Put Yourself First
10 self-love acts to add to your new self-care regime
Self-care and self-love are buzz words at the moment, and we're not mad about the trend. What could be wrong with a world filled with people supporting their best selves by honouring their needs, appreciating their bodies/minds, and learning to say yes to themselves.
From #selfcaresunday to TED talks dedicated to the subject, the idea of putting yourself first has been gathering heat for a reason; making time to connect with your inner-self and re-balance your life is essential to a better quality of life (especially in this busy, complicated world we live in). I’m still shouting it from the rooftops: self-care is oh-so important.
You might find yourself at a loss for how exactly you can put this new notion of self-care into your daily practice, and that’s where these 10 practices come in handy.
Self-care or “self-love” seeps into three main areas: body (physical attributes), mind (mental production and intelligence dynamics), and soul (emotional and spiritual aspects). In these 10 suggestions of self-love, you can find practices that will satisfy your needs in all three main areas and help you find your balance in life.The whole point of self-love is to really connect with what feels good for your body, mind, and soul. It’s a key point you’ll see sewn through all of these practice suggestions.
- NATURE. Read a book on a bench in a nearby park, lay down a blanket beside a beautiful tree and have a peaceful snooze, or go for a jog on a woodsy trail. A reminder that the intimidating idea that to go outdoors successfully, you have to be a super active, “outdoorsy” type of person couldn’t be less true. By going outside, you're allowing your senses to be heightened, your lungs to grab fresh air, and your soul to bond with the earth, in whichever energetic or relaxed way you choose.
- QUIET YOUR MIND. Reduce your stress levels and increase those R&R feels through the art of mindful meditation. Taking 10-15 minutes out of your busy day to dedicate to yourself feels really damn good. We have a few options to start:
- CREATE. Creativity is a wonderful tool that all humans inherently possess (yeah, you!). You don’t have to be the practically-Picasso student from art class, or the street performer who break dances like it’s nothing. It is common for people to store away that 'creative' part of their existence after a certain age, and it is a real shame. Simply take a pen to a piece of paper, or bring bright, colourful paints to a cheap canvas. You’re in for a genuinely fun experience. Oh, and you can paint as well as Picasso himself or a 5-year old, and no one cares. The skill level of your art isn’t the point: the point is to bond with your creativity in a way that is fun for you.
- TAKE CARE OF SOMEONE ELSE FOR A SEC. Bill Withers is an honest man: we all need someone to lean on from time to time. Offer your support, thoughts, and kind words to a quality person in your life. They may be going through a tough situation, or you may just want to give them a S/O and recognize them for the cool individual they are. This act refocuses your energy onto helping someone else and strengthens your sense of community. Ps. this is an especially useful trick when you find yourself in a mental health rut!
- GET EATIN' GOOD FOOD. Eating healthy sounds so mundane, but it’s the oldest trick in the book for a reason. Powering your body with good grub makes you feel rejuvenated from the inside out. Seriously, eating protein rich small meals regularly throughout the day can significantly increase the quality of your moods. Your body cells will thank you for the nutrition, your gut will be happy and giving you good-feels, and your brain will be reward you by being sharper.
- GET SOCIAL. IRL not the media variety. If you are in a rut, there might be an overwhelming urge to isolate yourself from social gatherings – acknowledge it. Isolation is a defence tactic, where your ego tries to protect itself from anxieties or certain emotions. Human beings are social creatures, and most of the time your soul is looking for some laughter to be shared with your friends and family. Ask a friend to join you for a walk outside or say ‘yes’ to your coworkers who are wondering if you want to join for lunch. Side note: If you consider yourself an extrovert, you may want to double up on your social intake to satisfy your mental and soulful areas!
- OFFER YOUR TIME. It’s a great feeling to be part of a community and contributing to a collective cause. Attend a meeting that is held by your city council or help out the next charity race near your town. And it doesn’t always have to be pre-planned; it could be making your roommate a surprise meal or giving someone who looks sad an extra big smile. Re-center yourself by helping other humans – we’re all in this together.
- MOVE YOUR BODY. Does the word “exercise” immediately make you want to curl up into a ball? Lose the stigma! Exercise is only as intimidating and intense as you make it. The point of exercise is to move your body and feel good about it. It can be softly following an at-home yoga YouTube video, climbing the stair master for 10 minutes at your gym, or playing a game of basketball or soccer with a pal. Build small practices of exercise (or big ones, its up to you!) into your life to satisfy your bodily needs of self-love. Side note: I find having set scheduled days for certain exercises helps significantly.
- ONE MIN DANCE PARTIES. This is probably my favourite tip. It's my beloved advice because it is super effective, and simultaneously it’s hella cheesy. It’s time to move your body in a way that feels good. Put on a song that you connect to, and dance your heart out. I swear it is the best cure to a bad mood or some low energy levels. Add a little pizazz by belting out those lyrics.
- TAKE REST. Be proud that you allotted time to your schedule to do nothing: this is called taking time for you. Whether you want to put on your comfiest clothes and cuddle into your bed with heavy blankets or get butt-naked and submerge yourself into a bubble bath – remember that this time is dedicated to you, and you deserve to relax and bask in it however you choose.