On this month’s edition of the blog, we are going to chat about all things L-O-V-E!
February is one of the most adored months of the year, and on February 14th we spend millions of dollars as a nation to celebrate our partners and gal pals, and anyone else in our lives that deserve to know how much they are loved.
Isn’t it ironic that on February 14th when the world is buzzing with love and chocolate overload, we focus all of our energy on loving others, or being lonely, but never actually give love to ourselves?
I recently started a deep dive into the world of self-compassion, thanks to the encouragement of my therapist. So, I thought there was no better time to share my new-found wisdom with the world than in the month of love.
Dr. Kristen Neff recently released a new book entitled Fierce Self- Compassion. Her book illustrates the powerful way women must bring together the kindness, empathy, and compassion we possess with the fierce grit, intensity and determination we often lack in order to claim our power and thrive.
Below is a list of 5 things you can incorporate into your routine this month to invite more self-love and self- compassion into your self- care routine!
5 Ways to Love Yourself
1. Put Yourself First
If you’ve ever paid attention during the pre-flight safety briefing given by flight attendants, you will remember that in the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will deploy from the panel above you. You must secure your own mask before assisting others.
If you bank account is drained, you can’t spend any more money.
And yes, as a former flight attendant, I know most of you never listen to the safety briefings, so I am going to say this one more time.
If your battery is empty, you must recharge it.
And one more time for the person sleeping in row 12.
You MUST take care of yourself before you can be prepared to help others.
2. Speak to yourself like you are talking to a friend
Would you tell your friend she looks fat in those jeans? Would you criticizer her for not having a perfectly clean house? Would you tell her she is a bad mom or partner? Or would you tell her she is doing the best she can, and you love her always?
ONLY speak to yourself with words and kindness that you would give to a friend.
3. Nourish Your Body
Eat only good foods, cut sugar and alcohol consumption and drink lots of water. Nothing else matters if you are not giving yourself a solid foundation to work with.
4. Move Your Body
Light gentle movement every day to get the blood flowing and your muscles moving. Yoga, walks outside, swimming, and maybe some light weight bearing activities are all great ways to improve your mood without increasing stress levels.
5. Try Supportive Touch
Dr. Neff speaks about the importance of getting in touch with our bodies. Touch can help us regulate our nervous system after experiencing a stressful or traumatic event, and it can also help us activate our care system. Gently rubbing your arm or holding your hand to your face can be very powerful in reminding yourself that you are safe. My personal favourite is to place a hand on my heart and take a few deep breaths. While I am doing this, I focus my attention on my heartbeat and the rise and fall of my rib cage. It’s a great reminder that I am here, in this moment, and I am safe.
I hope you’ll join me on February 14th (and every other day of this year!) to invite self- love into your daily routines.
If you are struggling with this or would like extra support on how to tailor a self-compassion routine to your needs, ask your therapist for some assistance. Book a consultation to get started.