A Guide To Practicing (Self) Love
by Hannah Reynolds
February is the month of love, but it’s not just about Valentines or Galentines or whatever else you might call it... It’s also the month of self-love. Your relationship with yourself not only defines your relationship with others, but can be the difference between a good month and a bad one.
Here are some tips to stay healthy and feel your own love this February…
- Connect with your community. We sometimes forget that community is one of our biggest sources of immunity - it builds us up, shapes us and provides us with constant inspiration and mental nourishment. But it is also like a muscle, it needs to be exercised and it can also atrophy. As an introvert myself, it can be all too easy to fall back into the hermit lifestyle, especially during a world of WFH. But for me, as soon as I see my friends or walk around the block at sunset, I feel calmer, more fulfilled and happier. You can explore and enjoy your community on your own terms - it doesn’t have to be a night out or expensive dinner with friends, why not go and grab a coffee or go for a walk. Maybe call your mum, sister, brother, grandad, attend a virtual book club meeting… All of these activities help us to stay connected to the community around us - whether that’s a physical community or a virtual one.
- Sleep. My friend's mum sets her alarm exactly 8 hours after she goes to bed that night - it doesn’t matter if she’s going to bed at 9pm or 3am, she knows that her 8 hours of sleep is crucial. Of course, not all of us have the luxury of time but this February, why not try and create a healthy relationship with your sleeping pattern. Good sleep will regulate your body functions, hormones and emotions and help you work more efficiently the next day.
- Keep it moving. For so many of us, we sit behind screens all day and forget to move our bodies. Even if it’s just a walk, or going to the gym, taking a virtual workout class, setting a timer and dancing, dancing naked, pool aerobics or even better moving in nature - whatever floats your boat, just DO it! And hey, even if it’s for only 5 minutes, that 5 minutes could change your entire day.
- Be decisive. Maybe it’s a weird one, but swimming in the limbo of a decision can be exhausting. Give yourself a set amount of time to consider then make the move and don’t look back.
- Nourish your body. Eat whole foods - nothing makes you feel better than fresh fruits & vegetables. It can also be cheaper too.
- Stay hydrated. I know, I know, we hear this all the time! It will help cognition, clean up your skin, and your mood. Get yourself a groovy water bottle - one with a straw (it really helps!).
- Try something new for 30 days. It takes 30 days to form a habit. Remember that motivation is an emotion that passes, so realizing that and not being disheartened when that excitement fades means it’s time to lean on your routine and create the habit.
- Remember you have control over your emotions. Use a cold shower or a few minutes of breathing or meditation come back to your center and realize that you are in control of your emotions. Think bigger than you feel in the moment.
- Practice gratitude. If you’re feeling down, do something to help someone else. In the morning write down five things you are grateful for. It’s all about perspective and it really shifts the lens you view the world.
- Limit screen time. It’s unavoidable, but set a realistic goal. Not looking at your phone an hour before bed or for an hour after you wake-up in the morning. Detaching from the social media void is hard to do when our lives are on it but totally worth it.
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