If you have ever travelled on an airplane, you have heard the phrase, “Place the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others”. It is usually presented to half-interested airline passengers through muffled speakers, but the concept makes sense. We need to ensure that we can breathe, or else we will not be in a position to help to those in need around us. I feel that this idea translates well to love.
February is a month traditionally focused on love, hearts and romance. Rarely do we take the time to understand that in order to give and share these things with others, we must first experience them within ourselves. As a person who spends a lot of my time giving to others, this is an important reminder to look after myself if I am to be the partner, friend, colleague and family member that I want to be for others.
This month, I invite you to be your own valentine. Cherish yourself. Embrace your strengths and forgive your faults. Remind yourself of all of the great things you have to offer yourself and the world.
Putting ourselves first is not selfish but essential to our emotional survival.
10 ways to be your own valentine:
1. Treat yourself
Enjoy a personal indulgence such as a fancy coffee, your favourite TV show, a movie or a bouquet of flowers – GUILT FREE.
2. Write yourself a love letter
Research shows us that practicing personal gratitude can lead to increased levels of happiness – so write a gratitude letter about yourself, to yourself!
3. Have a personal Big Chill moment
Watch the video link to see what I mean. Blast your favourite song and dance around the kitchen.
4. Cuddle with a pet or loved one
Humans crave touch and actually need physical contact with others in order to survive. It has also been shown to reduce stress and negative emotions.
5 Cover your mirror with love
Cover your mirrors with post-its and write positive messages for yourself.
6. Listen to yourself
Trust your gut and trust your heart. Do not shy away from experiencing emotions and or feelings happening in inside your body. We can learn a great deal about ourselves this way.
7. Take a nap
Curl up with comfortable clothes, warm socks and a hot drink. Give yourself time to rest and refresh.
8. Let it go
Show yourself some compassion and release yourself from the shame or self-doubt associated with things that you cannot control. Read an article about self-compassion here.
9. Google pictures that make you smile
10. Channel your inner child
Remember what it was like to run through the park in bare feet until you thought your lungs would explode? Do something silly and fun.
Self-love is the instrument of our preservation. -Voltaire
Happy Valentine’s Day to each of you.
All my best,
Emmons, Robert A., and Michael E. McCullough. Counting Blessings versus Burdens: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-being in Daily Life. Journal of Personality and Psychology 2003, Vol. 84, No. 2, 377-389.
Hertenstein, Matthew J., Verkamp, Julie M., Kerestes, Alyssa M., Holmes, Rachel M. The Communicative Functions of Touch in Humans, Nonhuman Primates, and Rats: A Review and Synthesis of the Empirical Research. Genetic, Social & General Psychology Monographs Feb2006, Vol. 132 Issue 1, p5.
Montagu, A. (1986). Touching; The Human Significance of the Skin. 3rd Ed. New York: Harper & Row.