While there are many different thoughts, feelings, and emotions surrounding Valentine’s Day, curating a self-love experience should be a routine we can ALL get into.
Whether you are happily single or in a partnership (or maybe even unhappily in either) or are just looking for some ways to inject some self-love rituals into your life, look no further, I’ve got you, hun!
What is Self-Love?
Let’s first define what self-love is. According to Psychology Today, “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.” Self-love means having compassion for yourself and the ability to have fulfillment through your life's purpose and values.
It’s important to recognize that self-love requires being accountable to yourself and taking responsibility for your actions and decisions.
What’s the Difference between Self-Love and Self-Care?
Self-love is dynamic. It is a mental state that’s expands, or contracts, based on your actions.
Self-care is the action(s). Beyond activities like getting a massage or your hair done, self-care is a lifestyle choice of things like good nutrition, exercise, social interactions, sleep, and yes, intimacy. People with a healthy amount of self-love nourish themselves daily through self-care.
As part of a lifestyle, self-love and self-care should be incorporated into every day, but why not use Valentine’s Day as an excellent way to get started!
Below are 5 ways to improve self-love through self-care practices that enhance your well-being and strengthen overall health.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
As you go through your day, take note, how are you speaking to yourself? Do your thoughts about yourself tend to lean towards the positive, or towards the negative? As these are your most familiar thoughts, they have a major impact on your mental health.
So, how do you practice kindness to yourself?
First step is to be aware of your thought patterns. As stated, are your thoughts positive or negative? Whenever you notice a negative thought, that is when you should practice kindness and compassion. Flip the negative, unhelpful, thought into a positive, helpful, one and repeat the positive thought (whether you believe it or not!). For instance, if your initial thought is, “I can’t do this. It’s too hard”, take note of it, then flip into a positive like, “This is a new opportunity for me. I am still learning.”
Sometimes a call to action is necessary. So, again, if the thought is, “I can’t do this. It’s too hard”, you can replace it with, “Who can I call to help me with this?” or “What can I look up to help me understand this?”. For more on practicing kindness to yourself, check out How To Replace Negative Thoughts.
2. Be Social but Anti-Social Media
A lot of us feel the pressure of holidays like Valentine’s Day because we are constantly bombarded about it on social media. While social media is a way for us to stay connected, share ideas, and life events, it can also create unrealistic expectations. When used in excess, social media can fuel endless comparisons regarding body image, life progress, and success metrics, which all contribute to anxiety, stress, and depression.
In addition, while social media has been beneficial in sharing news, it contributes to media overload and news-induced stress. The American Psychological Association shows that media overload, or doomscrolling, negatively impacts mental health. While many of us get news from social media, it would benefit your mental well being to limit the amount of news-related negativity you take in.
So, whether you choose to do a complete social media detox or to limit the amount of time on social media applications, taking a break from social media and connecting with friends and loved ones would assist you in your self-love journey.
3. Create a Ritual
I write about this all the time, but rituals are so important! Rituals are acts that are rooted in intention and practiced routinely. Rituals should be a part of a daily routine and a critical inclusion to any self-care regimen. A ritual may be:
- Being mindful about preparing a cup of coffee or tea
- Sharing a meal with friends or family
- Developing a meditation practice
The first step to creating a meaningful ritual is, what is my intention? What is the goal for this ritual? Maybe you’re looking for calm, peace, or connection. Whatever it is, get clear on it and start to build a ritual around that.
Next, is time: think about when you will perform this ritual and how long it will take. Again, rituals are routine acts, so it can be completed daily, weekly, or monthly, it just depends on what your intention is and how you have determined to reach the goal.
Next, act! Start practicing your ritual. It’s okay if you must tweak it a few times until it feels right. What’s important is that you stay consistent, and your intention is fulfilled.
4. Dress Up Your Space
Clean and organize your space! Studies show that clutter is linked to depression, a decrease in focus, and an increase in tension. Yikes!! So, let’s go ahead, pick a day and set a timer to clean! Not only will it benefit you physically, by getting rid of dust and dirt, but it will make you feel better as well.
Now, let’s take it up a notch! Buy some nice flowers, light some lovely candles, incense, or put a diffuser on in the area (or two!) of your house you use the most often.
When your space is aesthetically pleasing, your mood will increase, accordingly.
5. Practice Words of Affirmation
If Words of Affirmation isn’t your Love Language, try this anyway - Compliment yourself! Write down 5 things you like about yourself. Do not hold back or be modest. Let me go ahead and say it now, there is a time and place for humility, this is not it! Do not doubt! Do not downplay these compliments. Embrace and own them. As you go through your day, remind yourself how amazing you are by looking in the mirror and reciting one of these affirmations to yourself.
I hope this helps you on your self-love journey. You truly deserve it.