Treat Yourself, With Self-Love
‘Tis the season of showing love to the ones you care about most. This year, show up for yourself first.
The term self-care may feel overplayed, but the truth is taking care of yourself impacts more than your health and wellness—it directly affects your family, community and place of work.
We make decisions every day. Sometimes, these decisions appear to be in our own best interest, but pausing and looking at them further may reveal more.
Consider getting in the habit of asking yourself if your choices are out of reaction to something or someone or to truly serve your values and/or best interest. The insight you gain may impact how you care for yourself while learning how to best love yourself.
For example, instead of looking at eating treats as something you shouldn’t do that is wrapped in shame when you do, you may realize you only reach for them when feeling stressed, having a sense of lost control or anxious.
What to do then? Once you identify the motive behind certain decisions, you’ll get better at observing what’s truly going on as situations arise and feel empowered to address them with actions such as:
• Moving to work feelings of anxiety out of your body- going for a walk, having an impromptu dance party or doing strength training exercises like pushups or lunges.
• Talking to a friend, laughing at jokes and/or journaling when feeling stressed.
• Sitting in a quiet spot, listening to soothing music and focusing on slowing your inhale and exhale to create a better sense of control.
Acts of self-care, such as getting a massage, going on a quiet hike or taking a long bath, become easier to practice once you learn self-love. For example, if you notice you feel stressed by the end of your workweek, what self-care practices may be woven into your days to help? Does caring for yourself look like going to bed earlier? Or maybe set a timer each day at 2 pm so you physically leave your desk for a mental break? Whatever works for you will be easier to figure out once learning what fuels your decisions.
And Then, Care for Others
What you do to take care of yourself will trickle down to those you interact with throughout the day. You may find you have more bandwidth to buffer the energy of your 8-year-old, a clearer head when showing up to strategy meetings with co-workers and clarity of what volunteer commitments you can take on.
In the end, showing love to others starts with showing up for yourself. Taking the time to cultivate a culture of love within yourself doesn’t take away from those around you, it merely adds.