By Audrey Oliver
Summit Veterinary Referral Center, Social Work Intern
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection.”
True self-love is an unconditional feeling of love, appreciation and acceptance of yourself; it is being committed to inner peace, expansion and gratitude. With every act of self-care, or self-love, your authentic self grows stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self-care, or self-love, is a powerful declaration that you are more and more on your own side.
Self-love is something we may put on the back burner when we become too busy with work, family, and other responsibilities – this is understandable. However, it is essential that we recenter, refocus, and reground ourselves on a regular basis. It is our responsibility to confront ourselves over and over again until we are the clearest, stillest channels for our spirits to exist within – otherwise, we cannot grow and thrive. After all, we are stuck with ourselves forever – so the relationship we have with ourselves must be cultivated mindfully.
Here are 14 self-love ideas you can incorporate into February (and any other month!) that may help you feel more at peace with, and more loving toward, yourself:
- Take yourself out for a nice dinner and/or movie
- Paint, or do any type of art that allows you to express creatively
- Write it down! (you can write poems, a book, or keep a daily journal)
- Spend time with animals – there is no connection like the inter-species connection!
- Spend time in nature, go for a walk/hike, have a picnic, relax at the beach
- Unplug from social media, or all technology. And yes, that means no Netflix or Hulu!
- Practice breathing exercises and/or meditate; practice mindfulness
- Write down your goals for the week, month, year – include steps to accomplish these goals
- Listen to your favorite music and DANCE!
- Start a gratitude journal; write down things you are grateful for
- Write a letter to your younger self
- Stretch or do yoga for 30 minutes
- Fill your body with food and drink that nourishes it and makes it thrive
- Use soothing or invigorating essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety, like lavender, vanilla, and lemon
Remember: By practicing self-care, we give ourselves a chance to step away and breathe, thus avoiding burnout – because it is not just physical energy and strength that are threatened by doing too much for too long, it is also focus and mental health and well-being.
The more we practice acts of self-care, or self-love, the stronger, and healthier, we become. So take the time to love yourself today. And tomorrow. And always. Because you deserve it.