Although we often focus on loving relationships with others during the second week of February, Valentine’s Day is not just about loving others. Valentine’s Day is also about remembering to love the most important person in your life, yourself. Taking time out to invest in self-care, and kick start a consistent self-care routine, can be a great way to treat yourself and celebrate Valentine’s Day. This holiday can be an opportunity to take intentional steps towards increasing all aspects of your health including emotional, physical, and social. Neglecting self-care can have negative effects on your body, mind, and spirit, which can in turn, leave you depleted and out of balance. For this reason, it is important to have self-care strategies that address each of these aspects of yourself. Below are some self-care tips and options that you can explore as you begin your journey of loving and pampering yourself this Valentine’s Day.
Self-care for emotional health:
Some ways to invest in self-care as a means for maintaining and improving emotional health include journaling, trying something new that you’ve not yet mastered, occasionally saying “No” to extra responsibilities, giving yourself affirmations and praise, unplugging from electronics for an hour, and finding things that make you laugh. A great emotional health self-care tool for Valentine’s Day is having a home spa day. Have a long bath, sit around in your bathrobe, moisturize to activate your self-soothing system, set up an aromatherapy compound with essential oils, and color in an adult coloring book.
Self-care for physical health:
Getting fifteen minutes of sun, inhaling an upbeat smell such as peppermint, giving your body a treat by picking something from your wardrobe that feels great against your skin, and going up and down the stairs three times are all ways to take care of your body and focus on the physical health aspect of your self-care. Oxygenating by taking three deep breaths, taking a quick ten to twenty-minute nap to reduce your sleep debt, and slowly drinking an extra glass of water are also great ideas. Additionally, many gyms and specialty exercise studios offer Valentine’s Day themed classes and extra perks such as giveaways for gift cards, class packages, and merchandise. This makes Valentine’s Day a perfect time to try indoor stadium cycling, barre class, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing, or cross fit.
Self-care for social health:
You can begin practicing self-care for social health by making a small connection. This can be as simple as exchanging a few sentences of conversation with someone in customer service. Other tips for enhancing social health include editing your social media feeds by taking out any negative people, and doing an act of service instead of splurging on a gift for Valentine’s Day. Another important concept to remember when practicing self-care for social health is that you don’t need the other party in any given relationship to approve or affirm who you are. When you’re confident, secure, and certain, your relationships will be strengthened. Contrarily, insecurity and fear can erode relationships.
It is important to remember that self-care is a practice, not a destination. The last thing you want to do is add your self-care intentions to a list of goals that perhaps have become increasingly daunting and seemingly unattainable. These goals can contribute to potential feelings of failure if they were set without incremental markers of achievement. Instead begin developing your self-care routine by being mindful of what seems like a good fit, as well as what doesn’t seem to be working. Be committed to trying different options until you find the one that works best for you, and also be willing to change it when your needs change and a particular tool is no longer effective. It can also be helpful to reflect on what has gotten in the way of prioritizing self-care in the past. Was it time, money, feelings of guilt? Discussing some of these past barriers with a counselor as you embark on developing or enhancing your self-care routine can also be very beneficial.
How will you love yourself this Valentine’s Day?