Our fearless guide to self-love
We’re all aware of the theory of self-love, but how often do we put it into practice? Consciously and consistently showing ourselves love is not a luxury, it’s a necessity – especially in a time when our resilience is being tested like never before. Far from being an airy-fairy concept, psychologists attest to the fact that self-love and self-compassion are critical to our mental health and wellbeing1. And we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ve put together a list of fearless tips to help you keep the self-love alive.
- Whatever you do, do it daily
Exercising our self-love muscle regularly is vital to reaping the rewards of our practice. You can vary your self-love routine as much as you like, depending on the day and the time you have available. Some self-love techniques however can be practised all day long, like progress not progression and talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.
- Progress not perfection
Focus on the progress you’re making in working towards your dreams or changing your habits. We tend to be extremely harsh on ourselves when we don’t achieve perfection in everything we do – from sticking to an exercise routine and reaching career milestones to being the ideal mom and partner. The important thing to remember is that we’re always learning and growing, and to meet our perceived mistakes or failings with self-compassion rather than self-judgement.
- Relaxation techniques for a calmer body and mind
There is great power in the simple act of breathing. If you’re having a stressful day, spending even a minute breathing deeply, in a quiet space, can reduce anxiety and slow your racing heart rate.
Another method to try is the 54321 grounding technique2 to bring your body and mind back to the present. The technique is easy and uses all your senses. Simply focus on your immediate surroundings and silently name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.
With quick daily meditations, apps like Calm and Headspace are fantastic for unwinding on a busy schedule.
- “Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”
This quote from the fearless Brené Brown, reminds us that how we talk to ourselves really does matter. We cannot love ourselves and achieve our dreams if we’re in constant self-criticism mode, listening to that persistent underlying message: “I’m not good enough.” Would you say this to someone you love? Nope. Never! You would be empathetic, encouraging and supportive. Being more aware of how you speak to yourself can drastically change how you feel – thoughts lead to feelings, so keep those thoughts positive.
- Exercise with patience and self-compassion
Even just a walk around the garden, 10 minutes of yoga or dancing in your living room can be enough to keep your body physically active. Getting a little enjoyable exercise each day is far more beneficial than forcing yourself into an insane exercise regime. Focus on progress not perfection and forgive yourself if you miss a day or two, life happens. While it’s important to remain consistent, remaining flexible in our approach is even more so.
- Nourish your body
Food glorious food! There’s nothing like preparing and enjoying your favourite meal. And with healthier alternative ingredients readily available, it’s easy to adjust recipes to your desired lifestyle. The same goes for what you put into your trolley and what you order at restaurants. Being more mindful of what you eat can greatly improve your energy levels and mood. But again, flexibility is key – if a craving for ice-cream strikes, dig in!
- Nurture your connections
Don’t dismiss the power of a hug from someone you love, a cuddle with a pet or a quick call to a dear friend. Over the last year, we’ve become more accustomed to connecting virtually but there’s still nothing like a physical connection. If that’s not possible, work video calls with friends and family into your daily routine. Venting about a stressful day, sharing a laugh or a cry, are all cathartic ways to relieve stress and increase our good feels.
- Get creative
Ever heard of Creative Therapy? We hadn’t either but we love it! While creative therapy relies on guidance from a therapist, you can still enjoy some of its benefits, on your own. And if you’re about to say: “I don’t have a creative bone in my body” have you tried taking pencil crayon to paper? Colouring in books for adults have become extremely popular in recent years and provide and easy and relaxing way to unwind. Give it a try with our very own printable colouring in page. Download it here.
Before we go, in the spirit of spending quality time, we’re giving away 2 x R1000 Woollies Café vouchers. Enter by sending an email to [email protected] and tell us which of these self-care quality time tips is your favourite.