by Nicola Lashley
The season of love is upon us and many are planning on showing their loved ones just how much they mean to them. But what about ourselves? When did we stop making the time to self-love?
Whether you’re finding it difficult to fit in some valuable ‘you time’ or struggling with low self-esteem, take a look at these self-care tips and ideas to remind you just how easy it is to look after yourself – and even more importantly, love yourself.
Single? Taken? If you’re looking for an easy way to make Valentine’s Day a little more interesting new ways – check out blog post instead!
Make low self-esteem a thing of the past
Did you know that the UK has the second to lowest level of self-esteem in the world? A recent study conducted found that only 20% of women are happy with the way they look, while 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health problem every year.
The figures are shocking, but do they surprise us? Whether we’re taking part in a self-deprecating mirror session or convincing ourselves that we aren’t good enough for that job, low self-esteem is spreading and affecting men, women and children of all ages.
So, how exactly do we tackle it? The shift doesn’t happen overnight, but the journey may be shorter than you think. Here are four steps to get you started:
- Focus on your positives
Next time you look in the mirror and catch yourself ready to deliver yourself a negative comment – stop! Over time this negativity builds, ingraining itself in our subconscious minds, drastically decreasing our self-worth. Instead, mindfully shift your focus to something you truly love about yourself. It’s easier than you think and makes for a great daily practice while brushing your teeth!
Believe it or not, correlations are frequently made between exercise and increased self-esteem. Thankfully, this doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym six times a week. Gentle exercises such as swimming or yoga are great ways to clear your mind from overactivity and help you channel your inner god or goddess.
- Stop the comparisons
Why do we access our self-worth based on the success or appearance of others? This dangerous habit wreaks havoc with our self-esteem and limits our ability to appreciate the beauty not only in ourselves but in others. It’s important to remember that praising another’s beauty (internal or physical) can never jeopardise your own. Spread the joy you find in your observations by passing on that compliment – you might just make someone’s day!
4. When someone compliments you, listen to them.
When someone offers you a compliment, do you find yourself responding with denial, disbelief or rejecting it entirely? Compliments aren’t something we should necessarily rely upon but sometimes another person’s praise can shine a light on the beauty that we never realised was there. So, the next time someone gives you a compliment…accept it.
“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Mary Dunbar
Acceptance and Forgiveness
If you’re juggling several balls at once, eventually one will drop. Mistakes and hurdles are a natural part of our lives, but what proves crucial is our ability to accept, forgive and learn from them. As much as we like to take on the role of superhero, it’s important to realise that mistakes and knockbacks don’t affect our abilities or capabilities. So, the next time the ball drops, fight the temptation to give yourself a hard time. Breathe, accept and take on what you’ve learnt. Not only will this help repair the cracks in your confidence but, acceptance makes for an excellent method of stress relief.
“Happiness can only exist in acceptance” – George Orwell
What better way to love yourself than to truly get to know yourself?
When your schedule is tight and your diary full, start your day right. Meditation gives us the chance to understand ourselves on a deeper level and goes hand in hand with the practice of self-love. When in a meditative state, blood flow to the parasympathetic nervous system is increased. This effective use of stress-management promotes happiness, wellness and a healthy dose of self-indulgence! Not to mention that quiet time you’ve been craving…
“Meditate … do not delay, lest you later regret it.” – Buddha
Too busy to fit in a bath, a proper lunch break or an eight-hour sleep?
Often, we’re run so raggedly that we overlook our body’s basic requirements. While sleeping may seem overrated against that looming deadline, simple maintenance and body care are crucial to our happiness and wellbeing. It may seem obvious, but there is no better gift to your health and wellness than eight hours’ worth of sleep, three regular meals a day and some quiet time. Easy, right?
“I have so much to do…that I am going to bed.” – French Proverb
Whether it’s finally booking in that weekend away or a long-overdue appointment with the book you’ve been dying to read, switch off your phone, close the laptop and enjoy some well-deserved time out.
It may seem effective to go through your day at 100mph, but separation from work, studies or just the stress of everyday life is essential. When on the go, our energy system struggles to keep up. Without the support of the energy system, we can experience fatigue, illness and even a lack of self-confidence. So, the next time you’re planning your week, make sure you dedicate time to enjoy some self-love.
For more tips on how to tackle pace in your everyday life, check out our ‘Three ways to stay Mindful today’ blog post.
Nicola is an English Literature student based in Kent. Natural health and wellness have been at the centre of her growth since her brother introduced her to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) 4 years ago. Nicola practices yoga and meditation, with her main interest being in Tai Chi – particularly the practice of Qi Gong. As her journey continues, finding every opportunity to combine her learnings into everyday life.