appearance
I’m not going to lie, time is still an issue and when work/life ramps up, some of these can slip (mainly meditation and walking to work), but I can feel the difference in myself when it happens and make a real effort to get back on track as quickly as I can (will try to fit in a ten minute meditation, walk around at lunchtime). And when I stop making my bed in the morning because I’m ‘too busy’ and start to crave the quick satisfaction of a popcorn dinner I know that things are going too far and I need to take a step back and reprioritise things.
Some of you might be thinking “I do all of this, that’s her way of loving herself, weird, “ but remember, these are uniquely my practices so it’s about you thinking about the things that make you feel great and demonstrate that you’re thinking about and taking care of yourself.
When you’re on a plane listening to the safety instructions, they always say to put on your oxygen mask before you help anyone else with theirs. That’s a great analogy when it comes to the idea of loving yourself. You need to be strong before you can help other people, you need to be healthy and full of energy to be most effective and productive at work and you need to be happy and love yourself before you can love someone else.
So, with all that in mind, this Valentine’s Weekend, it’s all about you. What are you going to do to celebrate your love for yourself?
Your MISSION starts here…