February is winding down…. Hopefully you’ve spread a lot of love this month! As we finish out the last few days, I have one important question left:
What did you do to love yourself this month?
A lot of times, we get caught up in the day to day tasks, and for many women (and some men, too!) this means taking care of everyone and everything around us, before taking time to take care of ourselves. Spreading love only works well when we’re happy and have love to give! Here’s my quick list of ways to make sure you’re loving yourself each week…
10 Easy Ways to Love Yourself More
1. Change your morning mirror routine: We all do it. Wake up, head to the bathroom and check ourselves out in our bleary-eyed, bed-head finest before hopping in the shower and starting our day. What do you typically notice first? Bags under the eyes? Skin imperfections? Grey hairs coming in? Less-than-toned areas of the body? Many of them are unavoidable to notice, but ask yourself — do you REALLY want to start your day on a negative note? Challenge yourself: During that morning glance, find at least one thing each day to LOVE in the mirror. New haircut? Extra-blue looking eyes today? Progress on last week’s workouts? Find something great about your appearance and take notice!
2. Dress the part: What we wear says a lot about who we are…. if you want to be happy and feel loved, dress the part! Find that piece of clothing that makes you feel awesome – and wear it! Maybe this means getting out of your usual weekend sweats, or taking 5 extra minutes to accessorize with jewelry. Whatever makes you look and feel your best – do it!
3. Recognize Opportunities to be Happy: It’s easy to get stuck in a rut, or routine (as Barney Stinson says “Ted, what’s the first syllable in rut-tine?”), and it’s even easier to make excuses, blame others or circumstances for making you unhappy. Please remember one simple thing: You, and you alone are responsible for your own happiness. I repeat, You and You Alone Are Responsible For Your Own Happiness. No matter what happens during your day, YOU control how you respond to it. The 90 year old lady at the checkout paying in pennies didn’t make you mad, your own lack of patience did. Your husband/wife may do nice things for you, but they are not solely responsible to keep you happy every moment of every day. Partner working late 3 days in a row? Don’t wait around and stew about missing them — take it as an opportunity to eat your favorite foods (and break open that bottle of wine!). Once you recognize those opportunities to take ownership of your own happiness, you’ll find it a lot easier to take advantage of them!
4. Take time to unwind at least once a day: even if it’s only 5-10 minutes. Sit in a dark room before heading to bed and pick out/reflect on the good things that happened during the day. Stare out a window with your morning coffee and daydream about your future goals and plans. Write in a journal, read a good book, listen to your favorite songs, stretch or do yoga, curl up with someone or something special to you. Whatever it is – make it “your” time. No electronics, no distractions, no interruptions. The goal here is to be calm, quiet, and relaxed.
5. SPA DAY!: Contrary to what many think, spa days aren’t expensive when you consider your at-home options! Purchase a few key items (fluffy robe and slippers, new nail polish, loofa, whatever!) and go to town. Like any other appointment, schedule it in advance and arrive on time! My favorite days for this are Sunday mornings at least once every 2 months. Wake up, take a relaxing shower (scrub and buff every inch!), pick up a few massage techniques and pair it with your favorite moisturizing lotion. Then, dress up in your terrycloth finest, and get to work on your hands and feet – exfoliate the rough skin, new polish, whatever you want! It’s amazing how in a relatively short time, you can feel spoiled and relaxed once more.
6. Focus on the GOOD: Yes, we all have to muddle through our fair share of bad news, rough days, boring meetings, whiny kids, or whatever else. But there’s no reason to dwell on the bad things – especially if there’s nothing you can do to improve them! Bad traffic on your way to work? Enjoy the music on the radio. You can’t push the cars out of the way (as much as you’d like to!), so just take it in stride. Surrounded by mean gossip or complaining at the workplace coffee pot? Calmly excuse yourself and go get coffee elsewhere. See someone do something nice for someone? Acknowledge it by either remembering the moment, or actually go up to them and thank them for doing something nice!
7. Buddy up with a positive person: 1. they’re probably fun to be around, and 2. you can learn a lot from them! Notice what they focus on, talk about, wear, act – everything! If you’re finding it tough to be happy every day – ask them for advice! “I’d like to learn to be happier every day, and you seem to always be so upbeat and positive. What’s your secret?” You don’t need to do everything they do, but it might give you a few new ideas!
8. Forgive yourself and be patient: We all make mistakes, have embarrassing moments, make life harder on ourselves, eat that extra tub of ice cream… whatever! Own up to your shortcomings, and forgive yourself of that day’s mistakes! “Self, we totally messed up and forgot about that report deadline. Sorry! Let’s write the next one on the calendar so we don’t mess up again”. Acknowledge the mistake, apologize, forgive, (find a solution to avoid future problems if you can), and move on. Done!
9. Embrace your awesome self!: Are you a champion organizer? World class (even just in your own house) chef? Child chauffeur extraordinaire in your classy mom-van? Killer legs for days? Fantastic sense of style? Beautiful singing voice? Comedic relief or life of the party? Efficient worker? Whatever your best qualities are – embrace them! At least once per day, say “I rocked that project!” or “My butt looks awesome today”, or “All the kids are fed and in bed by 9:00 – woo hoo!” Recognize your own awesomeness. Once you have a solid grasp of how awesome your awesome parts are…..pick a less than awesome part, and improve it to be just as awesome as the rest of you! Realizing your potential, and continually striving for improvement, helps give a sense of purpose and things to work towards in your life. Not to mention, it feels great to accomplish those goals!
10. Perform a tiny act of kindness for someone else at least once a week (or more!). You may think “but this is spreading love, how am I loving myself and keeping myself happy?” Guess what. Most of us strive to be good people. We know what ‘good people’ look like, and we want to do those same things. Good people tend to do nice things for others — open/hold doors, let someone else take the close parking spot, do dishes without being asked so that your partner doesn’t have to, smile and say ‘hi’ when you pass someone on the street, donate items to a local shelter or food bank, shovel a neighbor’s sidewalk, bring a co-worker coffee, buy/make a treat for your children or family, smile and say please and thank you at a restaurant. Whatever it is – do it without expecting anything in return. Do it simply to be a good person and to make someone else smile. You’ll find that making someone else happy gives you those warm fuzzies and helps you to realize that you ARE a good person at heart.
Hate these ideas? Take 10-15 minutes and write down everything you can think of that makes YOU happy. Write down the things you would do if you had an extra hour in your day just for you. Write down how you can take better care of yourself. In essence, make your own “love yourself” list! If you have trouble, look around the internet – there are tons of ideas out there! From what you wrote down, compile a short list of 5 or so items that you want to start with, and put them up on your mirror, in your car, on your fridge – wherever you’ll look every day. Take it as a March challenge to make yourself a bit happier, and to show yourself a bit more love!
Good luck =)