One of the buzziest wellness trends of the last five years has been the concept of self-love and self-care. The terms have become pretty ubiquitous in culture, appearing in popular TV shows (“Treat Yo Self”), endless articles, and millions of social media posts.
But what is the actual definition of self-love? That, actually, depends.
The idea behind self-love is giving yourself the same respect, care, time, and energy that you give to others. And because we are all unique, self-love is a little bit different for everybody. One person might want to treat his or herself to a long bath while another might cringe at the idea. One might prefer running over retail therapy, meditation over journaling, an early morning over a lie-in. What makes you feel good is what you choose for yourself, and giving yourself the choice is the first step to self-love.
“I remind myself to be kind to myself, and as slightly ridiculous as it may sound, to treat myself in the same gently way I’d want to treat a daughter of mine.”Emma Stone
“As a society we spend so much time on self-improvement and how to upgrade to a better version of ourselves. But sometimes we need to take a step back and give ourselves a little dose of self-love. Because if we won’t, who else will?” Huffington Post
Still, trying to figure out your own personal self-love routine? Start by taking some time to yourself. Turn on your favorite music, light your favorite candle, pour your favorite beverage, and set up your favorite way to write stuff down (pen and paper, a beautiful journal, your phone or computer, etc.). Compile a list of things that make you smile, that make you feel fulfilled, that you wish someone else would think to do for you. Then try to incorporate as many of these activities into your busy schedule, taking time to say, “Thank you, self,” whenever you get the chance.
“I’m not going to apologize for who I am and I’m going to actually love the skin that I’m in. I’m not gonna be striving for some other version of myself.”Amy Schumer
Here are some of our favorite ways to celebrate self-love, whether it be on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year.
Start each day by telling yourself something really positive. Something big or little you are grateful for. Anything that will make you smile.
Fill your body with food that will nourish you mind and body- things that will make you thrive.
Embrace and love the things that make you different.
Create your own self-love ritual. Before you look at your phone in the morning, take a few deep breaths, think about three things that are your own personal joy triggers. Wrap yourself in gratitude.
Take a break from social media. Not everyone is as happy and perfect as they appear.
Find your happy place.
Get a little dirty…in the garden.
Go to a fun restaurant, by yourself.
Dining out is a luxury we often reserve for group activities, but it certainly does not have to be this way. Take yourself out for a nice meal (trust us, solo dining is seriously underrated), and order exactly what you want. Nervous diners are welcome to bring a book, headphones, or any other means of distraction necessary to enjoyment.
Spend time in the garden.
Our favorite way to express self-love is to be in our gardens. There’s something about spending each morning in the open air, breathing in nature, and tending to new life, that really helps us appreciate the beauty and power of our own bodies. It’s even more fulfilling to be able to incorporate our home-grown herbs and vegetables into the beautiful meals we create for ourselves at home.
Take a walk and call a friend.
Self-love doesn’t have to be a solitary activity. In fact, one of the greatest ways to love yourself is to cultivate beautiful, supportive friendships. Try taking a long, meandering walk and phoning that one friend you may not have spoken to in a time. Thank them for giving you the courage to be authentic, and make sure they know they are loved as well.
“Without personal power/self love, there is no foundation to build love for someone else because it’s the power needed to dissolve the ego, which is our greatest obstacle to truly loving.”Jada Pinkett Smith
Work on our mental health.
Self-love comes from within. If you are struggling to find reasons to love yourself, know that you are not alone. It may be worth it to explore why you feel this way in the nonjudgmental company of a counselor or therapist. We all deserve to feel good on the inside, and we all deserve the love that we show to others.
This can be a tricky one (especially for us people pleasers!), but saying no is a gift. Dozens of times per day, we are met with situations in which we would probably want to be doing something else. If you have the opportunity to get out of something you don’t want to do, get out of it. Spend your time doing the things that please you as much and as often as you can.
“Thank you” is powerful. Life changes when you start taking account of the blessings around you each day, and we love keeping a gratitude journal to remind us of them. In addition to looking around you to find good things, we also recommend looking within. Say thank you to yourself often. You have gotten to where you are currently, and you have so much further to go. What a wonderful thing to celebrate.
How do you show yourself love?