During the holiday season, you might be spending countless hours shopping for gifts for others. Don’t forget about yourself! But rather than (or in addition to!) splurging on the latest electronics or new clothing, consider giving yourself the gift of self love. It doesn’t cost any money and it will make you feel great. Read on for some tips on loving yourself and showing yourself the appreciation that you might usually be saving for others.
What Does Loving Yourself Mean?
Think about the way you treat others — both loved ones and strangers — and compare it to the way you treat yourself. Many people are kind and loving to those around them, even people they don’t know. Those same people might be hard on themselves, though; instead of giving themselves the benefit of the doubt and focusing on the positive, they might dwell on the negative and treat themselves unkindly. If this thinking sounds familiar to you, it might be time to begin focusing more on self love.
Start Your Day Off Right
As soon as you get up in the morning, there are some things you can do to help your day get off to the best start possible. For example, try getting up a little earlier than others in your household, particularly if you are the one in charge of getting everyone ready for the day and out the door. Even if you are responsible only for yourself, consider how long it takes you to get your morning routine done and leave yourself some extra time so you’re not rushing around.
Spend a few minutes in silence. You can pray if that’s part of your belief system; otherwise, you can meditate. Speak out loud a couple of positive affirmations. Saying aloud that you love yourself and that you are strong and capable can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think about what you’re grateful for, too; this will get your day started with positivity.
Make Physically and Mentally Healthy Choices
How many times have you sacrificed your time for someone or something else and then didn’t have time for your workout and hit the drive-thru window on the way home for a bite to eat? These choices do need to be made occasionally, but if you are always putting your own physical and mental health last, you’re not giving yourself the self love you deserve.
Think ahead about what you have coming up in the next week or so and decide what you can do to make meal prep easier. Can you cook a big batch of soup or a big roast on the weekend and then pack up leftovers for lunch that week? Maybe you can have cut-up vegetables and cubed chicken breast ready to go for a quick salad after a long day of work. If you’re frequently not able to find time for exercise, make a solid appointment with yourself and say no to other obligations. Go to bed early enough to get the sleep you need. Take care of your physical health and your mental health will often follow.
Everyone makes mistakes, and you are no exception. Rather than harping on them mentally for months, years, or even a lifetime, forgive yourself. If a close family member made a similar mistake, you would not continue bringing it up to them year after year; treat yourself with the same level of acceptance and respect. Learn from your mistakes, then let them go. You have a lot of life ahead of you to fill with better choices, so there’s no need to ruminate over a bad choice in your past.
If you find it hard to say no to people, you’re not alone. Showing yourself love, however, sometimes depends on setting boundaries with others. If you have plans to exercise each day before dinner, then unless there’s an emergency, say no to those who want to fill that block of your time with something for themselves. If you dread shopping for clothing, guiltlessly say no to a friend who has invited you to join her at the mall. Give yourself self love by have boundaries in mind and sticking to them; you’ll thank yourself later.
Banish Negative Self-Talk
When you look in the mirror, what is your inner critic saying? If you immediately start pointing out features that you find unattractive, rest assured that you are being too hard on yourself and that no one else is focusing on these traits that you perceive to be negative. Think about your friends and people whom you run into in the course of your days; chances are good that you don’t focus on negative physical traits.
The same goes for non-physical traits. If you tend to run late, you might be tempted to disparage yourself as lazy or unmotivated. The truth is probably that you need some help getting organized. Maybe a planner would help, or maybe going to bed earlier would make it easier for you to get up on time. The first way of thinking is a negative judgment; the second identifies a problem that you can solve. Rather than focusing on the negative in your self-talk, think about what the underlying issue is and look for a solution.
Speak Well of Yourself
Finally, think twice about the way you speak about yourself to others. It’s common for people to disparage themselves and say things like, “I’m not smart enough to understand,” or “I’m terrible with money.” First, just as affirmations can help you rise up to meet whatever positive things are being said, negative talk about yourself does exactly the opposite and becomes a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. Secondly, it’s not loving or kind to yourself to focus on your perceived flaws. Remember the rule you learned in kindergarten: If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.
As 2017 comes to an end and we celebrate the holiday season, consider the ways that you can express self love. Strive to make 2018 a year filled with love and kindness bestowed by you onto yourself. Take care of your needs and don’t be afraid to put yourself first when you are able to; you’ll thank yourself later!