On a holiday filled with candy hearts, flowers, and extravagant romantic gestures, it’s hard not to get swept up in the craze of Valentine’s Day. Sure, the day has become somewhat materialistic and commercialized, but how you want to interpret and celebrate this day is completely up to you. Regardless of whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with someone special or solo, take a step back and think for a minute. When is the last time you really, truly focused on you? Showered yourself in self-love? Acted selfishly? I challenge you on Valentine’s Day—this day centered on doing special acts of love for others—to remember to love yourself too. Here are some of my favorite ways to cultivate and practice self-love!
See the Best in Yourself
Nobody is perfect. (Okay, except maybe Ryan Reynolds.) We all have our own faults and struggles. Recognizing and acknowledging our downfalls are critical to a good sense of self-awareness, but fixating on them is unhealthy. Fix what you can. Accept what is uncontrollable. Then, give yourself constant reminders of personal qualities you love. Write them down if you have to! A great exercise could be taking the time to write down 30 personal qualities you’re proud of. Recognizing your own strengths and reminding yourself of why you’re great is crucial to practicing self-love.
Take a Break
When is the last time you took a vacation? According to the Project Time Off Survey, Americans are forfeiting more paid vacation days than ever. We live in a culture where taking breaks can be seen as a sign of weakness and laziness. Being constantly busy, on the other hand, is often a sign of success and ambition. However, research proves otherwise. Check out these findings from the Project Time Off Survey:
- Those who plan time for relaxation are happier with their relationships, health, and jobs
- 38% of employees say they want to be seen as work martyrs by their boss, but these self-proclaimed work martyrs are 74%-84% less likely to receive raises and promotions than those who haven’t adopted the work martyr attitude.
- Employees who forfeit their vacation days are 23%-27% less likely than non-forfeiters to have been promoted within the last year.
To you, taking a break could mean declining a happy hour invite to soak in a bubble bath, or perhaps it means taking a beach vacation somewhere tropical. Whatever a “break” means to you, remember to take one!
Prioritize Your Physical Health
Ever heard of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? In a nutshell, you need to take care of your physiological needs before you can even think about fulfilling your emotional and mental needs like love, self-esteem, and, ultimately, self-actualization. The funny thing is, I feel like some of our most basic needs are the ones that fall to the wayside when we’re busy. For some reason, we don’t bat an eye when we only get four hours of sleep in order to meet crucial work deadlines or skip lunch to run errands for the kids. Evaluate how you’re prioritizing your physical health and start being your own advocate! Turn your phone off after 8pm and get to bed earlier to help your sleep schedule. Treat yourself to a fancy water bottle that reminds you to drink water. Find quick healthy recipes instead of buying fast food. Be a little selfish this Valentine’s Day and make it a point to reward the body that fuels you.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you! Use your strengths to knockdown life goals. Learn to love “me time.” Work on achieving body peace. Whatever self-love means to you, show it. Enjoy it. You deserve it.