February is officially the month of love, which is great. Love is fun, makes us feel invigorated, and usually involves chocolate. We love love!
But, we also know that the whole Valentine’s Day thing can be a bit of a drag for some people. If you’re single, or if you’re in a non-traditional relationship, seeing the rest of the world celebrate their happy situations with heart candies, hand holding and roses can be a little icky.
So, this month we’re encouraging you to focus instead on the most universal (and important, if you ask us!) type of love there is: self-love.
What is it?
We’re talking about the kind, loving ways you treat yourself. Putting your own wellbeing first, cherishing your uniqueness, being generous and avoiding negative self-judgement.
How to love yourself
Most of us are harder on ourselves than anyone else. Learning to swap out your criticism and self-doubt for uplifting, encouraging thoughts can feel impossible – especially when so many of our negative feelings and thoughts happen unconsciously. To build a new rhetoric with yourself, you need to actively instill positive habits.
Here are our top five tips for how you can get better at loving yourself:
1: Get creative
Creativity is an expression of self, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Spending time on activities which encourage self-expression – be it painting, writing, sculpting, music, or whatever takes your fancy – is a great way to get a little self-love in your life. The key is to approach your creative pursuits from a non-judgemental perspective. Forget what the outcome is, and enjoy the process.
2: Prioritise your health
Your body is your temple. It’s an old saying, but really does stand the test of time – when you’re treating your body well, your mind and emotions will naturally follow. Fuel your body with food and drink that is nourishing, and invest time in self-care routines that make you feel cherished.
3: Embrace gratitude
Find something to be grateful for every day. It’s inevitable that you are going to have your down days. This is fine and very human of you. It’s especially important on these days to find at least one thing you are grateful for as it helps to shift your mind and energy around what’s going on.
4: Tune out that inner critic
The way your talk to yourself has an enormous impact on your life, happiness, and well-being. Take notice of your self-talk patterns and make a conscious effort to replace negative messages with more positive statements. Struggling to find the positive? Try imagining you’re talking to a friend rather than yourself – we usually find it much easier to find the love when we’re encouraging our buddies! So take that kind, compassionate perspective and turn it back on yourself.
5: Go easy
Self-love takes practice and persistence, so don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a dramatic change overnight. Learning to love yourself is a practice that can take a lifetime to master, and there’s no finish line to reach. It’s about being kind to yourself every day, recognizing where you’re doing a great job and where you can improve.