As February 14th comes around again, it’s important to celebrate the love in your life – be it the love you have with your partner, your friends (curious how to celebrate platonic love? Pal’entine’s Day: Three Ways to Celebrate Platonic Love this Valentine’s Day can give you some ideas), or your family. However, the love that you have for yourself is often overlooked this time of year. It is so important, especially in these tougher winter months to pay attention to your own needs and feelings. We understand how sometimes it is difficult to get away from the commercialised version of ‘self care’ that involves expensive skincare products, treat food, and numerous scented candles. So I’ve compiled a list of activities you can do this February 14th that will make sure you end the day loving yourself and feeling well cared for.
Wake up Naturally
Of course, this particular point only stands if you don’t have a job to get up for. However, if you are lucky enough to have the day off, try letting yourself wake up naturally. Don’t set an alarm for the morning, but get up and out of bed as soon as you wake up. This means you’re not putting pressure on yourself to wake up at a certain time, but you’re also not spending too much time in bed and eventually letting guilt force you up and about. It doesn’t do you any good to start the day off with negative feelings, and this way you won’t have the voice in your head telling you you’ve already wasted half the morning.
Breakfast isn’t only about food – although that is one of the most important parts of your morning! While you make your healthy morning meal, work on being totally aware of what you are doing while you are doing it. Instead of thinking about the stupid thing, you said yesterday, or the work you have to do tomorrow, focus solely on preparing and eating your breakfast. This is called mindful eating and is proven to help with digestion issues, manage cravings, and prevent unhealthy eating habits. Move your body about, do some small stretches, see if you can find any points of tension and relax them. How you are feeling in the morning sets a precedent for the rest of the day, so create some inner calm by doing some meditation – if you struggle with this, try five minutes of guided meditation – and affirmations. If you don’t have any of your own, some great affirmations include ‘I am open to the opportunities that come my way’, ‘today is a good day’, and ‘I am a force of positive energy’.
One of the best ways to look after your body is to work it out, so try to incorporate some light exercise into your day. Go for a run or meet a friend for a quick gym session or, if you’re not into heavy cardio, take a brisk walk through your local park. Forty minutes of good exercise – i.e. enough to get you out of breath – is all but guaranteed to release enough endorphins to have you smiling by the end of it. It also means that you can treat yourself to a yummy, guilt-free snack for lunch!
Get in Touch with Nature
This is a great one to combine with your exercise for the day. It has always been said that fresh air is one of life’s greatest healers, and I have found it to be true. Try to get yourself
outside and in touch with nature, be it a walk by the sea, or a hike through the forest. Mind lists a range of mental and physical benefits from spending time around nature such as easing anxiety or depression, reducing feelings of stress and anger, improving confidence, and reducing loneliness. If you live in a built-up area where nature is a little harder to come by and you don’t have access to a park or green space, try looking for nature. Walk around your local area and keep your eyes open for trees, bushes, birds, or insects. You could even just watch the sky change throughout the day, taking note of cloud formations or light patterns.
Do Something for You
While the rest of the items in this article have been activities that are good for you mentally and physically, it is also important that you take time out for a hobby or enjoyable pass-time. If a cleansing skin routine is your thing – spend a couple of hours laid back with a face mask and your favourite episode of Gilmore Girls (here is a list of episodes to get you ready for spring!). If you’re more of a social butterfly, arrange to meet some friends for a session of window-shopping and coffee. If sitting inside and reading is your jam – do it! In a world where it is more and more difficult to switch off, it is vital to allow yourself to unwind and let off some steam by doing something purely because you enjoy it, and not because it is productive or expected.
So, with this list, I leave you to go and love yourself this Valentine’s Day. Remember that your version of self care is just as valid as anyone else’s, and having a date on Valentine’s Day is way less important than loving and caring for yourself.
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