The daffodils are beginning to bow their heads and the first scents of freshly cut grass are wafting back into our noses. Spring is well and truly upon us, but for many in Ireland’s third and most exhausting lockdown, the continued restrictions prevent us from experiencing the new season to its fullest.
We now face the loneliness and isolation of staying and home and remaining within 5km of our homes, and with the added test of the warm March sun we are missing our friends and loved ones more than ever.
In this season of growth and new life, however, springs new opportunities for self-growth, introspection and reflection on the twelve months that turned our world upside down.
In the absence of the high-speed rollercoaster of commitments, distractions and experiences of ‘normal’ life, there can be found great solace in being alone, bathed in the initial discomfort and subsequent peace of our own thoughts. Without first learning how to enjoy, appreciate and respect ourselves, we will never be truly able to enjoy, appreciate and respect the other people and things in our lives.
The longest and most important relationships in our lives in with ourselves, but breaking out of bad habits of co-dependence and comfort zones is key to cultivating a strong and deep connection with yourself. Here are some ways to establish new thoughts, mindsets and actions to become your own best friend!
Take yourself out on a date
While this may sound silly, it can be incredibly liberating to mindfully time with yourself as if you are spending it with somebody you love. Wear your favourite outfit, shave your legs, slap on a layer of tan, deeply condition your hair and do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel as sexy as possible. Cooking a full meal, going for a long walk or getting a takeaway and watching a movie on your own may seem daunting at first, but the ket is to not fight it, but to accept. It’s normal to feel unsettled if you are trying something new, but developing an enjoyable interest that you can pursue along will deepen your bond with yourself.
Make a list of your favourite qualities
Again, seems obvious. Yet even the most confident and secure of us need reaffirmation from time to time, especially when our friends and loved ones are not around to validate our feelings. Start off small; “I love my eyes” or “I love my sense of humour”. Keep going from there! Before long, you will have a full page of your most wonderful qualities spelled out in black and white. This will give you perspective on how you perceive yourself beyond the opinions of others, and you will be able to come back to this during times of stress or strife.
Do a random act of kindness for yourself every day
A relaxing hour in the sun, a delicious, nourishing breakfast, a long walk or a fresh bouquet of flowers; there are many things we can treat ourselves to each day. By shifting our mindsets to derive meaning from even the smallest acts, putting time and effort and love into doing them, we are showing love and respect for ourselves.
Listen to your body
Many of us treat our bodies terribly; we neglect them, deprive them of sleep, and ignore their needs, often creating emotional and psychological illnesses. Listen to your body. If you are constantly tired, you could try going to bed an hour earlier, leaving your phone outside your bedroom or researching sleeping supplements. If you are hungry, eat nourishing, delicious foods. If you are fatigued, put down the can of Monster and try to find healthier ways of boosting your energy levels. When we put the needs of our bodies above other, less important needs in our lives, we show ourselves immense self-respect.
Becoming your own best friend does not happen overnight. It will take persistence and effort, but if you consistently put your needs first your life will become immeasurably happier. Shifting your focus towards all of the positive things in your life is a gift, and one that you will carry for life.