Do you love yourself? You might have heard it said that in order to love someone else well, you have to love yourself. The good news is that it might be easier than you think to show yourself the self-love you deserve. Here are nine ways that you can love yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually.
1. Move Your Body
Getting enough exercise is great not only for your physical health but for your mental health as well. Even something as simple as going for a walk each day will get your heart pumping, reducing your risk of developing high blood pressure and strengthening your lungs. You might lose weight if that is something that you would like to do for yourself. Exercise also reduces stress, minimizes the effects of depression, and can help alleviate anxiety. The CDC recommends that adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day; children and teens should get closer to an hour per day. You can break this up into several sessions. Or, if you are currently sedentary, try adding 10 or 15 minutes of movement to your day to increase your health.
2. Focus on the Positive
It can be easy to get into a pattern of negative thinking. Instead, try to be mindful of this tendency and choose to focus on the positive. Challenge yourself to think of something positive that did or will occur as a result of something that you would otherwise perceive as negative. For example, rather than lament that the weather is chilly and rainy, look for the silver lining: The cool weather makes it a great day to snuggle in with some hot chocolate and a good book. You’ll find that by doing this, you will feel better about yourself and your circumstances.
3. Cultivate an Attitude of Gratitude
One way to snap out of a bad mood and give yourself a gift is to think about what makes you thankful. Every day, you can be thankful to be alive. Even if you have a bad day, the sun still rose and you probably smiled about something at some point. Write down your gratitude in a journal. You can keep a running list or you can write a more in-depth paragraph. If you aren’t sure where to begin, you can even look for gratitude journal writing prompts online.
4. Get Enough Sleep
Many Americans are sleep-deprived, and it shows up in a variety of ways. If you aren’t getting enough rest, you might be more likely to develop depression or anxiety. You might gain weight due to eating the wrong foods in your tired state. You might even get into a car accident or take risks that you normally would not. Show yourself some self-love by ensuring that you are able to get seven to eight hours of shut-eye each night. If you are dealing with insomnia, consider observing better sleep hygiene or seeing your doctor for help.
5. Feed Yourself Healthy Foods
Your body needs good fuel in order to feel and function its best. While hitting the drive-through or grabbing a bag of chips from a vending machine is easy and convenient, you already know that it’s not the best way to take care of and love your body. Make the effort for some self-love by preparing healthy meals. Taking a bit of time to slice up fruit, whip up a healthy veggie dip, or put healthy meats and vegetables in the crock-pot ahead of time will make it easy to grab the right types of foods when you feel those hunger pangs.
6. Self-Love Means Spending Time Getting to Know You
In today’s go-go-go world, it can be hard to find the time to simply sit and think and reflect. It is important for self-love that you take the time to get to know yourself, what you like, how you feel, and what you think about certain issues. Set aside 15 minutes each day to simply sit and journal or think. You might try meditation or yoga to help bring about even more self-awareness. If prayer is a part of your life, take time for that, too.
7. Tickle Your Funny Bone
It’s fun to laugh, and finding the type of humor you enjoy is an act of self-love. Do you like stand-up comedy, subtle puns, funny cat videos, or slapstick humor? Maybe you enjoy parodies or simply laughing with friends over dinner. Whatever makes you smile, take time to add some of it to your week. Laughing is even more fun when it’s shared with others, so try to find a friend or family member who has a similar sense of humor so the two of you can laugh together!
8. Set Healthy Boundaries
An important way to show love to yourself is to set healthy boundaries in your life. Is there a person or situation that makes you feel bad? Toxic relationships and unwanted activities can be a drain. While sometimes you have no choice but to deal with a person or to follow through on a commitment, look for ways to place boundaries on your time or your feelings. Can you limit yourself to seeing a difficult family member only once or twice per year? Maybe you can drop a volunteer opportunity that is causing you more strife than pleasure. If you can’t stand your job, dust off your resume and look for a new one. Do what you can to make yourself happy.
9. Seek Professional Care When Needed
If you are having a hard time loving and being kind to yourself, professional therapy might be a good option. You can talk to a counselor about what you’ve tried and how you feel; he or she will likely have some suggestions for how you can take better care of your whole self. Ask your primary care doctor for a referral or look for a counselor who participates with your health insurance. Your self-esteem and sense of confidence are worth this investment in your future!