Self love. It’s been a topic on my mind so much lately. Maybe it’s because I spent so long without it. Maybe it’s because I’m trying to figure out now, at 33 years old, how to be my best version. Maybe it’s because not long ago I realized I couldn’t keep going the way I was, but my perspective on taking care of myself dramtically shifted.
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Taking Time for Yourself
More than I ever have before in my lifetime I’ve been focusing on listening to the inner voice. How can I begin to love myself better if I don’t even listen to myself? Being healthy, balanced, and simplifying are daily priorities but I can’t work through those priorities if I don’t take the time to do so. Time is funny - it seems to go wherever you direct it to. I’ve begun in the mornings to sit down and write the top priorities for the entire day. Asking myself the following questions helps ensure I stay on track throughout the day:
What am I doing today to nourish my body?
How can I move my body today?
How do I express my truest self today?
What will I do to allow my body to rest?
How can I glorify God today?
What will keep me organized today?
How will I challenge my mind today?
Each question serves to make sure I am the best version of myself. I wake up so often tired and uninspired, but after I journal asking myself on the above questions my perspective changes. I usually feel happier and lighter knowing my day is not controlling me.
We don’t get into the habit of not taking care of ourselves overnight. It’s not like I woke up one day and said to myself, “I am going to run myself ragged, starve my body of nutrition and gain a few extra pounds from stress and exercise.” I don’t think there are many people in this world who sets out to have a day like that. But I do think we get into small habits resulting in the above scenario. Day after day we chip away at ourselves giving more and more away leaving our souls to run on empty. If prioritizing a million ways to achieve self love seems overwhelming start out small. Set aside just 15 minutes at the beginning of your day for you. Do one activity that makes you feel good. Maybe it’s making tea or coffee. Maybe it’s skincare so spend that time regularly doing facials or slathering on comforting products. Maybe it’s getting to go for a run or sketch. Just start with a few minutes first thing every day. As you make time for yourself regularly, you can then increase as you go.
Stop Playing the Guilty Game
After years of constantly doing things to please others you may find it’s difficult to do something for yourself and actually enjoy it. The thing is, we must enjoy our alone time. We must let ourselves rest when we need to rest. It gives us more energy and stamina for us to focus on loving others. This is your life, your masterpiece, and your legacy. Do you want to be grounded in yourself or do you want to be remembered as someone short tempered and run down? Self love gives us the opportunity to be better as a person. It grounds us and focuses us on our priorities. Feeling guilty about taking that time is the opposite of being grateful for it. Give yourself time and then make the most of it by enjoying each second.
Expect the Worst
It was probably part of growing up in the military but expecting the worst is now a regular thought process. While it can be looked as negative thinking, I’ve found a way to turn it around for better quality of life. As I go through life I expect that my child will wake up early if I have a deadline and try to work last minute. I will be bombarded with questions on every car ride. The laundry has to be folded daily or it overwhelms my life. All of these things happen so how can I prepare myself better for them? I now keep a book downloaded on my phone for delays in meetings. A tripod is always in my car so I can take the time to photograph something I enjoy. Packaging snacks at the beginning of the week ensures I have less to worry about nutrition wise. Expecting the worst makes life run smoother because it forces me to slow down and prepare for the day.
Surround Yourself with What You Love
I love quiet spaces with beautiful surroundings. My nightmare is being in a grocery store the day before Thanksgiving. Chaos increases my heart rate and makes me feel so anxious. I now plan around this. I know I want to eat at a pretty restaurant and not wait in line or for a busy waiter. Now I go in off peak times like 2pm for lunch or a late night week day dinner. I use tools like Yelp to find pretty atmospheres! If surrounding yourself with things you love means staying home in an organized space and ordering pizza then do it! Take a few minutes and jot down the types of atmospheres and settings that bring you joy.
Whether it’s 5 minutes or 5 days of self love, start out with making a list of things you are grateful for. It sounds corny, but we are sum of our parts and being grateful for those parts is the beginning to resting our soul. I now prepare to have a few minutes before going to the nail salon to make sure I have downloaded a book onto my phone to read or have a podcast ready to start playing. I touch my makeup up before going inside and make sure that I have everything easy to access so I don’t have to dig around with wet nails later on.
Be patient with yourself and plan for hiccups. Being able to actually sit down and enjoy a few moments of rest helps improve anxiety and your overall well being. You’ll find that your thought process improves as you improve the ability to enjoy more, do less and feel better. I’m all about sharing the love and want to know how you guys make time for yourself? Is it daily, weekly or monthly?