"Fall in love with taking care of yourself.
Fall in love with the path of self-healing.
Fall in love with becoming the best version of yourself, but with patience, with compassion, and respect to your own journey."
I confess that I have for a long time been a bit of a Valentines grinch! Maybe you have similar feelings about the day.
Until ... I started to change my perspective about it. I began to think about love in a different way. Instead of focusing on the romantic type of love - ie. love for another - I try and use the day to raise my self-love vibration. Now, I'm aware that this can be a bit of daunting, even abstract, subject. Despair not! If the concept of self-love seems way too "out there" for you, I'm aiming here to share some simple insights that may make sense.
Be your own cheerleader. This is not arrogance! It's ok to be kind to yourself - in fact it's the first - and the most challenging - step of "self-love". In simple terms, treat yourself as you would your best friend. Would you judge your bestie in the same way you do yourself? Would you speak kindly to your pal who is having a difficult time? Now, make it a habit to begin treating yourself in the same way. With consistent new habits, new self-talk, your brain will begin to be re-programmed to a more self-loving, self-forgiving channel. This changes everything in our life!
Managing a difficult thought. There’s a saying I’ve come across a lot in the context of mindfulness, “What we resist persists”. Mindfulness says, “what we accept, transforms”. When you notice a self-critical or other difficult thought arise, take a few deep breaths into your belly, notice where you feel any tension or sensation in your body. You may say “I feel tightness in my chest/belly/throat etc” or whatever it is you feel, wherever you feel it. Then say to yourself a few times “it’s just a worry/stressful/difficult thought”, take another 5 deep breaths. This allows the thought to arise, and to be recognised, with kindness and compassion. It’s easier for it to move on then rather than lead to other stressful thoughts.
Recognise and celebrate your successes! Make it a habit to give yourself a pat on the back for your wins. However small or insignificant these may seem. Each day we have something that went well in some way. If that seems unreasonable, make it a weekly or even a monthly habit - schedule it in. Maybe you made somebody smile today. Or feel better in some way. Or maybe someone was kind to you today. Or maybe you arrived to work on time, without any stress this morning! Once you begin, there is no end to the daily wins. This will help re-focus the brain on the positives. This in turn has many health and wellbeing benefits, such as lowered stress hormones, increased feel-good chemicals such as oxytocin, or serotonin. This simple new habit, done consistently, can begin to create much greater health and happiness!
Self-love is a practice. Like all good long-term partnerships, it takes commitment and work!
I hope that this article will inspire you to begin practicing more self-love. After all, you have the rest of your life to spend with you, so investing in loving yourself makes good sense to me.
Wishing you a loving Valentines Day!
Article by Kerry White
Kerry is a Workplace Wellbeing Facilitator and Speaker, Motherhood Clarity Coach, Yoga Teacher & Shiatsu Therapist and the founder of Kerry Wellbeing.
Kerry specialises in workplace sessions to help people feel as well as possible, physically & mentally. Through practical and collaborative sessions, Kerry equips people in the workplace with effective tools and insights to help them deal positively with everyday stress, challenges and common health and well-being complaints (including backache, headaches, fatigue and anxiety).
Kerry has brought her unique health & wellbeing sessions to numerous top corporates and organisations, including the World Health Organization (WHO). Because she has spent many years working in pressured office-based roles, Kerry understands the challenges many people experience, both physically and mentally.