With Valentine’s Day coming up in just a couples days, it’s easy to focus solely on buying gifts for your significant other, taking them out for date night, or any number of things we feel forced to do on this holiday. And if you don’t have a significant other to spend the day with, this holiday can feel like a slap-in-the-face reminder of that.
February 14th tends to get a lot of hate, sometimes for good reason. But it doesn’t have to be this negative symbol of what you should be doing differently in your love life. On the contrary, I think Valentine’s Day can be turned into a positive reminder, one that we tend to overlook most days out of the year: to make ourselves a priority, too.
In the midst of the daily tasks that keep us busy, it’s easy to forget that self love should come first. That when you’re not taking care of yourself, life essentially becomes stressful and difficult to manage. And when we don’t to take time out of our day to love ourselves, the way in which we love other people can get distorted. You hear it all the time, you can’t fall in love with someone else until you love yourself first. It’s easy to roll our eyes, shake our heads, and say to ourselves “that’s a load of baloney” — but the fact is it’s true. When you continually put others before yourself, you will eventually exhaust your ability to be happy. And this can lead to blow ups, arguments, resentment, and a lot of pent-up negativity towards those people that mean the most to you.
So this holiday, before you venture out with your loved ones or celebrate single-hood with your gal pals, set aside a little time for yourself. And if self love is a struggle for you, here is a list of ways to start on that path:
How many times have you made a mistake and your first reaction was to hate on yourself? We all do it. I’m especially guilty of self-deprecating thoughts any time I fail, mess up, or do something embarrassing. The first step towards self love is nipping those negative thoughts in the bud the second they start to form. Being hard on yourself will not get you very far. Instead, remember that everyone messes up, we’re all entitled to mistakes, and to err is to be human. Give yourself a pat on the back for having the courage to fail in the first place, and then learn from the incident. For every negative thought you have about yourself, try to think of something positive to combat it. Soon, you’ll start to notice a mental shift in how you view yourself.
Take Care of Your Body
Did you drink water today? When was the last time you exercised? Or cooked a meal versus going out to eat? Did you get enough sleep last night? Have you had a physical or dental exam done in the last year?
You’d be surprised by how much abuse we put our bodies through. And when we’re young, we might not see the consequences of those choices right away, but they will catch up with time. So make those necessary changes to your daily routine. Make sure you’re taking your medications, go to bed at a reasonable hour, take a walk on your lunch break, skip fast food this week, and stop drinking soda. A little change goes a long way towards feeling better, both mentally and physically. This body is your only body, so make sure you are treating it right.
Make Your Mental Health a Priority
Take a break from your smart devices. Journal. Call your mom or your best friend. Vent to your significant other. Stop comparing yourself to others. Go to therapy. There is no shame in taking care of your mental health. Mental health is so underappreciated in this day and age, so it’s easy to forget to take care of that part of ourselves. But your mental well being is of the upmost importance, so learn to recognize when you’re not doing well and seek help. There are a ton of resources for when you’re not operating at your best, so here is a site where you can find local support if you need it.
I don’t mean that as an excuse to go on a crazy shopping spree or buy something extravagant. Just make sure that you are doing things for yourself from time to time that make you happy. Whether it’s taking a nap during the day, enjoying a new book, taking yourself on a date, or finally planning a vacation to that place you’ve always wanted to go to—do something for you. You’ve earned it.
Know Your Worth
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” from The Help by Kathryn Stockett.
This is one of my favorite quotes and it’s a good reminder when you lose sight of your worth. You make an impact on this world and you matter to people, whether you can see that or not. Remember you are beautiful, you are complex, and you are the only you on the planet. Celebrate the things that make you unique and find joy in the ways in which you are like other people, for our similarities and differences bring us all together. Right now you might feel like aren’t doing much or that you don’t serve a purpose in life, but those feelings of doubt are temporary. Know that you are worth so much more as an individual than what society expects of you. Form your own path in life, choose to lead by what makes you happy, and remember that you are special. Never forget that you are worth it.
This is all easier said than done, I know. But just like relationships, self love takes work. It’s a never ending challenge, and you get what you give. So this Valentine’s Day and every day, make sure to show appreciation for the best person in your life: YOU! 🙂