In popular culture, Valentine’s Day is usually all about the love your show for a special someone in your life. We do things like buying flowers, chocolates, and expensive dinners to show our love and affection for this special someone. Being in love is great! We have more energy and a more positive outlook in life. In addition, research has shown that love is beneficial to our physical health as it stimulates the production of oxytocin the hormone which helps alleviate pain. Other health benefits include lowering stress levels and blood pressure.
It is clear that being in love is beneficial to us. However, have you stopped to think about loving yourself?
As the old saying goes: ‘You have to love yourself first, in order to let someone one love you.’ Why not make this day about loving yourself as you cannot truly love someone without loving yourself first. Because loving ourselves is vital to our well-being and general happiness, shouldn’t it be obvious that we focus our efforts into falling in love with ourselves. In light of this and in honor of the designated day for love, here are 3 transformative ways you can mindfully practice self-care and love yourself better this Valentine’s Day and beyond.
What is Self-Care?
Before we begin, I would like to highlight the importance of self-care as it is a vital tool to help manage stress. In general, a bit of stress is good for us, as it keeps on on our toes. However, too much of it and it could cause serious health problems. Taking time off to do self-care can break this cycle.
Furthermore, self-care can make us more efficient, concentrate better and raise our energy levels.
Self-care can also make us more effective, focused, and energetic, and can ward off a variety of health issues.
So you might be thinking, what is mindful self-care. This type of self-care is much more than just going on a holiday, treating yourself to a spa day or other suggestions given with good intentions. These suggestions are a short term solution as they are based on a temporary reward.
Instead of just a short term solution that just fixes the symptoms. I would suggest a mindfulness-based approach to health care would be a better long term solution.
Mindful self-care is all about having a few easy to implement practices and habits that expands your capacity to deal with life.
Mindful self-care keeps you fulfilled, satisfied and makes you feel loved so that you can have the capacity to love and care for other people in your life. This can be anyone, to your friends, children, family members and the people you work with.
Practice Mindful Self-Compassion
Self-compassion or self-love may be a concept that is unfamiliar to some who grew up in troubled homes where self-compassion is in short supply. It refers to the way in which you relate to yourself with kindness. This is different from pride or conceit which is rooted in a lack of self-love and compassion to one’s self.
For the operational definition, we will have to refer to Kristin Neff, associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin’s department of educational psychology who coined the term. She defines self-compassion as: “kindness toward the self, which entails being gentle, supportive, and understanding. Rather than harshly judging oneself for personal shortcomings, the self is offered warmth and unconditional acceptance.” In other words, you need to mindfully treat yourself better and with kindness and not be harsh on yourself.
A great way to do this is to be mindfully aware of the overly harsh and self-defeating thoughts that you have. When you encounter the overly critical voice in your head that is belittling your self-worth. Fight back. Write down a list of ten things you like about yourself. Whenever these thoughts arise, bring up this list and remind yourself of your self-worth. Make the choice to not let these thoughts get in the way and move on from there.
Learn to Let Go
I’ll be the first to admit, this is still rather challenging for me. It took me a long while to come to the realization that you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. I came to accept that limited as I am, I am unable to help and change everyone. I learned how to set my own boundaries and give help when it is wanted. More importantly, I had to learn to detach myself and know when to walk away.
You will have to come to terms with the fact that you cannot save the world. Although you can show love and kindness to others. You cannot let it consume you and your responsibilities. At times, you just have to let it go.
Start Your Day Right by Positively Affirming Yourself
Start each and every day by affirming something positive about yourself. This could be anything. Maybe you were able to deal with a stressful situation brilliantly. Maybe the project you were working on at work was acknowledged. Even something simple like acknowledging that you were able to resist a sinful treat and keep to your diet is worth noting.
This puts a positive spin to your day and starts you on the right note. All the small things that we tend to overlook can really make a difference in your life. Being more mindful of the positive things in your life will slowly but surely revolutionize your mindset.
I hope that you will take the time to implement this mindful self-care practices to love yourself better and improve your well being this Valentine’s Day. To help you along with this mindfulness journey, do consider joining our IUIGA community. In this group, all of us would encourage each other to share more about being mindful and how to live a life of mindfulness. In addition, you will receive mindful tips and grow together as a community alongside some exclusive giveaways and collaborations. What are you waiting for?