Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating your sweetheart – but when’s the last time you’ve taken care of you? There are endless iterations of the saying, “You must love yourself first before you love anyone else.” It’s a cliché for a reason: It’s true. This Valentine’s Day, then, take the time to practice a bit of self-care and its companion, self-love. Here are our tips.
Find your movement and do it mindfully.
We’re not the first ones to tell you about the myriad of benefits – mental, physical, and emotional – of exercising. But many of us still see workouts as drudgery, pounding away at the treadmill even though we hate running. While doing this might keep you slender, it doesn’t keep you well. Find the exercise that actually makes you happy: Long walks with your pet, fast-paced cycling, dance classes. Experiment, discover what you like to do, and then engage in that activity mindfully and regularly.
Make your own food.
There’s something incredibly loving about cooking your own food: You’re literally taking care of your body. This is especially true because we tend to be healthier and more connected when we make our own food. Aim to feed yourself with things like omega-3 fats (nuts, avocados), antioxidants (berries), and vitamins (greens, veggies). And don’t be afraid to end the day with some dark chocolate.
Read, write, and draw.
We spend so much time mindlessly scrolling on our devices – no one wonder we collectively feel distracted and disconnected. Reading, writing, and drawing are simple ways to reconnect with yourself and find feel-good focus. These activities not only fully engage us (try multitasking while reading a great book); they can act as a powerful means for self-expression and self-exploration. Try putting away your phone and reading before bed, journaling in the morning, or buying a sketchpad and doodling when you feel anxious.
Establish feel-good rituals.
Don’t roll your eyes – this sounds heady, but it’s not. A feel-good ritual could be as simple as a nightly skincare regimen, a weekly manicure, or monthly massage. It’s pretty clear why these things make you feel good – we defy someone to dislike a massage – but the key here is doing them with regularity. By doing so, you are telling yourself constantly that you deserve to be treated well.
Pay it forward.
In times when you feel particularly down, it can hard to take care of yourself. In those instances, find opportunities where you can pay it forward. In his book Tools of Titans, author Tim Ferriss wrote that he when he felt low, he would do things like buy the person next to him in line a cup of coffee or give a stranger a compliment. He found that these were profound gestures and that paying it forward was a powerful form of self-care.