What exactly is self-love? The term sounds like it could be self-explanatory, but it goes deeper than that. Self-love is an appreciation and self-acceptance of everything that makes you who you are. It’s the dedication to one’s well-being, be that mentally, physically, or emotionally.
There are several ways in which anyone can practice self-love. No two people have the same self-love routine, but several practices share feel-good vibes from everyone who’s used them.
You can use as many of these as they apply to you. Everyone feels love differently. And the journey of self-love - because it is a journey - is ever-changing. What may work for you one day, may not work another.
We rounded up a few to help you on your way.
Self Love for Mental Health
1. Stop comparing yourself with others
There’s a familiar saying that comparison is the thief of joy. Everyone has their special gifts to bring into this world. But we can never truly appreciate them if we’re so busy looking around at what others are doing.
Take a moment to appreciate what makes you who you are. There’s only one you on this entire planet with your experiences and stories. That’s something worth celebrating.
2. Set Healthy Boundaries
We cannot be everything to everyone. Boundaries can look like saying no. If you have too much on your plate and can’t think of adding anything else, it’s okay to say no.
Remember, if you have people in your life that pressure you to do or act a certain way, those people don’t deserve you. Especially if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
3. Start a Meditation Practice
People who meditate have reported numerous benefits from doing so. Benefits like better sleep, improved mood, and better stress management. There are guided meditations and mantra meditations, or you can simply set a timer and sit quietly. Ten minutes is enough to start a solid practice.
Self Love for Physical Health
4. Get Moving
Find a type of exercise that you truly love doing. It could be cycling, pilates, skating, or something else entirely. Anything that gets your heart pumping and makes you feel good while doing it is always worth your time.
Try a class with your gym or join a group through an app. Having a group to share an activity makes you more likely to stick with it.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is too often overlooked. Sleep keeps you healthy and lowers your risk for serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease. So make sure you’re getting enough of it. There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep to clear your head and keep you sharp. And if that means taking a weekend to catch up on some much-needed zzzs, so be it.
6. Eat Right
Don’t read this as dieting. If you find that a lot of your diet consists of fast or processed food, try to cut down as much as you can. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and try to shop at your local farmer’s market. And if you find that you live a busy life, there are always subscription boxes that take the guesswork out of meal planning and food waste.
Self Love for Spiritual Well-Being
7. Practice Gratitude
Giving gratitude is a snowball effect. The more that you find in your life to be grateful for, the more you find more and more things. It’s easy to lose sight of all the great things in our life. Take time every day to write down three things that you’re grateful for. It could be a spouse, a family member, your bed, your favorite candy, etc. There’s no wrong way to be grateful. You may realize that you have more in life than you thought.
8. Forgive Yourself and others
Forgiveness is a hard practice to have. But it’s a necessary one. There are variations of the quote that staying angry is like drinking poison but waiting for the other person to die. Plus, there are benefits to forgiving according to a Mayo Clinic study.
There’s a weight to be lifted by letting go.
9. Have a mantra
Studies are starting to show the power of having a mantra. Let’s say that you lack confidence and you want to change that about yourself. Your mantra could simply be ‘I am confident’. And while at first, it doesn’t seem like much or you don’t feel more confident, over time this works. Fake it until you make it work. Your brain believes your mantra until eventually, you become confident.
Mantras can be spiritual. Or something as simple as I am enough. Or I am loved. Because you are. A solid mantra is there as a powerful reminder of who you are and what you’re capable of.