During the pandemic, it has been harder to realise how important we are to ourselves. Being in quarantine has forced us to spend more time alone, which has affected people in different ways. In times such as these, self-love has never been more important. Self-love is more than just appreciating our appearance. It is prioritising our welfare and acknowledging our boundaries and our boundaries with others. As we transition into being more social, we should take the time to appreciate the things about us that make us unique.
So how do we achieve this? Well, it’s not an easy journey. It takes a lot of time and patience, especially with yourself. It is the ability to realise how you are feeling and act accordingly. Some days will be better than others, but self-love is lifelong and precious. Here are some tips to help you on your personal journey of self-love.
Set your boundaries
This is arguably one of the hardest things to do on your self-love journey. It is not easy to get out of people-pleasing attitudes. Whether it be from upbringing, surroundings or work, it has been ingrained in most people to please others. When we only focus on pleasing others, we tend to forget to upkeep our wellbeing. It’s important to recognise the power of ‘No’. If you are feeling mentally drained, and not feeling well enough to go out to a social setting that you may have planned for, you have the power to say no or replan. An example of a response you could use might be, “I am feeling quite exhausted, and need some time for myself. Can we re-plan when I am feeling better?”.
In our fast-moving world, it’s hard to acknowledge and appreciate the little things. Our friends, family and nature are all things that can provide warmth and comfort. An exercise you can try is writing down 50 things that you are proud of and appreciate. This does not have to be done in one go, this list can keep expanding with every new experience and person. Try contacting someone close to you, and let them know how much you appreciate them.
The 5 Self-love languages:
Developed by Gary Chapman, the 5 self-love languages describe the ways we give and receive love. These are words of affirmation, receiving gifts, quality time, physical touch and acts of service.
Affirmations are positive and reassuring sayings that we tell ourselves daily to support our emotional wellbeing. These can be quotes, mantras or a statement that you need to tell yourself for that day. It can be any time of the day, but usually, they are practised when you wake up or before you go to sleep. Dedicate 3-5 minutes of your time to your daily affirmations which can help you start to love your body and mind. An example of someone who practices daily affirmations to improve self-love is singer Lizzo. She starts the day appreciating her stomach, stating “I love all you do for me, you keep me alive and you keep me happy”.
These are things that feel good for your physical well-being. This can include massages, body movements, skincare etc. You can also use your daily affirmations with physical touch, by moisturising your skin while thanking each body part you touch.
This is time spent alone focusing on hobbies and doing things you love. This can be beneficial for both physical and mental wellbeing. Allow time in your schedule to relax and have time for yourself. Gradually, start to appreciate and love your own company. This also includes prioritising your sleep and physical exercise. Your body is special, and it needs time to revitalise. Listen to your body and allow yourself the time and rest you need.
Receiving gifts is more than material things. Gifts can be experiences, travel or dreams you want to accomplish. Start investing in yourself and your happiness. You can do this by creating a bucket list, with everything that you have wanted to do or achieve. This might be trying a new educational course or visiting a new country. Try to think about what purchases actually bring you joy, and invest yourself in them. Treat yourself to things that make you feel good afterwards, and brings you happiness.
Acts of service
Acts of service can be towards yourself or others, both work! Rearrange your home environment so that it is pleasing to you. Organise your items so that they are both beneficial and joyful to you. Stock up your fruit bowl, and try to arrange healthy meals for yourself to feel good both externally and internally. You could also do acts of service towards your community or those in need. You could volunteer or donate, which leaves us with a feeling of fulfilment and warmth.
The thing to remember on your journey of self-love is that you are deserving of it. The journey takes time and dedication, but the result is lifelong. Focus on your best self, and love what you are and what you have yet to become. Self-love is a powerful force, and it will only accelerate the positivity and love in your life.
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