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In all the hullabaloo, consumerism, and distaste for Valentine’s day, here’s a list of things for you Single Pringles out there, as well as anyone who just wants to bury their heads under the covers until February 14th goes away. Show yourself some love.
Self-care and self-love are so important in this day and age, especially since it’s becoming more and more evident that loving others—really loving them—is hard if you don’t love yourself first.
And don’t worry—none of these tips involve chocolate.
1. Take Time For Yourself
Exclusively you. No one else.
No kids, no partner, no best friend—nobody but you. Curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and your favorite book. Go out to treat yo self to coffee or a margarita.
Get a massage, take a long walk (unless you’re snowed in, like us in the great PNW this week), or better yet, play in the snow.
For we introverts, the time we take for ourselves is the time that rejuvenates us for the next day. It’s what fuels our fire and keeps us from burning out, especially when every time you walk into the store you’re smacked in the face with all things Valentine’s Day.
Show yourself some love by taking care of YOU today.
2. Try Something New
Go see a show at a theater you’ve never been to.
Try out a class at the local rock climbing gym, if you’re not afraid of heights.
Explore a part of your city that’s off the beaten path from your commute.
Say hi to someone at Starbucks—just striking up a conversation can boost your mood for the rest of the day.
Show yourself some love by challenging yourself with new experiences.
3. Call a Friend
You probably know someone who dislikes or even hates Valentine’s Day as much as you do… Or at least someone who wishes we didn’t see heart-shaped boxes of chocolates for sale before Christmas even dawns.
Give them a call. Complain to each other for a minute, and then catch up. Maybe make plans—just not for today! OpenTable probably doesn’t have any open tables anymore, by now!
And if you’re too far away to meet in person, think about making plans for the next time you do see each other.
Show yourself some love by reconnecting with old friends.
4. Practice Gratitude
Before you go to sleep tonight, write down two or three things that you’re thankful for that happened today. Maybe it’s as simple as waking up to a warm home. Or knowing your kids are safe in bed. Or maybe the cup of coffee you had this morning hit just the right spot.
We take things for granted so much nowadays, that it’s good to remind ourselves that everything we have can be lost so easily, and we did not receive it for free.
Related Book: Gary Sinise’s Grateful American, documenting his journey from self to service. I was on his advance reader team!
Going to sleep with these two or three things on our mind leaves little room for worries and fears and annoyances.
Show yourself some love by recognizing the things that make your life easier.
5. Write Down Your Goals
We all have dreams. That pie-in-the-sky thing that we’ve been putting off for years because it’s intimidating or “unrealistic.”
The funny thing about goals and, consequently, achieving them, is that it becomes a heckuva lot easier to digest when you a) write down those goals and b) break them into manageable chunks.
As the old adage goes, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Show yourself some love and finally write down those goals that have percolated in your brain for your whole life.
Want to write a book? Start by writing a single word.
Want to lose weight? Start by tracking the next thing you put in your mouth.
Want to start a blog? Do a Pinterest search and actually read the articles instead of just pinning them.
Show yourself some love by making a plan with your goals instead of just dreaming about them.
6. Make a Meal Plan
Many people spend hours every week trying to figure out what to have for dinner, and if you’re in this boat you probably get stressed out when you don’t know what you’re eating this week—let alone next week.
Show yourself some love and write down a list of your favorite meals.
My eating schedule is a little weird compared to most people—I eat between about 7:30 AM and 11:30 AM. This is called intermittent fasting, and to simplify how much time I spend making that food to eat, my husband and I do meal-prep Sundays. We make all the food I’m going to eat for the week and stack them up nicely in five piles in the fridge so it’s super simple to get my “lunch” ready for work the next morning.
This is one of those time-saving “hacks” that make you go “why didn’t I do this before???” when you finally get around to trying it.
Show yourself some love by reducing the food-hassle.
7. Do a Digital Detox
A lot of people advocate for leaving the phone out of the bedroom.
I’m not one of those people.
My phone IS my alarm, and I’ve trained myself to leave it far enough away from the bed that I NEED to actually get out of bed to turn it off. I also have a ton of Do Not Disturb settings that automatically turn on. At 7:30 PM my phone goes into grayscale and turns off notifications. This doesn’t turn off until my 4:00 AM alarm.
But doing a digital detox is a great way to show yourself some love.
Start by removing all your apps from your home screen. If you’re brave enough, uninstall Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to make it harder to spend time doing the “roll and scroll” with those.
