We’ll buy nice things for people we love but not for ourselves.
We’ll encourage others to go after what they really want but tell ourselves we can’t achieve our desires.
We’ll ensure the best nourishment and care for our kids – or in my case, fur child – but neglect our own proper nourishment and self-love.
It can be challenging for us to put our own selves first, but frequent self-love is essential to being your best self. Self-care allows you to show up better for your family, your job and your passions. When you feed your body healthy food and exercise on a regular basis, you better equip yourself to handle all of life’s responsibilities with more energy and mental clarity.
I totally get the hesitation. Sometimes I feel like I spend too much time being good to myself. I take an hour at each meal because I thoroughly enjoy the process of cooking healthy food, catching up on a book while I eat, and then walking the dog. I take several breaks throughout the day to make the perfect cup of tea. Every morning, I take 45 minutes to exercise, and I spend another hour doing healthy mind-body practices, like journaling, praying, stretching and visualizing.
Yeah, maybe that is a bit much! Remember, my biggest responsibility has fur.
But honestly, I know my well-being and happiness has improved since I started doing more self-care. I know my body, and it reacts quite negatively to stress. Self-care and love on a daily basis are necessary to keep my body in balance. That way, when stressful situations do arise, my body is already in a good place to begin with and stress doesn’t knock it down so hard.
Self-care is how I got through planning my wedding without stomach aches. It’s how I made the leap from leaving my full-time job to starting my own writing business without IBS issues flaring up. Being good to myself is how I made it through the busiest, most emotional year of my life in a way that allowed me to fully enjoy and embrace everything that was happening.
It’s essential. But what does self-love look like? And how do we let go of those limiting thoughts that keep us from treating ourselves?
Self-love is the regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. It is a practice that helps us learn to fully accept and love ourselves. Here are a few ideas of what self-love looks like:
Mindfulness and self-awareness
- Practicing kind thoughts to yourself
- Having gratitude for your unique gifts
- Developing positive self-talk
- Taking time to be present and still in your body
Body – Physical health
- Providing healthy nourishment for your body
- Taking time to prepare healthy meals and sitting down to eat
- Getting frequent health check-ups
- Exercising, stretching
- Getting enough rest and sleep
- Making time to relax and relieve stress
- Investing in yourself
- Gifting yourself with things and experiences you love, that speak to your values
- Saying no to things that don’t align with your values or desires
- Making the best of the space you live in
How to Let Go and Practice Self-Love
People have trouble practicing self-love for a few reasons. Many think it’s selfish, others don’t believe they deserve it. If you struggle to let go and put yourself first, try easing into it with the following tips:
- Lose the idea of narcissism. If you’re worried about coming off as narcissistic, then I assure you that you’re the kind of person who cares too much about other people to ever let that happen. If that’s holding you back, drop it!
- Start with 10 minutes a day. Whether you take 10 minutes in the morning to be still, a short break over lunch to read a book, or 10 minutes in the evening to paint your nails, start by adding one small 10-minute chunk to your day that is meant only for things that make you feel good.
- Schedule it into your day or your week. One reason we don’t get enough love for ourselves is because we don’t make time for it. We forget about the things we wanted to do. Take a look at your calendar, and note the times when you’ll catch up on that new TV show or take yourself out for a movie.
- Find treats in every day and notice them for what they are. So much of our days are made up of hard work. Look for joys in the everyday things you love – your morning cup of coffee, a quick walk with your dog, or listening to your favorite song after a long meeting. Treating yourself doesn’t have to be extreme – notice the simple things.
- Talk to a therapist. If you truly struggle to let go and take time for yourself, I highly recommend starting with therapy. A licensed therapist will help you uncover and work through what holds you back. This is one of the best things you can do for yourself if you don’t know how to experience self-love.
Mother, daughter, wife, teacher, employee, friend – you play several different roles. But your first role is always YOU. Show up positively for yourself to show up better for others.
You’re the foundation of all of your relationships. Take care of yourself to be sturdy and strong even on your own. Without loving yourself, you cannot properly take in the love you receive from others.
I’ll be sharing a post every week with a new strategy to practice self-love, so try some of these tips to open up and get comfortable with taking time for yourself. In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you’re practicing self-love! What are some of your favorite ways to treat yourself? Let me know by leaving a comment!
Want some extra self-love strategies? Follow the Naturally Ever After Self-Love 101 board on Pinterest!
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