It’s that time of year again! Love is in the air and heart shaped chocolate is on the shelves. Whether you love Valentine’s Day or hate it, hearing about it is pretty unavoidable. I find it is the holiday people are most opinionated about. The die hard romantics swoon, the cupid scrooges scorn this so called “Hallmark Holiday,” and then people like me love it mainly for on sale candy on the 15th. One thing that I really do like about Valentine’s Day is the reminder to take a step back and show your love. Unfortunately, we often neglect ourselves in the wake of this holiday. New Year’s resolutions are broken and winter is dragging. We need to all take time to show ourselves some love this time of year. Here are some of my favorite self-care tips:
I cannot stress how important this is! Despite all of the candy everywhere, you need to take a moment to eat like you love yourself. Much on some fruit, try a vegetable, make sure you are getting enough protein. These are all little things that we know how to do but we tend to backslide after the fitness push in January. It’s hard to take care of yourself emotionally when you are off balance physically. While you are at it, drink some water. It’s amazing how much better I feel when I’m hydrated! Little changes in diet can make you feel so much better and can give you an energy boost!
A small disclaimer here: I’m not saying to pretend your life is great and that you don’t have any pain or problems. That’s not realistic. However, if we look hard enough, I think we can all find a few things in our day that we are thankful for and it’s important to take a moment to focus on the positive aspect(s) of our day. Today, I’m grateful for my silly cat who decided to hunt snowflakes on my balcony. I’m thankful for a small glimpse of sunshine and this freezing winter day. I’m also thankful for this cold medicine that is keeping me able to breathe through my nose for a few hours! It doesn’t have to be anything huge. Don’t try to fake yourself out with this one either. For example, don’t try to guilt yourself by saying’ “I’m grateful for these leftovers because I at least have food,” when you are sick of the third day of reheating that casserole. Personally, I hate leftovers and I rarely make myself more than a serving of food at a time because of it. Being grateful for a few things isn’t meant to make you feel like you have to think about how badly others are doing, it’s meant to help ground you in the positive even if it’s been a really crappy day.
Get a clean start
It’s never too early for a little spring cleaning. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, try to get some fresh air in your home and clean up clutter. Dust off the ceiling fans and check the filter on your vent. Set a date with yourself to get rid of any yuck that has piled up. If you can, it’s a good time to go through closets and part with old things. Do you really want that sweater mom bought you for Christmas? If your weight loss plan is going well, do you really need your fat pants taking up space? Something else to consider: a lot of the cleaners we use have super toxic chemicals. It’s actually kind of terrifying what we put in our homes and absorb into our skin in an effort to clean. This may be a good time to start making little swaps that are great for your health. It makes me nervous not knowing what I’m cleaning my dishes with. After all, my food is going on them and any toxins left on the plate will end up in me! When was the last time you cleaned out your medicine cabinet? Now is as good a time as any to do a complete over hall and take out all the old, expired medicine and cosmetics that have made their way to the back. Show yourself some love by treating yourself to a truly peaceful home. Make room for new things you can enjoy rather than old and potentially toxic things that will harm you emotionally and physically.
Do something that makes you happy
Do you have a hobby that has been pushed aside? Do you have a book (or book shelf) collecting dust while waiting to be read? Maybe you have a board full of unmade recipes that you have been wanting to try. Now is a perfect time to do these things. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. It just has to be somethings you think will make you smile. A little joy goes a long way. It’s important to have hobbies to distract us and help us recover from the stress of life. It’s not healthy to be stressed from work only to come home to heaps of bills and an hour of negative news stories. Take advantage of the Valentine’s season and make a date with yourself to embrace a positive part of your life. You might find something new that you like. If your recipe/craft doesn’t turn out like the picture, you will at least have a good laugh and an excuse to try again next week! Give yourself permission to do something that will make you happy!
This can be a tricky one. As an introvert, it’s something I really struggle with. The idea of going into a crowd of people (and by crowd, I mean a group of 5 friends) can feel overwhelming. I have a plethora of reasons not to go somewhere. The problem with avoiding these small outings is that it often makes us feel disconnected. You don’t have to be out at a huge party or talk about the meaning of life. Just find a few positive people and to hang out with. Ask them out for coffee or lunch. I like going out to food with people because there is a set end time with it. That way, I can avoid the panic of parties that seem to drag on for ages. Find that person you can vent to who won’t drag you down with small talk. Sometimes it’s nice to just have that adult conversation with a friend who not only understands your struggles, but also trusts you enough to share her own.
This is a time of year that seems to drag. Winter is far from over and feels endless. Going for a walk requires 7 layers, while driving anywhere means unburying your vehicle and hoping the roads are plowed. It can be pretty easy to feel down from everything. Be sure to take care of yourself. Your physical health is just as important as your mental health. Make a commitment this Valentine’s season to love yourself enough to treat yourself right. Be your own Valentine!