Rarely would I say let’s all take advice from Justin Bieber, but he really did say it best “go and love yourself.” As we near the infamous Valentine’s Day…some of you may be feeling mixed emotions about this beloved Hallmark holiday. Here’s a small confession….I LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY. I know…cheesy and embarrassing, right? Maybe it stems back to my childhood, when my mom would make heart shaped pancakes, or my Dad would give me the sweetest card and little gift to show his love…or the time my mom organized a Valentine’s Day tea party for me and a handful of my closest preschool friends (yeah, she was a little extra ;)).
I’ve first and foremost, been taught to love your family…and boy, do I love them fiercely and whole heartedly. I jump at any opportunity to express my love for them. I get excited every year to send my siblings little Valentine’s cards…probably more excited than they are to receive them!
In my single days and early twenties, Valentine’s Day became more of a time for me to show love to my friends. My college roommate, and to this day one of my best friends, will roll her eyes at these memories. I was that roommate who made the Valentine’s cupcakes and forced everyone to partake in GALENTINE’s Day esque festivities, which included but was not limited to: hallmark movies, wearing red, decorating our college apartment with gaudy hearts, maybe some red cocktails…you get the picture.
Now, as an engaged (kind of grown up-ish) woman (ew?!…girl?…) I use Valentine’s Day as an extra way to show my guy some appreciation. I’m not talking your typical chocolate hearts and teddy bears. I’m talking real appreciation for the role he plays in my life and continuing to grow as a couple. (More to come on this in a future post, because it is SO IMPORTANT).
What I want you to focus on this Valentine’s Day before you rush out and buy the heart shaped donuts and giant teddy bears, is to take time to LOVE YOURSELF. This was a lesson hard learned, and a lesson I’m still learning. I am a firm believer we cannot love others around us fully until we love ourselves. There were times in my life where I really struggled with this. I found myself in toxic situations, and just really not myself. I lost my spark, my drive, my confidence, and my sense of self worth. Just thinking back on these times makes me cringe, and if you find yourself in this spot now, my heart goes out to you. So, how do you love yourself? There are a million different ways, but I’m going to highlight what has worked for me.
1. Make YOU Time:
My “me” time is my workouts. In summer of 2016 I finally got some courage and tried a workout at Pure Barre. Fast forward to today, and I’m still hooked. The 50 minute classes are my time to zone out and do some good for my body. I’m feeling stronger, more confident, and healthier than ever before. I just crossed the 250 class milestone, and can’t wait to check off 500 classes! Whether your “me” time is a workout, reading a book, or maybe even a nice bubble bath…find something that is JUST FOR YOU and stick to it.
2. Be Kind to Yourself:
This was probably the hardest lesson to learn. Sometimes, when that nasty voice creeps in telling me I’m not good enough, it’s still hard to push it aside. There are different ways to be kind to yourself.
- Give yourself a compliment! Girl, you look amazing in those new jeans! Hey, who cares what people think of your new pink fuzzy coat…if you love it ROCK IT. Don’t let that voice tell you that you are not enough, look in the mirror and compliment your fine self!
- Be kind to your body: I’ve been more conscious about what I am putting in my body and how it affects my overall well being. I’m not telling you to go vegan and throw out all of your snacks. But, maybe pay attention to how certain foods might make you feel. Mix in some greens, swap out some white carbs, add some more veggies to that plate. It’s amazing how what we eat can affect our overall mood. But also, guac…always get the guac. If you need inspiration, check out of my favorite body-loving babes who have inspired me to take better care of myself:
- Say goodbye to the negative Nancy’s: We all have a Nancy in our lives…a negative Nancy. Sometimes it’s even ourselves! When I’m having a grumpy day and I catch myself making rude comments or being super negative, I’ll even announce, “sorry I’m being a Nancy.” If you’ve got a person in your life who is spreading nancy-ness around, I’m not saying to cut them out. I’m asking you to not feed into their negativity. Maybe you have a friend who is always down on herself or others. Next time Nancy makes a negative comment, I would try to spin it into a positive.
Sometimes when all the things just get too tough, a good journaling session is just what I need to take care of myself. Remember those low times I was referring to earlier? A way I got through that was to journal. I wrote out all the negative feelings, jotted down how I wanted to feel, and freed myself of my frustrations. You can journal freehand or there are even some guided journals that I’m loving lately. I’ve linked some favorites below, check time out and take some time for yourself to reflect on the good, the bad, and the beautiful. You will be amazed at what this does for your soul.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, I hope you learn to love it like I do. Take time to love those around you, love your friends, but above all else LOVE YOURSELF, the rest will follow.
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