A little self-love and TLC goes a long way. After all, being happy with yourself makes it easier to make health a priority and to make healthy choices for your body, mind and spirit. Here are seven ways that you and your loved ones can cultivate some self-love today. Consider choosing one or more to try out:
1. Write down what you love about yourself
Sit down by yourself, with a family member, or friend, each with your own piece of paper. Write down three things you love about yourselves. Post your lists somewhere that you’ll see every day, such as on the fridge, on a closet door, or next to a mirror. For reinforcement, you can read your list to yourself in front of a mirror.
2. Treat yo’ self!
Cultivate self-love by doing something you love! Carve away some me-time for an activity you enjoy:
- Go out for your favorite exercise to make fitness fun
- Sit down and read a book
- Go for a hike on your favorite trail (my fave!)
- Plan a girls night, family or friend game night out
- Go on a special date-night with your partner
- Invite your friend over for some at-home yoga
- Spend some time working on your favorite hobby
3. Start a gratitude journal or read a gratitude passage
Studies have found that feeling gratitude is correlated with overall happiness and increased well-being. (1) Find a few minutes in your day, maybe while you drink your morning coffee or in the evening before bed, to write down what you are grateful for today. Practicing an attitude of gratitude is contagious! It will spread to those you’re around and come back to you. Each morning I start my day with a prayer, a reading and a quote on faith. It has the biggest impact on my attitude. When I forget to practice this activity, it shows.
Bring some mindfulness into your life by meditating. Studies show that starting a mediation practice can increase your level of self-compassion and your overall happiness. (2) Starting a meditation practice doesn’t have to entail hours on end of meditation. Try starting out with a simple three-minute practice, and go from there! Here are more meditation tips to help you get started. My favorite is lying down in savasana position and breathing in peace and exhaling Jesus. I find it very centering. See what works for you!
5. Tune in to your inner dialogue
Do you find yourself being self-critical, judgmental, or negative at times? When you notice that negative self-talk creeping in, reframe it! Come up with a personalized positive mantra, such as ‘I am enough’, ‘I belong’, or ‘I love who I am becoming’. Spend some time creating one that really resonates with you! By bringing awareness to your negative thoughts and reframing them to be positive ones, you will feel happier and more self-confident.
6. Fuel your body with healthy food
Make it a priority to fuel with healthy food. It takes planning, but it’s worth it! You’ll feel better, have more energy, and be healthier! Remember everything doesn’t have to be from scratch. Pre-washed lettuce with baby tomatoes and a tasty dressing, a can of tuna mixed with light mayo and fruit salad with nuts makes a tasty meal.
Exercise is correlated with tons of health benefits, including improved mood and self-esteem, better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, and increased energy. (3) Make it fun by making it a social event or a family activity, so you can catch up and get your workout in!
(1) Lopez, S. J. & Snyder, C. R. (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology. Oxford University Press.
(2) Campos, D., Cebolla, A., Quero, S., Breton-Lopez, J., Botella, C., Soler, J.,…Banos, R.M. (2016). Meditation and happiness: Mindfulness and self-compassion may mediate the meditation-happiness relationship. Personality and Individual Differences, 93, 80-85. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191886915005450
(3) Sharma, A., Madaan, V. & Petty, F.D. (2006). Exercise for mental health. Primary Care Companion to The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 8(2). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/