Ah, February. The season of roses, chocolates, and heart-shaped everything. Does anyone else miss the era when Valentine’s Day meant exchanging cards with your elementary school crush? TBH, same. Regardless of how you feel about the season of love, now is the perfect time to focus on your most important relationship: the one you have with yourself.
Self-love is all about treating yourself with kindness, honoring your needs, and believing you’re worthy of love and respect. Self-love isn’t selfish, and it impacts every aspect of your life, from how you react to stress to daily decision-making. If you’re ready to feel grounded and aligned this Valentine’s Day, here are six simple yet powerful ways to practice self-love.
- Set boundaries
From muting social media accounts to turning my phone on “do not disturb,” I’m a huge fan of setting boundaries. It may seem uncomfortable at first, but boundary-setting is essential for self-love. Rather than endless doom scrolling, stressing about responding to text messages, or feeling like you need to be there 100% for everyone in your life, take a step back and create space and time for yourself.
- Take care of your needs
It’s easy to feel guilty about practicing self-love. But, how can you show up for others if you’re not showing up for yourself? Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercise, nutrition, and laughter. Connect with people who energize you, and devote time to hobbies you enjoy. If you appreciate a good visual, check out Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, and notice any areas of life that need attention. Taking care of your basic needs is an essential part of practicing self-love.
- Forgive yourself (and others)
Part of self-love is accepting that we all make mistakes, and we aren’t perfect! This Valentine’s Day, try to forgive yourself for any regret you’ve been holding onto. Also, notice the voice in your head: is it accepting or judgmental? Know that anger, resentment, and guilt can weigh on you, and it’s okay to give yourself permission to let go. You may even forgive someone else for something they’ve done to you — this, too, is an act of self-love.
- Create a self-care kit
We all know self-care is a popular term these days, but it’s important to recognize what it looks like for you! Creating a physical self-care kit can be an amazing reminder to love yourself this Valentine’s Day. The key is to have a sensory experience. A journal, lipstick, stuffed animal, playlist, jewelry, essential oils, warm tea, or a weighted blanket are all great items to start with. You can even collect encouraging letters from friends which can help remind you to practice self-love during tough times.
- Practice self-compassion
Imagine if a friend, family member, or partner was going through a tough time. How would you speak to them? Now, imagine that you’re going through a tough time. How would you speak to yourself? This is where self-compassion comes in. It’s the powerful practice of being kind and understanding to yourself, exactly as you would be toward others. There are awesome meditations for practicing self-compassion, and it’s one of my favorite ways to practice self-love.
- Work with a coach or therapist
There’s a common misconception that something has to be “wrong” for you to work with a coach or therapist. Yet, it’s a total myth! We all need support sometimes, even when things are fantastic, and asking for help is one of the greatest acts of self-love we can do. If you could use someone to talk to, check out Psychology Today or research coaches in your area. Many offer virtual services, so you don’t even have to leave your house.
Apart from these suggestions, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to all of the chocolate cookies, red wine, movie marathons, fun gifts, and TBH, anything that makes you feel happy! Despite the pressure surrounding Valentine’s Day, it’s truly about what you make it, and every holiday is better when you practice self-love.