As we head into February the last month of winter. In the shops, we are bombarded with big red heart balloons, heart-shaped chocolates, big cuddly teddies usually displaying a heart with I love you on it and red roses. Cards galore to the love of my life, boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, fiancée, husband, wife and everything in between. We are targeted as consumers to spend a lot of money unnecessarily to let the important people in our life know that we love them, like don’t they know that the rest of the year? Is it necessary to buy into the bullshit of February 14th Valentine’s Day?
This year for me I’m going to come at Valentine’s Day from a different angle. Add different practices into my life. I spend so much time and effort loving and caring for my family, I tend to neglect myself. And when I say neglect myself, I mean in the sense of time and love. Doing things that are good for me. Your relationship with yourself is just like any other relationship. It requires the same commitment, time and effort. It’s about self-love. How can we expect others to love us if we don’t or can’t love ourselves?
Here are some ways that I will be trying out to practice self-love for me.
The first way would be to prioritise myself and understand it’s not a case of me me me. It’s setting aside time on a certain day or an evening where I designate that this will be ‘me’ time. A time where I can dedicate an hour or so towards something that is good for my mental, physical or emotional health. Whether it be a walk/run, meeting with a friend for coffee, a meditation or a nice hot bath. I know that for me when I do take that time to do those little acts of love and kindness for myself, my nearest and dearest benefit. I return feeling happier and lighter. I come back renewed so to speak.
Secondly would be practicing self-acceptance. This doesn’t come easy to me. As a woman and a mother, I get so caught up in comparing myself to others and I think society and social media are responsible for a certain amount of this. We see Instagram filtered to dear life pictures and believe this to be reality. And it’s not. We see Pamela, who we went to school with, with her edited skinny pics, her handsome husband, three adorable children with clean faces, not a hair out of place and posed to perfection. We don’t see the days they all stayed in their pyjamas. Or the 20 photos that were taken to get the right one. Or the ones that went unfiltered. So in the moments of self-comparison or criticism, think of something you like about yourself, think of the things you are winning at and don’t forget you are truly amazing.
Last but not least would be showing respect for myself by setting boundaries. While helping others is a good thing, the demands of family, work, friends and much more take up a lot of time and can be very overwhelming. I tend to put myself under a lot of pressure trying to fit so much into my day. I am going to practice saying no sometimes, and practice harder not feeling guilty about it. I see it time and time again in my life, spreading myself thin and being exhausted. I can’t fill up anybody else’s cup if my own is empty. Allowing my own intuition to guide me.
So regardless of your relationship status this valentine’s day, be the person who loves you the most and treats you the best!