4 Ways to Practice Self-Love

Diane Von Furstenberg, the self-made American fashion designer well-versed in female-empowerment, once said: “When a woman becomes her own best friend, life is easier.” And she's right — if there’s one thing that's certain, it’s that you're stuck with yourself for the rest of your life. So you might as well learn to love yourself unconditionally while striving to become the best possible version of your beautiful self. And while it's undoubtedly easier said than done, practicing small forms of self-love every day will contribute to a whole bunch of great things, like higher self-esteem (without changing your appearance), a more positive outlook and healthier relationships.

In the name of loving yourself, let's get started.

1. Act like your own parent.

When you were little, your parents probably made you eat your vegetables. They probably made sure that you showered or got your homework done, or maybe they tucked you in bed, clean and in pajamas, at a reasonable hour.

“You have a long day tomorrow,” they probably urged you, “You want to have lots of energy!” For most people in college, parents have backed off and it’s now in your hands to make sure that you're doing well. Treating yourself like you are your own child sounds strange, but it works. You're reinforcing the idea that you're worthy of good health, happiness and general well-being. And while sometimes it can get tricky to make yourself a priority when there's a whole bunch of life distracting you, it's extremely important that you make sure to set aside time to take care of yourself. Whether it’s going to bed on time, making your bed in the morning, eating breakfast or taking a bath, it’s small acts of self-maintenance that remind you of the unconditional love you have for yourself — just like how your parents probably took care of you as a child.

2. Nourish your mind.

Take a break from staring at your phone and laptop. Instead of swiping through your phone at night, check a book out on a topic that interests you from the library (yes, that’s still a thing), and get lost in the reading. Or if you don’t like to read, draw, write, meditate, listen to a podcast or create something. It is rewarding to disconnect from social media and switch your focus to feeding your mind with things of substance. Think of it like this: you want to fuel your body with the best quality nutrition so that it can perform at its peak. Your mind is the same way: don’t constantly feed it junk and do things that will stimulate your brain so that it will function its very best.

3. Give yourself a break.

College students are notorious busy bees. Between academics, extracurricular activities, sports, socializing and work, this period of life is all about the hustle. And that’s good — a little bit of stress is OK. Working towards your goals, staying consistent with coursework, and keeping busy are all wonderful, but you have to remind yourself that all of the things you're doing are investments for a good future for yourself. Therefore, you are important and deserve a mental (and physical) break pretty frequently. Rekindle your old passions that perhaps died down during high school, or just lie down after classes and listen to music. Whatever gives you a mental break is important to keep up with consistently. Being successful is important, but that can’t happen without nurturing a healthy mind first.

4. Accept your body and love it unconditionally.

First, recognize that your appearance does not determine your self-worth. Read that over a few times. Still, it's perfectly OK to care about how you look (and ignore the people who call it vanity). What’s more? It’s absolutely normal to have certain parts of your appearance that you aren't a number one fan of. Hey, it’s all good! But here’s what I want you to try. Stop analyzing your “flaws” in the mirror. In fact, let’s back up. The things that you're insecure about are not flaws. In my opinion, since everyone is absolutely unique, the things that you may squint your eyes at in the mirror are merely just parts of your body — the body that fights viruses, lets you move and run and jump, heals you when you’re sick and endlessly tries to function at its peak performance every day so that you can live your life to the fullest. Now that is beautiful. When you look in the mirror, let the things that once bothered you remind you of how much you have grown and changed from childhood to the person that you are today. Let them stand as reminders that you're not a carbon copy. Repeat after me: you are inherently worthy.

To become the best version of yourself, it's absolutely important that you take time every day to practice self-love. Like DVF said, you are your own life partner, so you better make it worthwhile.