Self love has become a major buzzword in recent years. Some might consider it a sign of selfishness or narcissism and while that may be the case for some people, it is still very much needed for busy and often struggling women. So how to practice self love? It can simply mean that you make your own health and wellbeing a priority, even if you only have a few minutes a day to do it.
Many women in our crazed digital times struggle with overloaded schedules, family responsibilities and work. In my own case, self love never entered my mind. I wanted to be a good mom in the face of many challenges including being a special needs mom as well as a sober mom in long term recovery. That meant lots of self sacrifice which was supposed to be a good thing.
But I didn’t know how to properly handle the stress that came along with it. As a result of a toxic childhood, I was accustomed to holding all of my emotions and feelings in. I never let people know what was going on. I couldn’t get to meetings because of parenting responsibilities. I struggled with anxiety, depression and emotional eating. Now, I strongly believe my lack of self love and self care lead to the development of the autoimmune health struggles that I have today.
Signs You Need More Self Love
- Feeling constantly stressed out
- Extreme emotional ups and downs
- Frequent colds and flu
- Struggling with assertiveness
- Holding on to anger and resentments
- Losing interest in hobbies and activities you used to love
- Personal care suffers – bathing less frequently, letting yourself go
How to Practice Self Care on a Budget
Make your daily hygiene a daily priority. When life gets busy or you’re feeling depressed, your own self care can wind up on the back burner. Taking some intentional time to take care of your personal needs can be just the boost you need to pull yourself out of that dark place. Simply taking some time out to have a soothing bath can lift anyone’s spirits.
When you start taking better care of yourself, you look and feel better. You won’t cringe when you look at yourself in the mirror when you know that you’ve been taking time for yourself.
Do you procrastinate about getting the laundry done and find yourself going through piles of clothes to find the least offensive item of clothing? Take a few hours to catch up on your laundry…your own clothes and bedding. When you’re done, go and take nice, hot shower. Then go and put something clean and comfortable on from the clothes that you just washed. The wonderful feeling of clean clothes against your clean body as well as clean bedding will be an instant boost.
Now move on to your living and workspace. When life is busy it’s very easy to get caught up in the hustle of daily life and home organization winds up on the back burner. Having a cluttered environment gets very stressful over time. Make a priority of spending some time every week to declutter and tidy things up. You might take a few minutes every day to get rid of useless things that are just taking up space. Once the clutter is gone, you’ll feel far less stressed as you go through your daily life.
Improve Your Diet
Healthy food and snack options abound these days yet many women still struggle with emotional and binge eating, usually with the unhealthiest food items that are sitting in our pantries even if we’ve bought salad and veggies that week. You might want to consider purging your house of foods that could set off a binge. Shop for healthier treats, or set aside a few hours once a week to make yourself some healthier options that you can just grab when life gets busy.
Are You Sleeping Well?
A good night’s sleep is essential. This is the time when your body repairs and rejuvenates itself. If getting to sleep or staying asleep is a struggle, you’ll want to reevaluate your habits. Some things to consider:
- Don’t consume caffeine later in the day.
- Be mindful of what you watch before bed. If you’re easily stimulated, don’t watch crime dramas before bed!
- Don’t eat after 6pm.
- If you can, turn off the tech a couple of hours before bed. Read from a physical book.
- Practice some gentle yoga or other exercise to signal your body to calm down
- Use guided apps and meditations to help calm your mind down and induce sleep.
Take Up a Hands on Hobby
Physical hobbies like cooking, baking, crochet, needlepoint, painting and model building are great ways to creatively express yourself and reduce stress.
Don’t Forget About Exercise
Exercise should be essential for everyone, but many people avoid it because they haven’t found something that they like. If your thing is going to the gym for a sweaty cross fit or power yoga session, then go do it. But if this isn’t your thing, or you just don’t have the time, there are lots of other ways that you can get some quality exercise in. It could be as simple as going for a walk or hike, or finding an exercise or yoga video on YouTube that you can do in the privacy of your own home.
