February is the Month for "Self-Love"
Did you know that February is the month for “Self-Love”?
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” -Buddha
Our world is so busy we end up neglecting ourselves. We beat down our hearts and overextend our resources until our bodies break down. There’s a direct connection between personal, emotional neglect and poor health.
#1. Mirror Work
First thing in the morning, look in your mirror and give yourself a compliment. Yes, even with your morning hair, groggy eyes, and morning breath. That moment, more than any other, is when you should say something positive to yourself. If we aren’t our own cheerleader, how can we accept others’ compliments?
This is called Mirror Work and is part of Louise L. Hay’s You Can Heal Your Heart: Finding Peace After a Breakup, Divorce, or Death series. She has a fantastic video on how to do this without feeling embarrassed or shy.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, say that you are aware of who you are. State your accomplishments, and be mindful of the world you built around you. Say your name and then tell yourself that you love yourself, who you are. It’s a bad habit to be derogatory and make fun of ourselves, but one we often fall into.
Be positive about yourself. You can be silly or funny if you feel awkward. But don’t compare yourself to others or degrade your efforts or appearance Don’t make jokes at your own expense. If you are used to thinking down about yourself, this may cause some emotional responses you didn’t expect. That’s okay. Keep doing it.
Every day ask yourself “What can I do to make you happy?”. This is very important. That happiness must come from something within your control, without relying on someone else’s actions. Self-love and self-care begin and end within you.
#2. Pamper Yourself
Make time for yourself.
Watch who you spend time with! Are they positive, inspiring and loving? Eliminate the relationships in your life that are negative, exhausting and draining.
It is important that we pamper ourselves on a regular basis. Our mind, body, and spirit need to be in balance.
Create time for:
Create a mindfulness lifestyle. Do one thing at a time, do it slowly and deliberately, and put your entire focus into that task. Remember that time management isn’t about filling in the spaces of your calendar. Instead, it is about energy management. Create a space between tasks that gives you time to move on to the next task. As children, we learned that play time had a preparation and clean up phase. Somehow, in our busy lives, we seemed to forget that. By making time at the end of a task to close your mind and clear up your mental and physical space, your day can be more focused. If you are in a high-intensity job where your day is reactive by necessity, you can still put your entire focus on one task at a time. Delegate what you can, prioritize need, and keep focused on the task at hand.
Meditation is a wonderful way to expand your mind, and cleanse the spirit. If meditation is new to you, there are many guided meditation options available.
Our senses guide us. Did you know that aromatherapy has proven effects for over a millennium? Choose zesty citrus blends for motivation and energy, jasmine and lavender for reducing stress.
Positive affirmations are another way to care for your mind. Your mind carries the weight of your world. It works every minute of every day, and it needs to know it’s doing a good job. Be positive and the world will get positive around you.
Our bodies are the machines that keep us moving. It needs proper care and pampering. Salt baths are a wonderful way to cleanse the body. Epsom salt is proven to relieve pain and inflammation.
Facials and pedicures are wonderful ways to pamper yourself. Be kind to yourself and the places on your body that get neglected the most.
Massages and hot tubs can relax the muscles and give you the love you deserve. There are as many types of massages as there are hours in the day, so make sure you find one that meets your needs.
Exercising is the single most important thing you can do for your body. Your body needs to move for health and relaxation. While running a marathon may not appeal to some, a nice stroll through a park or swim at a local pool might be. All you have to do is start. Not for weight loss, or to increase your self-esteem, but because your body takes care of you and needs to keep up its strength to handle future stress. No matter your weight, age, or injury, there are exercises you can do.
Healthy foods are so important to your self-care. Choose foods that help your mind and body. Did you know that avocados, broccoli, blueberries, and small doses of dark chocolate are all wonderful foods for the brain? Berries and avocados are great for memory and full of antioxidants. Broccoli helps you focus and dark chocolate is great for its anti-inflammatory properties. It also helps lower blood pressure and improves blood flow to both the brain and the heart. You’ll want dark chocolate with at least 70% of cocoa to gain these benefits, so most store candy bars that say “dark chocolate” on the packaging won’t help.
Spirituality is necessary for the health of all individuals. It is the heart of hope and the light of optimism.
Prayer is the single-most important aspect of caring for the spirit. A prayer of thankfulness leads to the grateful heart and mind.
Music is powerful. Positive and joyful music can lighten the spirit and help it feel at ease. The same goes for inspiring and humorous movies. Laughter heals so many hurts. Find joy in life through the arts.
Consider joining a spiritual workshop or class to expand your ways to communicate with your spirit.
Here are two great resources about the Healing Power of Laughter
#3. Make Space
Create healthy balance and space in your life for you!
Your life must be a balance of work, family, and personal time.
One of the most important ways to do this is to create healthy boundaries with work and commitments. If work consumes your life, then your life becomes wrapped up in work. This means that every mistake made (either by you or someone else) becomes a personal blow to your spirit and mind (and therefore your body). It batters your self-esteem and leaves you drained. Work can fill your heart and mind, but it can’t sustain it without creativity and peace of mind.
Sever the idea that you need to be connected 24/7 to your phone, computer, and electronics. A dear friend has a rule in her house. At dinner, all electronic devices go off. When they go out with friends, all phones go on the table and the first person to reach for it pays for everyone’s meals. Observing others in life isn’t the same as living it yourself. Remember that the next time you compare yourself to someone online. Go out and enjoy your life without being tethered by someone else’s agenda.
Spend time with family and friends. Or even take time off to take them on a fun vacation or weekend getaway. Reconnect with them if you’ve lost touch.
You are your own cheerleader and motivational speaker. February is just the beginning. Use this as a chance to change your outlook on life and find that balance you always wanted.