Self-love has been something with which I have struggled for most of my life. Over Christmas, however, my friend Sage gave me a Self-Love Planner as a last-ditch attempt and saying ‘Hey Shai, you need to realize you kick ass and deserve to love all of who you are, not just the parts people approve of’.
And the planner has worked wonders. As the good ol’ Lucille Ball said ‘Love yourself first and everything else will fall into line’, and oh, is life falling into line. (p.s. I offer this quote on a custom bracelet in my shop!)
So, today, I have rallied together some of my favorite bloggers, business owners, and entrepreneur divas to share self-love tips, because we all need to learn to love ourselves before we can truly love, appreciate, and fully enjoy life as a whole.
1. Get enough sleep - Lack of sleep causes a shorter attention span, temporary loss of short-term memory, an increase in mistakes, and even an increase in poor judgement. On top of that, you just feel like hell when you’re sleepy all the time. You’re going to have a harder time loving yourself if you’re scattered, constantly making little mistakes, and are exhausted.
For me, this is a big one – I average something like four hours of sleep a night. Yes, four. But in January I made the decision to take care of my body more and one of the things I do is stop and sleep when need be. Even if I have a project to finish, I will go to sleep and finish it in the morning, because I’m not going to put my whole effort into it if I’m exhausted. So, I stop, and tackle it again when I’m fully energized, which means I get it done in less time. Funny how that works, eh?
2. Have fun! – I’d pretty much forgotten how to do this one, too. My favorite form of having fun when I’m all alone? Dancing. Did you know that dancing releases the same endorphins that causes the ‘runners high’? Turn up some music, grab a hair brush, and sing and dance your way across your living room in your undies. Tiffany’s ‘I think we’re alone now’ is a good place to start with this one! Not one for dancing and singing? Marilyn Muir from Soft Thistle plays World of Warcraft for a little fun time! You can run, go out with the girls, chase the kids around the park…whatever makes you laugh and smile.
3. On the flip side, give yourself time to relax. Kathy Anne from Wildflower Kath says, ‘This winter, I’ve really “allowed” myself to sync with the season. Get quiet, take it slower, sort of hibernate between regular work. I’ve not really done this before. I haven’t been sick this winter either- which is a first.’ Personally, I’m kid-free every other weekend, and I make it a point to sleep in until around 9:30 or 10. Even then, there are no guarantees I’m getting out of bed – I often pull out my school books and read in bed in my skivvies until I decide it’s time for coffee.
4. Smile! Even if you’re not in a good mood, try to smile. Smile your way into a good mood. This doesn’t work for some people, but for others it works wonders. I wasn’t a believer until I spent a week trying this out and now it’s the first thing I do when I wake up to kids screaming over me at 5:50am because the toddler is sticking the preteen’s stickers to her television, or whatever other chaos with which they decide to alarm me out of bed. It is much easier to force myself out of a bad mood when I’m making a conscious effort, and that effort starts with smiling.
4. Make healthy choices! I know, I know…easier said than done. I have a bad habit of making the choice to do yoga, and not following through as I should. I’m up to four or five times a week, which is really good for me, and I’m now running 4-5 days a week to train for a 5K I’m doing with a group of friends. Exercise, eating healthy, and taking care of your body is important – if you’re not healthy, you won’t feel good and, like I said earlier, it’s hard to love yourself when you feel like crap. It’s also not good self-love to wear yourself out or not take care of your body.
5. Make a list of things about yourself that rock. Almost a decade ago, I found myself in an abuse recovery group, and this is something they had us do on a regular basis. While some may see it as something only people with big egos would do, it’s also important to realize that there are people out there who really struggle to find even just one or two things about themselves that they love. I was one of those people – I couldn’t name anything at which I would good or anything about myself that I or anyone I knew liked (or, so I thought). Make that list. I promise it helps. Do you make an amazing grilled cheese? Add it to the list. Can you tie a cherry stem with your tongue? Add that, too. Take negatives and turn them into positives, too, and then hang that list somewhere visible. Do this often!
6. Change your words, change your mindset - Negative self talk is a self-destructive habit that will make it near impossible to show yourself self-love. Try to focus on being self aware, and turning that negative self-talk into positive action. You are not stupid. You are not lazy – or if you are lazy, tell yourself that you’re not and then prove it. Everyone has different gifts, talents, and personality traits – focus on the positives ones that you have, and let those shine. If there’s something negative about you that you really just don’t like, work on fixing that! Personally, I used to tell myself ‘I am such a bitch’ and ‘My life is so full of drama’. Then, I started telling myself ‘I am not a bitch, and my life does not have any drama’ while, at the same time, deleting the drama from my life and trying really hard not to be a bitch. The latter one was a little harder than I expected.
7. Be You and OWN Yourself! Jen Saunders, editor and creator of Wild Sister Magazine and the Wild Sisterhood, says ‘Most recently, I’ve been loving myself by not pressuring myself to fit into any sort of box, and letting myself be completely ME no matter where I am.’ And, that really is the best advice. I’ve made it a point over the past 6 or 7 months to really start owning and loving the things about me that I had a hard time with before. I always hated being from the south, but I found positive things about it and now find myself smiling and boldly stating ‘Georgia!’ when people ask where I’m from. I’m almost thirty and I still love pigtails and bubbles. I skip through city streets and can be a little obnoxious. I’m okay with that. You should be okay with your quirks, too, even if other people are not.
8. Ditch the Negative Nancy’s – It’s really hard to change your mindset and/or own yourself when you’re surrounded by people who won’t let you do so, even if they’re well-meaning. Late last summer, a chain of events happened that resulted in almost all of my ‘Negative Nancy’ types being eliminated from my life in a very short period of time. My views about myself, my life, and my abilities have completely changed since then.
9. Connect with others! - Find yourself a loving, supportive, awesome group of friends with whom you can connect. After ditching my Negative Nancy’s, I dove head first into the Wild Sisterhood and found several incredible friends, to whom I talk almost daily. I reached out to people I knew in person and loved, and started making time for and plans with them. I’ve made it a point to notice who makes me feel good about myself (even when they’re disagreeing with me), and have brought them into my life on a higher level. Try meetup.com to find a group of people with whom you share interest, join the Wild Sisterhood, or simply reconnect with people you already know – either way, connect!
10. Go easy, start small, and forgive yourself. Did you promise yourself that you would eat better and are sitting here reading with a bag of chips in hand? Or, like me, are realizing you’ve been up for five hours and still haven’t had breakfast? Did you skip running yesterday and don’t have time for it today, either? Tis’ okay, Love, shit happens. Tomorrow is another day, and you can try again!
What tips do you have for self-love?