It’s Valentine’s Day month; regardless of whether you have a sweetheart, love should always start with the most important person: yourself. Self-love can feel daunting to many, a vague set of rituals that take up time you may feel you don’t have.
It doesn’t have to be this way! Science shows that a minimum of self-care can have enormous benefits. We’ve selected a few, low-lift practices to start your journey to self-love, one small step at a time—no equipment necessary!
Radical Acceptance of Your Emotions: Ever notice that you are trying to push away a thought or emotion? What happens to it? It usually lingers and might even get more acute, or hinder your ability to think clearly. Radical acceptance is fully acknowledging the emotion—not necessarily condoning it or accepting the circumstances around it, but trying to look at it like a leaf on the surface of a lake. This is one small step towards accepting ourselves.
Mindfulness: Mindfulness helps us lighten our load and let go of feelings that might be weighing us down. Mindfulness is not trying to quiet the mind, but rather intentionally living with awareness in the present moment. One easy mindfulness exercise: sit quietly for 5 minutes. Make a sensory inventory, a short list of 2 items in each of the following categories: something you can smell, something you can hear, something you can taste, something you see, something you feel.
Listening to your body: Try to spend one day listening to exactly what your body is telling you. This can include: not settling an alarm in the morning, checking in several times a day for a few minutes to ask yourself what sensations you are feeling (hunger? Thirst? Do I feel hot or cold), or saying a few things to your body in the morning, such as the following:
I love you just the way you are.
I thank you for all the things you’ve done for me throughout my life.
I respect you for all the things you do for me daily.
Have a great Valentine’s Day!