February is often dedicated to love, because of the feast of St Valentine which falls on the 14th day of the month. And with that in mind we’ve chosen to share our ideas on how to show self-love: being a little kinder to yourself, in lots of simple ways, each day.
Cultivating love for yourself helps to promote wellbeing by improving your self-acceptance and reducing anxiety, allowing you to relax more and sleep better. And taking just a few minutes for a little self-care a day can make a big difference.
1. Talk kindly to yourself
Ditch the negative self-talk in favour of positive affirmations and thoughtful words. Start the morning with a life-affirming mantra, like “I choose to have a good day” or “I let joy be my guide”. We’ve got more ideas in our mantra-focused blog right here. It only takes a minute - but can really set you on the right path for the week.
2. Appreciate the little things
We don’t always need the “big” moments to be thankful for what we’ve got: sometimes it’s the really small things (an unexpected text from a friend, a sunnier morning than we’d planned for, or just a really good night’s sleep) that can bring joy. Gratitude is strongly consistent with happiness, so it really is worth remembering to say “thank you” for something as often as you think of it.
3. Set aside 30 minutes to do something just for you
Whether it’s a spot of gardening, a good read, listening to an old album - whatever you love to do - try and set aside 30 minutes in the morning or evening to do it. If that seems unrealistic, set a goal that works for you, and try and honour that time so you really do spend it on you.
4. Treat yourself to a tasty and nourishing meal
Be kind to your body as well as your mind by eating meals that are tasty and nutritious at once. If you love to cook for relaxation - that’s an added bonus. If you need a little inspiration, we’ve got some ideas on our blog: try this delicious sticky aubergine recipe or these Indian spiced beans.
5. Take comfort in nature
There’s nothing like losing yourself in the beauty of nature to build your happiness and give you a big hug. This doesn’t have to be a full-on forest walk - it could be taking a few moments to watch a bird or squirrel in the park or garden, observing any new flowers that are blooming or spending some dedicated time with your pet. Watch how your dog or cat lives in the moment, and see if you can do the same. It’s a great way to be.
6. Get creative
Nurturing your creativity is a wonderful way to show self-love, and doing a creative pastime means you’re taking time out to do something you enjoy. This could be painting or drawing, playing an instrument, learning a language or even taking a class. And if you find the idea of repairing much-worn and loved clothes truly satisfying, check out the artistry from Flo Greaves who mends and upcycles socks.
7. Make time for friends
Life gets busy, but self-care means finding opportunities to laugh and smile in-between the go-go-go of it all. Arrange time to meet with friends and enjoy memory-making moments. If it’s proving hard to find a time to meet, book in a dedicated phone call when you know you won’t be distracted, and enjoy a chat.
8. Slow down
Finally, take time to stop, relax and unwind. There are lots of things that need to be done, but rather than rushing through from one thing to the next, there can be a sense of great satisfaction in being wholly present in whatever you’re doing right now. Use mindfulness to guide you from moment to moment, to help you to accept your emotions, and, above all, to be compassionate to yourself in all you do.