This is going to be a little different compared to my usual food posts… but I think it’s a necessary one.
For months now, I have felt like I’ve been in a “rut”. This rut has been so deep that, at times, I couldn’t really even see a way to climb out of it. Within these months, I have struggled so. damn. hard. with loving myself and treating myself the way that I try to always treat others – with compassion, love, sincerity, and openness.
This past Saturday, I woke up with a relatively minor eye-irritation. I went to work, and as the day progressed, the pain became worse and at my shift’s end, I drove myself to urgent care to find out that I had a sty (I thought so) which was in a really shitty spot of my bottom eyelid, causing a ton of irritation. The next morning I woke up and couldn’t open that eye due to all of the swelling and irritation. Another day has passed, and it’s still extremely red and irritated/sensitive, but I’m finally able to open it for more than a few seconds at a time.
Why is this relevant? Well, I’m looking at this negative experience as my body’s way of telling me to slow. the hell. down. Since I can’t make this conscious decision on my own, I guess my body thought it’d be a good idea to leave me no choice but to take a few days off from work and focus on relaxing and fully healing. Despite the physical pain I’ve been experiencing, I feel as though this is pulling me out of my mental rut, and I’m ready to start focusing on what I need to do to love myself.
Below are what I personally believe to be the essentials to living a life full of self-love.
1. Compliment Yourself
We, as humans (and I can really only speak for myself, specifically as a woman), have become accustom to pointing out the negatives in ourselves. For me personally, I am so quick to compliment others (and they’re always genuine), but cringe at the sound of a compliment directed towards me. This act of self-love is more of a challenge. I challenge myself (and anyone who wishes to partake as well) to write down 3 positive things about myself for every negative thought about myself that crosses my mind. And if zero negative thoughts arise, then I will STILL write three positive things that I like about myself. Every. Damn. Day.
I didn’t want to label this one as “Exercise” because I didn’t want it to come across as “Go to the gym and sweat your ass off”, unless of course that’s what you want to do. Just move. Go on a walk, do yoga, dance, run, skip, do cartwheels in the grass, do literally anything that causes you body to move around. You will feel so much better not only physically, but mentally as well.
3. Nourish Your Body
I whole-heartedly believe that the food we put into our bodies directly effects every aspect of our life. Feed your body the foods that will help it perform at its optimal level… but don’t forget to treat it as well. Want that glass of wine after a long day at work? Have it. Need that piece of chocolate after dinner? Eat it. Don’t deprive yourself… that’s typically when we tend to make unhealthy choices that lead to binge eating. If you’re living a healthy lifestyle, your unhealthy cravings will slowly begin to subside. Additionally, f you’re taking care of your body and fueling it with what it’s asking for, your physical, mental, and psychological health will thank you.
4. Do What You Love
If you’re spending the majority of your time doing things that don’t speak to you or inspire you, you’re bound to be pretty miserable. If you hate your job, invest some energy into finding a new one. If you hate what you’re studying in school, find a path that’s in alignment with what you love doing. I’m a firm believer in the saying “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Also, what’s better than getting paid for doing things you actually enjoy doing? Aside from work, school and the other necessities of life, don’t forget to spend time outside of those necessary evils doing things that make you happy. Read, paint, go for a hike, go to happy hour with your friends, see a movie… do literally anything that puts a smile on your face. You’ll not only infect other people with your happiness, but it’ll stick with you and become almost a habit.
5. Develop a Morning and Evening Routine
We are humans. We are creatures of habit. For the most part, we perform and feel better when we have some sort of routine that we stick to. This should be more than just rolling out of bed, brushing your teeth still half-asleep, sort of fixing your hair and make up, and then robotically driving to work each morning. Wake up earlier, journal, sit out on your patio, meditate, take a morning walk… Develop a morning routine that makes waking up a pleasant experience and something to look forward to. This is something I still need to work on. This same practice goes for the evening. Figure out a routine that is sustainable and allows your body to relax and prepare for a restful sleep. Eliminate electronics 30 minutes before bed, light some candles, take a bath, read a book. Do anything that puts your body in full relaxation mode. This will help you reap the benefits of sleeping, and make waking up the next morning even easier.
6. Drink Water
Note to self: take your own damn advice. I am NOTORIOUS for dehydrating myself on a daily basis. I like coffee and I drink a lot of it and I forget to drink water. BUT! This is so important! Drinking water not only helps your metabolism and hormonal balance, but it just makes you feel generally… good. Have trouble drinking water? Make it fun by adding different fruits/herbs to enhance the taste. Psst… this also adds additional nutritional value to your plain old water!
7. Eliminate Toxicity
Anyone in your life just inherently negative? Always bringing you down? Never has anything nice to say? Don’t feel guilty about distancing yourself from those type of people. It’s true that “your vibe attracts your tribe”. Surround yourself with positivity and with people who support, love, and lift you up rather than criticize and ridicule you.
There are a ton of other things you can do to promote a more positive relationship with yourself, but it’s so subjective to your own personal needs. This list is small, and my personal opinion on what may help/how you can start the journey. Feel free to add to the list in the comments below!