Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about love and how we share it. Love can present itself in many forms – in relationships with God, friends, spouses, and children, to name a few. When you pray, you share your soul. When you make a new friend, you share your time. When you choose marriage, you share your life. And when you become a parent, you share your whole heart.
That constant need to share a piece of yourself makes self-love, a simple act of acknowledging and growing yourself, seem counterintuitive. Like most mothers, I’m wired to give – and give some more! – of my time, energy and love, but I have a hard time making space to receive.
When I can’t seem to make space, I try to remind myself of the advice I often give friends when they’re struggling: pause, and give yourself a little grace. Easier said than done, I know. Even more than grace, though, I often forget to even give myself a nod, a little pat on the back, or a few words of encouragement.
I spend most of my waking hours smothering my children with words of encouragement and affection, but I spend little to no time speaking kindly to myself. They say actions, however, speak louder than words. So this year on Valentine’s Day, instead of shopping around for over-priced candies and gimmicky cards for others, I’m committing to practicing a little self-love to fill my own cup (so I can continue to fill those of others).
Join me, and consider these 5 ways to practice a little self-love this Valentine’s Day:
Start your day with an affirmation.
I know this sounds cheesy, but beginning your morning with a positive word or two can set the tone for a super empowering day. Wake up, take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror, and name one thing you love most about yourself – great hair, pearly white teeth, a fabulous sense of style – there are no wrong answers! Be kind to yourself. Let yourself see what your loved ones see. And, let this small act of self-love carry you a long way, even on a tough day.
Take 10 minutes of quiet time.
Many of us spend our weekdays rushing from point A to point B to keep our families on track and on schedule. From school drop-offs, to work clock-ins, to extra-curricular activities, our days are jam-freakin-packed. And, silence is truly a luxury. So, treat yourself! Set an alarm on your phone and give yourself just 10 minutes of “you” time to sit in silence, relax, and recharge. Meditate at your desk. Take a brisk walk around the block. Or, pay for silence on the mat and visit your neighborhood yoga studio (Alamo City Yoga, Mobile Om, and Black Swan Yoga are my personal favorites!).
Buy yourself flowers.
Yeah, I said it. And, no – this is not a ploy to remind your significant other to buy you flowers, too (although, I find this “trick” to work sometimes). Buy yourself flowers because they brighten a room. Flowers fill a space with happiness, and you don’t need a holiday occasion to give yourself the gift of happy. Or, get creative and take an arrangement class! For a local spot, check out The Vintage Bouquet. You can arrange to go solo, with a date, or a whole group of gals!
Cook yourself a meal.
Something about sorting and chopping makes me all sorts of calm – type A anyone? Cooking can be therapeutic for many reasons. For me, there are few greater feelings than following a recipe, prepping a meal from scratch, then enjoying (and often sharing!) the fruits of your labor. If solo isn’t your thing, that’s okay! You can love on yourself alongside company. Mix things up and try a cooking class at Central Market or Sur la Table at the Shops at La Cantera; menus rotate regularly and range from beginner to expert at most locations. Bon appétit!
Pamper yourself at home.
I’m a huge fan of spa days. Who isn’t, right? But if I’m being honest, I’ve only had a handful of professional spa experiences in recent years. Because, well, life. And, money. Fortunately, at-home spa services are all the rage these days! Head to your local drug store, Target, or Sephora and grab a few face masks and bath bombs. Draw a bath, slap on a face mask, grab that book you’ve been trying to start for months (mine is “Where the Crawdads Sing”), sit back and enjoy. You deserve it! Or, if you’re tight on time, commit to just ten minutes to paint your nails. A fresh manicure can do wonders, and no act of self-love is too small.