Remember that studies have shown for ages that getting some exercise can be a great way to help your deal with stress and improve your mood. You’ll look and feel so much better. And the endorphins that you get from physical activity can also make it easier for you to sleep.
Wake Up Early to Start the Day Right
How do you begin your days? Do you sleep until the last possible minute and then hustle out the door to your car or bus or subway? That’s a lot of stress to begin the day.
Instead, try setting your alarm clock earlier. Use the first minutes of the day to meditate, read some devotions or poetry and possibly do some gentle yoga. Don’t look at your phone until after you’ve done this! Spending those first few minutes of the day focusing on your mind, body and spirit will make all the difference in the way you handle the rest of the day.
Journaling for Self Love
If you’ve been struggling to find more focus and clarity in your life, journaling is one of the most therapeutic things that you can do for your mental health and practice self love. Writing in a journal daily helps you to learn more about yourself and process your feelings. Here’s some simple ways to start a daily journal practice.
The List Journal
A list journal is an easy and non threatening way to begin your new journaling habit. Getting started can be as simple as a brain dump or a bucket list. You can also create a list of accomplishments you’ve achieved recently. This will give you a good sense of positive things you’ve done lately and will boost your confidence.
Start a Gratitude Journal
Do you struggle with chronic discontent and find yourself becoming impatient and envious about the things you wish you had? For some people, it’s easier to focus on what they don’t have instead of what they actually have. Taking some intentional time every day to write down a few things you’re grateful for can help to put things into perspective.
We all need a gentle reminder at times that life hasn’t dealt us the worse hand, though it may seem that way on some days. But even in the worst of times, there is always something to be grateful for. Try to write down what you’re grateful for this month, this season or this year.
Create A Free Thought Journal
Don’t let journaling become one more regimented to do task, or you’ll never get to it. Sometimes you may want to just free write and say whatever is going through your mind. This type of journal is typically called a free thought journal. This type of journal can help you to get rid of the mind clutter and clear your head. Jot down your random ideas and thoughts. Be unfiltered, you’re the only one who is going to read it!
Later on, you can always go back and review what you’ve written down to help push you closer to clarity about the situation.
Journal to Chronicle Your Emotions
If you’ve been journaling for awhile, you know that it’s pretty enlightening to revisit the past to see what kinds of emotions you were experiencing in your life years ago. The written word is honest because it was written during the moment those things were being experienced instead of trying to recall from memory years later. This also will help you to find clarity about difficult events.
Writing to Create Intention
Dedicate some time to creating a vision board or journal. It will help you to visualize where you want to go and set a course for your life. When you don’t set an intention or target, you won’t know if you’re doing all of the right things that will make your dreams a real possibility.
Set Boundaries with Toxic People
This may be the hardest part of self love to implement, especially if you live or work with toxic people. If you have to keep contact with them, learn to set proper boundaries and don’t let them invade your space. Step away when you need to. Cut off uncomfortable conversations. Don’t feed into someone else’s anger. If you’re struggling with resentment, try a simple lovingkindness meditation to release the negative emotions.
Evaluate Your Use of Social Media
Our phones and tablets area a daily necessity aren’t they? And they do have their benefits. But it’s so easy for them to take over our lives. Instead of being present with our family and friends, cleaning the house or working on a hobby, we mindlessly scroll Facebook and Instagram, or get caught up in the argument of the day on Twitter. (Yes, I’m very guilty thank you very much!) Here’s a few quick tips to get started:
- Don’t begin your day with your phone..and shut down a few hours before bed.
- Set limits to your social media usage. Consider removing the most offending apps from your devices.
- When you’re online, remember that you don’t have to attend every argument that you’re invited to. If you see something that bothers you, just scroll on by. Don’t engage with trolls who are just looking for attention or to start drama. If someone on your list repeatedly posts things that trigger you, just unfollow them for awhile.
- If you’re really struggling, consider a social media detox.
Do you have any favorite ways to practice self love or other self care tips to share? I’d love to hear them!