Strategies for self-love
By Taylor Shillam
February, the month so often associated with love, is the perfect time to direct some of that love back to yourself.
It’s often easier to give love away than to receive love, let alone provide it for ourselves. Self-love can sound like a cliche term or an unnecessary notion, but in reality, it’s an essential component of living well. The more we give and the busier we get, the more critical it becomes to prioritize time to refill our own cup.
While you’re connecting with loved ones this month, remember to keep a strong connection to yourself. A bit of daily self-love can go a long way—below are a few simple ways to incorporate self-love this month and beyond.
Listen to yourself. Self-love starts with the way you speak to yourself. If your inward thoughts don’t mirror the supportive, constructive way you would speak to someone you care about, it’s time to shift your perspective.
Changing the tone of your inner dialogue to be kinder and more uplifting can quickly help you feel more loved and inspired. Thoughts are powerful foundations that shape your outlook. Be intentional in building a healthy foundation for yourself.
In addition to positive thoughts, take regular inventory of your mental and physical well-being. Take note if you’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, tired or in a rut—all signs to slow down, recharge and reevaluate.
Pay just as much attention when you feel uplifted, recharged and positive, so you can spend more time on what ignites those feelings in you.
Treat your body like the valuable vessel it is. Part of loving yourself is celebrating all the incredible things your body does for you each day. Prioritizing care for the most valuable vessel you’ll ever have is a critical component of self-love.
Keep mood-boosting endorphins flowing by identifying the forms of movement that make you feel good and doing them on a regular basis. Your muscles, joints and happy hormones will thank you for the regular breath of fresh air.
Daily consumption of the whole foods that energize and fuel you, while including the foods you love and crave, encourages a balanced, sustainable approach to fueling your body.
When you eat well and move often in a healthy balance, it doesn’t take long to start glowing from the inside out.
Nourish healthy relationships. Pay attention to the people who make you feel more loved, more appreciated and more like yourself. Healthy relationships can boost your self-love, simply through the love you receive from those key people in your life. Whether that circle is large or small, quality is what matters most.
On the flip side, identify the relationships that don’t serve you. Take the time to identify toxic relationships that could be in your life—relationships that feel one-sided, bring more negative qualities than positive, or that you’ve simply outgrown.
Prioritizing yourself can mean re-prioritizing who you spend your time and energy on by setting healthy boundaries or stepping away from the relationships that keep you from your best, happiest self.
Leave your comfort zone. Fill yourself with confidence and cultivate a healthy level of self-trust by taking a step outside your comfort zone. Give yourself the opportunity to get spontaneous, try something new, and let go—you can learn a lot about yourself when you let yourself get uncomfortable. An opportunity to be vulnerable can be scary but will give you the opportunity to grow and the powerful knowledge that you can make it to the other side of an uncomfortable situation.
The first step doesn’t have to be big. It can be as small as taking yourself to dinner or exploring a new place. Other highly doable options include taking up a new hobby, attending an event on your own, starting a conversation with a stranger or sharing your feelings with someone. Get creative—and get closer to yourself in the process.
Get to know yourself. Never stop learning about yourself. Every step you take toward identifying your goals, your values, what you love in life and what you want from it, takes you closer to your happiest, most loved self.
Spend time with yourself, whether it’s a few minutes of daily journaling or meditation, or taking a solo adventure. The more you show up for yourself and learn about yourself, the more you’ll have to love.
Identify what you’re good at—and do more of it. Doesn’t it feel great to be a master at something? Ignite your self-esteem by using your talents, whether it’s making a recipe you’ve perfected, playing a sport you love or exercising your creativity. Playing to your talents can quickly boost your mood and bring you back to more of what you love about yourself.
Celebrate yourself. Life has inevitable ups and downs that shape who we are. Self-love includes loving every part of yourself—your flaws, mistakes and times of challenge—and accepting them as opportunities for growth and strength.
So, celebrate who you are: your wins, your losses, the experiences you’re proud of and the lessons you’ve learned. Every piece of your path matters, and it’s important to recognize how far you’ve come.
As you enjoy February’s focus on love, remember to give some back to yourself. Love takes many forms, but one you always keep with you should cultivate your most important relationship: the relationship you have with yourself.