Ah, February… the month of love. How can we love anyone if we don’t love ourselves, first? Some people may wonder where to even begin, and some of us know exactly what we can do to love ourselves. We cannot pour from an empty cup, so here are a few very basic things to do to love yourself, this month and always.
1. Rise and Stretch. Wake up 5 minutes earlier just to stretch in silence. You wake up in the morning and do your morning ritual, but do you give your muscles and blood a chance to catch up? Standing in an upright position, put your feet together, arms up in the air, biceps close to your ears, clench hands together over your head and keep palms together. Reach, reach, reach to give your body a good stretch from your hips, to your fingertips. Lean over to the left, then the right. Take your time (remember, you woke up 5 minutes early to do this). Feel the pull on your upper body as if you’re reaching for the ceiling. Give yourself a hug when you’re done and do it as much as you like. Get that good stretch first thing in the morning and you will feel it all day long. You can then bend down, feet still together and touch your feet or knees, wherever you can get to. Repeat as often as you’d like. You will be feeling better almost immediately.
2. Sauna. During these cold days of winter, there is nothing like entering a dry, heated room and thawing out. Check your gym to see if they offer a sauna room; in some gyms, the sauna is overlooked. When I work out, I reward myself afterwards and I look forward to finishing to work out because of it. For a lovely, afternoon or evening of “sauna-ing”, may we suggest Seoul Spa in Security Square. You will be surprised and very happy to know that this traditional Korean bath house is within reach and very clean, private and relaxing. Saunas are perfect for detoxing by sweating out toxins and drawing impurities through your skin. Sit, relax, sweat, breathe…repeat.
3. Be mindful of food. Pay attention to what you’re putting in your mouth. It’s the most simple and the biggest form of self-care we can do for ourselves. Eat foods that nourish you. Eating junk and processed food is the quick and dirty. Take the time to feed yourself whole foods like fruits and vegetables. If you are trying to add in healthier foods, just start with one snack or meal. The time is takes to buy and eat an apple is the same amount of time it takes to buy and eat a bag of chips. Your body will thank you ten-fold for the nutrients and you will begin to feel a shift.
4. Dance. Dance. Dance. Dance across the floor. Dance in the car. Dance in the shower. Find your groove and just start shaking it up. Even if (and especially) you’re in a bad mood! Find your favorite music on Pandora and get to stepping. Go to a class, meet your friends out, do it at home. Just getting your body moving is the first step to loving yourself. No one is watching, shake it up!
5. Take a bath. Fill the tub with water and add a cup of Epsom salts or magnesium flakes. Then add 40 drops lavender, 25 drops Roman Chamomile and 10 Bergamot for a relaxing and soothing bath. Sink in. Even for me, it takes a while for me to get to the tub to take one, but once I do, I feel so much better and more relaxed.
6. Explore your lost love of arts and craft. Remember that hobby that really interested you before life got crazy and you had time? I recently got back into essential oil blending after about 15 years. It has brought me back to slower pace in my life that I remember fondly. Get back to the fun things you used to make or do when you had the time. Take a class. Learn that language you swore you’d learn. Pick up the guitar.
We can start where we are, not only in February, but commit to making it a daily, then monthly routine. You will see that even the smallest amount of love to show yourself, can lead to taking care of yourself every day, so you can take care of your loved ones even better…Happy Self-Love Month!