This is a repost from my old blog: Yoga Mats & Cowboy Hats, but with a couple updates <3
I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival. – Audre Lorde
In the majority of my yoga classes, you will hear me mention “love yourself” or “self love” at least once. Often times, I mention self love and self care and receive some eye rolling and laughs from people. This breaks my heart! There are some terrible messages out there telling people that self care is silly or self improvement is for losers. This cannot be further from the truth! Media and society fill the world with lies, claiming “once you have a better body, you will love yourself and be happy” or “with this shiny new car, you will feel confident” or “once you find the one who ‘completes’ you, you will be happy”. These are LIES! Happiness is found when we are able to find it within ourselves and acts of self love will help you get there.
The other big lie we hear about self love is that it is selfish or narcissistic. I’m pretty tired of hearing these two words being used so casually. Being able to take care of ourselves will help us take care of others. It is about replenishing our own resources so we can continue to share, or we will deplete ourselves to the point of helplessness and will be of no use to anyone we care about. When we practice self love, we can push through the limiting beliefs that the world has put on our shoulders and we can live life radiantly.
Self love is a daily practice. Some days are easier than others. Some days, we face challenges or hear lies about ourselves (both within our heads or through the opinions of others) and we let it consume us. The biggest thing to remember about self love is to NEVER beat ourselves up when we have off days. Shit happens. We must continue to talk to ourselves with pure kindness, embracing ourselves when we are down, and lifting ourselves back up, ready to try again.
Ready to start showing yourself some love? Take a deep breath in, give yourself a tight hug, and remind yourself: I AM WORTHY OF LOVE. Let’s get to it 🙂
HERE ARE FIVE WAYS THAT I PRACTICE SELF LOVE AND WHY YOU SHOULD TOO:
1. Eat like you care! Be honest about this one. How much time and consideration do you put into your food and eating habits? Are you eating because you are bored, upset, or hungry? Are you eating foods that are high in grease, fats, and sugars? Or are you filling your body with colorful, nutrient rich foods designed to fuel you up?
Your body is craving for nourishment. One of the best ways you can express love for the body is by giving it the tools it needs for success. Listen to your body’s needs. Slow down and really enjoy the first 3 bites of every meal. Contemplate the texture, the taste, the richness of the different flavors. And give appreciation. If you can change anything about your eating habits, simply slow down and be grateful!
2. Repeat affirmations DAILY. This is a big game changer for me and it sounded really stupid to me in the beginning too, don’t worry. I challenge you to make a habit of saying loving affirmations to yourself aloud at least once a day (preferably first thing in the morning). I also encourage you to say these things to yourself while looking into a mirror. Trust me, it is not as crazy as it sounds. There are many affirmation ideas all over the web. You can also purchase affirmation cards, books, signs, etc. You can change it up every day or you can pick one affirmation that truly speaks to you and use that same one daily. If you like the idea of consistency, try taping the affirmation to your bathroom mirror or you can make your own piece of pretty artwork to display and remind yourself.
Here are some super simple affirmations that really click with me:
- I am worthy (of love, abundance, beauty, etc.)
- I am enough
- I am valuable
- I am perfectly imperfect
- I can accomplish anything I put my mind to
- I love my body. It is strong, beautiful, and capable
- I am grateful for the abundance in my life
3. Enjoy stillness. It is important to take time for rest and quiet. I know we are all busy and we are filled to the brim with obligations and to-do lists, making it difficult to set aside time for ourselves. However, it is absolutely necessary to our self care. Make this a priority. Maybe wake up a little bit earlier, while the rest of the house is still asleep, or explain to your family that in order to do more for them, you need ten minutes for yourself and go lock yourself in a room. I can promise you, everyone can handle at least 10 minutes without your help. Of course, if you have toddlers home, you may find it a little more difficult to them to fend for themselves. However, you can make it a priority to take ten minutes for yourself when they are down for a nap before you start on a list of chores. This should be non-negotiable. Stillness can be anything that involves quiet and peace. You can spend some time in meditation (guided or silent) or relax into a steamy bath with luxurious bubbles or salts. It doesn’t mean you are not moving at all, just that you are moving peacefully. You can enjoy some creative work, tend to your garden, color, read a book. But it is time for you and only you!
4. Enjoy movement. As important is it is to slow down and find stillness, it is just as vital to find energizing movement. Hopefully, something that you love! The gym may not be your thing, yoga may not be your thing, hiking may not be your thing. However, there is some kind of movement that will excite you, you simply need to find it! Create a fun family workout routine, go for a jog, go play kickball at the park, go to a Zumba class or kickboxing class or crossfit class, go hiking, go dancing, do yoga. I don’t care what you do, but move! With movement, you will learn more about your body and everything it is capable of. Do not focus on its limitations, but find amazement in what you can do. If your movement gets you outdoors, even better! We all need a little more vitamin D in our life.
5. Date yourself. This is my favorite act of self love and probably the one that sounds the silliest… I decided a long time ago that I am more than capable of doing things for myself and I should. I buy myself flowers, with no shame! I write myself love notes to put on my desk. I get dressed in my favorite clothes, put on some bitchin’ lipstick, and wear some yummy perfume; just for me! I tell myself, “Damn, you look good!” Selfies encouraged!
I make it a habit to take myself out. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. I go to the movies, to dinner, to the park, on a solo day trip. Sometimes, I just stay in and do something I love.
Dating yourself is about treating yourself with respect and having some fun along the way. I dare you: write down a list of things you LOVE to do, new things you want to try, or places you want to go. Now, pull out your planner and start scheduling your date nights. I aim for at least one per month. Put it on your planner with a pen or even a permanent marker. This is your “me time” and it is not selfish. It is essential.
It doesn’t matter if you are single, dating, married, divorced, etc. Make it a priority to take time out to practice self care. Enjoy your own presence and become your own best friend. It does not make you crazy, it makes you better connected to your mind, your body, and your soul. Understanding who you are can help refresh all the relationships around you, learning how to step away from those which are not healthy and how to show sincere gratitude to the friends and family that nourish you.
I would love to hear what you think. Have you ever been on a self date? What did you do? How do you like to practice self care?
Happy Wednesday, y’all! Namaste 🙂