Turn off all notifications from email, texts, and Messenger.
I dare you to do this for the two hours before bedtime and instead follow the advice in #1: take time for yourself!
8. Figure Out Your Love Language
Do you know how you best receive love? Do you know how to best show love to your partner or family?
Before I started dating, I thought my Love Language was physical touch, but I actually discovered that it’s Acts of Service.
The others are Receiving Gifts, Words of Affirmation, and Quality Time.
Everyone feels loved differently. It’s important to discover what language y’all are speaking, otherwise, it could lead to a lot of discontent in your relationships—including with yourself.
Many studies have shown that meditation reduces stress and can promote a longer lifespan.
Meditation can take many forms—guided, unguided, focusing on the breath, even prayer—and no form is better or worse than another.
It’s just important to figure out what works best for you.
I have a subscription to Headspace, which provides different themed “packs” of meditations and lets you choose the length to listen to. Usually, I do 10-minute meditations every morning.
I did, for a while, have a 550-plus-day streak in Headspace—and then missed a day on travel. Now I’m back down to just a week!
Show yourself some love by taking one to ten minutes today to meditate. Be sure to take note of how you feel before and after—you might be surprised how much better you feel!
10. Create a Morning and/or Evening Routine
One of my earliest posts on this blog was about how to build a morning routine. Since then, I’ve discovered the Miracle Morning and wrote a post about that, too. But something I haven’t done—and should—is to develop an evening routine.
Routines provide consistency. I don’t know about you, but when my routines get messed up (and consistency goes out the window) I feel ridiculously thrown off.
Earlier this week our power went out for about 6.5 hours in the morning, coinciding with when I usually wake up and follow my morning routine—part of which requires my computer and the internet.
Which I couldn’t use because, you know, the power was out.
Let me tell you—that morning—and entire day—felt weird because I didn’t actually go through my routine.
That experience gave me pause to consider if I should adjust my morning routine to be completely independent of power or internet.
That might be tough.
In any case, show yourself some love by considering how you might best create a morning and/or evening routine that suits your needs and keeps you energized.
11. Go Solo to a Movie or Dinner
There’s no rule saying you need a partner to go out to the movies or to dinner!
Even better—rent something from Redbox that you’ve wanted to watch for a while but kept putting off for one reason or another.
Try out that new restaurant in town that you’re interested in, but none of your friends are. Or maybe find a dive off the beaten path—be adventurous! Who knows? You might find the best fish tacos of your life and all those negative Nancies are missing out.
Show yourself some love by breaking the stereotypes and confidently doing those traditionally-partner activities by yourself.
12. Book a Therapy Appointment
This one can be a bit scary. Most people view therapy as something you go to when you’re at the end of your rope—or are just a crazy person.
But I’ve been to therapy and 100% recommend it to absolutely everyone.
Talking through your worries and fears and anxieties can be emotional and difficult, but the catharsis that comes afterward feels amazing.
Therapists can help you through difficult decisions, shine a light on a darkened path, and provide a perspective you probably hadn’t considered before.
I credit my therapist with helping me realize exactly what I hated about my first job and how to roll with the punches of life so that I’m not so emotionally invested in something that hurts me.
13. Get Creative
Doodle, draw, color-by-numbers—Adult coloring books are all the rage right now. Remember how nice it was to be creative as a kid?
Don’t let that feeling disappear!
Grab a notebook and get doodling!
Bullet journals are great for creative expression. Pinterest is full of ideas for “spreads” and cover pages, though admittedly most of those beautiful Pins and spreads are beyond my artistic ability.
But don’t let that stop you.
I know someone from high school who made beautiful doodles with just loops and lines (and she became a graphic designer, so she’s definitely a full-blown artist). You don’t need to be able to draw a face to create something pretty.
Show yourself some love by releasing your inner child with creative expression. It’s okay—there’s no art show afterward. It’s all for your enjoyment.
14. Spend Time in God’s Word
What does the Bible say about love?
Well, honestly, the entire Bible is about love—God’s love for the world and the lengths He went to in order to save us from ourselves.
Spending time in God’s Word might be the most intense form of self-love and self-care you can practice nowadays.
What a long list.
Hopefully, you found something in here that speaks to you more than commercialism, consumerism, or chocolate do.
Try them all, try just one—take what works and leave the rest.
For more self-care practices to reduce stress and accomplish your goals, check out this post from Radical Strength.
What are your favorite ways to practice self-love, especially on days when you don’t really feel like it? Let me know in the comments!