I believe that acts of self-love are an important part of your overall health. They’re something that I try to incorporate into every day, partly to improve and maintain my health, and partly to give myself a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
Self-love is more than just looking in the mirror and telling yourself “I love you”. (Although it wouldn’t be a terrible idea!) It’s about doing things that nourish your body and your soul. It’s about having some little routines throughout your day, or having something that you can step aside to at any time, and find a smile, a deep relaxing breath, and a better place in your mind.
Here are some of my favorite ways to show myself some love:
+ Meditate. There have been numerous scientific studies into the validity of the practice of meditation, and the conclusions all seem to be the same: regular meditation has definite positive effects on the body and the mind. Regular meditation can even drop your blood pressure, and diminish other precursors of heart disease. All it requires sitting your booty down for 10-20 minutes a day, closing your eyes, and focusing inward, perhaps following each breath in and out.
A source that I found really useful in learning to meditate was GetSomeHeadspace.com. They have videos that walk you through it all, and have fantastic free 10 minute guided meditations.
Meditation is not some hokey religious practice. It can be practiced by anyone of any faith, and has real benefits for your life. You may get frustrated when first trying to meditate because your mind will wander quite a bit, but that is completely normal. It’s called a practice for a reason. I still have difficulty focusing quite often, but what matters is that you’re trying.
+ Sip on some hot water with lemon, or herbal tea.
I love to start my day with some hot water with lemon. It’s soothing, alkalizing, and is a great trade-in for acidic, overly-stimulating coffee.
Sipping hot water with lemon or herbal teas throughout the day is a nice way to bring some calm into your life. Just take a moment with your tea, breathe in the steamy vapor, and take a sip. Pretend that the only things in the world are you and your tea. Then get back to life, feeling a little bit better about it all.
I love starting or ending my day with yoga. It strengthens and lengthens my body, has a meditative effect on my mind, and can be a great way to sweat. I’ve found that this is probably my favorite form of exercise. Everyone should be practicing yoga.
If you’re new to the practice I recommend taking a few live classes, but once you have the postures figured out, downloadable online classes can be a very economical way to bring yoga into your life. I love YogaDownload.com. They have free 20 minute yoga classes, and for a small fee you can download 30-60 minute classes to keep for 2-3 months. The cost of the download is less than the cost of a single live yoga class. If you’re super lucky, you might live in an area with free yoga classes. When I briefly lived in a LA about five years ago, I used to take the free classes up in Runyon Canyon Park. It was such an amazing atmosphere.
+ Oil pulling. Oil pulling is pretty much the Ayurvedic version of mouthwash. Basically, when you first wake up, you put about a teaspoon of oil in your mouth, and swish it around for about 20 minutes, then spit it out. I like to use either coconut or sesame oil, sometimes with a dash of oregano oil added to it, for extra antimicrobial action.
The reason for doing this is that when you swish the oil around your mouth, all of the bacteria and other microbes and toxins in your mouth get caught up in the oil, and are then removed from your body. Make sure you don’t swallow any of the oil. You don’t want all those bugs going back into your body.
It’s done in the morning, because your body naturally brings toxins to your mouth while you sleep. This is the reason why you sometimes get a white coating on your tongue in the mornings when you aren’t well. The oil gets rid of all of the junk, leaving you nice and clean. It can also have a whitening effect on your teeth. The Wellness Warrior and Vixi both have great posts on oil pulling.
+ Green drinks.
You know I love me a big alkalizing green drink in the morning! Green juice and smoothies are staples for me, and sometimes I throw in a little something extra like shots of aloe vera juice. They’re packed with nutrients, and are a great way to make your body very happy.
+ Affirmations. I’ve been adding positive affirmations into my daily life lately, and I can already see them making a difference. If you have things you want to accomplish in your life, or if you just want to be a nicer person, it’s easy to develop affirmations to help get those things rolling. For example, I want to be a more loving to everyone, so I developed an affirmation that says, “I show love to everyone that I come in contact with.”
Affirmations should be in the present tense, rather than the future tense. You don’t say, “I will show love”, you say, “I show love”. Your mind translates it differently. When you tell yourself that you’re already doing something, your brain notices the discrepancy between what you’re saying and what is actually happening, and tries to correct it. This makes you more likely to make your affirmation come true.
In the same sense, your affirmation should be in positive terms, rather than negative terms. If you want to use affirmations to help you eat a vegan diet, don’t say, “I no longer eat animals or animal products”. Instead, say something like, “I eat a healthy, plant-based diet that nourishes every cell in my body”. This way, you’re thinking about what should be happening, rather than on what shouldn’t be happening. Whatever you think about the most, is what is most likely to occur.
I have a whole list of affirmations that I look over a few times a day. Repeat each affirmation to your a few times, picturing each one in your head, and feeling how it would feel for each affirmation to be true. The better you can visualize your affirmations coming true, the more likely it is that they will.
+ Read something inspirational.
When I’m tired or stressed, I love to sit down with a good book. This might be a self-help book (I’m currently digging into Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein, The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte, and Perfect Health by Deepak Chopra), the Bible, or whatever inspires you.
+ Dry brush your body.
Dry brushing is a cross between a detox practice, and a beauty ritual. I use a body brush to exfoliate my body before I get into the shower everyday. It removes dead skin to make your skin elegantly soft, and also gets your lymph moving to help your body detoxify itself naturally. I did a whole post on dry brushing, so check it out for more info.
+ Take a bath. Sometimes a good soak is exactly what you need. Bath time can be a wonderful calming ritual. Add some candles and essential oils to make your bathroom into your own personal spa, and add some Epsom salts or baking soda to your bath for some detox power.
+ Eat nutritiously. Kind of a given, but eating clean, whole foods will make you feel better mentally and physically. Your body will have the nutrition it needs to run smoothly, and you’ll be proud of yourself for making good choices for yourself.
+ Give yourself a mani/pedi.
+ Exercise. Go for a run, get on your rebounder, ride your bike, go hiking, go kick a soccer ball around. Do whatever makes you happy, just get out there and move! Your body and mind will thank you.
+ Make art. I’ve never felt like I was an artistic person, but lately I’ve been doing simple art projects to put around my house, and I love the feeling that it gives me. Making art requires concentration, so it can put you in almost a meditative state. Creating beauty is such an incredible feeling for me, and I can help but smile every time I look at something in my home that I put time and effort into.
+ Buy new houseplants, or water the ones that you have.
I’ve been buying houseplants like a crazy lady lately. I love the pops of green around my home, plus they’re also great for cleansing the air in your house. I have a black thumb, so I stick to the easy to care for plants. I currently have some spider plants, a mother-in-law’s tongue, a bamboo plant, an aloe vera plant, and another succulent whose name I don’t know. They’re my babies. I love to spend time watering them, looking at them, and breathing in the fresh oxygen that they put out into my home.
+ Light some candles or incense.
I love having candles or incense lit in my house. The soft glow and the lovely scents are incredibly peaceful to me. Scents like vanilla, lavender, chamomile, bergamot, ylang ylang, and sandalwood are especially relaxing.
I don’t do all of these things daily, but I like to include at least a few of these rituals everyday. Pick the ones that you like the most, and do them. This is all about you showing love to yourself, and treating yourself the way that you deserve to be treated. You are an amazing individual, and pampering yourself and doing things that relax you will help remind you of this fact, and make you feel extra special.
What do you like to do to show yourself some love?