“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” ~ Elizabeth Lesser, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
I love this quote almost as much as I love this book.
If you have not read this book, then right now, break from reading this article and go on Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble, or whatever your favorite bookstore is, and buy it, now!
This book absolutely changed my life. There have been many readings, movies, stories, and articles that have moved me—but nothing has changed me to the core as much as this book has.
This book taught me to love myself, through all my faults, mistakes, failures, and (of course) my successes. This book showed me what struggle truly is and how to rise from the ashes after hitting rock bottom. I learned life is truly a blank slate, and although you look at losses and failures as just that, the truth is they are what teach us our biggest lessons in life. Imagine never learning, imagine not having any experiences, imagine not having that one story that has defined who you have become. I can’t.
I am a self-love and self-care expert. I study it, teach it, but most of all, I put it into practice in every single way and in every little aspect of my life.
Self-love is not a trend; it is not something you do when you feel like it. You don’t just “do self-love” after a break up or after a traumatic experience. Self-love is a lifelong practice that is a critical aspect of your everyday life. Self-love is the releasing of negative thoughts and self-criticism by embracing more of a loving and positive acceptance of yourself through forgiveness of yourself and others.
The universal concept is that our thoughts create our actions, and therefore those thoughts dictate the outcome in our lives. Self-love is a powerful and necessary practice and is critical if you want to have healthy relationships with others and yourself.
Taking care of and loving ourselves and being a whole, sound, and emotionally healthy person allows us to take care of others without it feeling like a burden. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, if you don’t rest and relax your soul, then you will be of no help to others—especially yourself. You will eventually feel drained, and eventually there will be nothing left to give. You must give to yourself as well as give to others.
Below is a a simple self-love checklist that may seem overwhelming to you at first. However, I promise that if you commit to adding a majority of them into your routine—or practice, as I like to call it—every single day, you’ll see the benefits immediately.
Self-love ideas (in no particular order) that you can put into place, starting today:
- Start your day with a protein or collagen smoothie every morning.
- Sleep at least seven hours a day.
- Start an exercise routine (yoga, pilates, the gym, take a walk). Increase those endorphins.
- Say no, and be okay with it.
- Pay it forward, always.
- Create a quiet and safe space in your home (a corner, a closet, or a spare room), decorate it, make it your own, and enjoy every moment in it.
- Make someone feel good whenever you can.
- Smile often, even if no one is smiling at you (they may think you are weird—but that is okay!).
- Change the way you eat. Eat more protein and veggies and less junk. Try different healthy options.
- Get a massage and have them use essential oils.
- Go for a hike or a long walk in nature.
- Be confident (walk and talk with confidence).
- Learn something new—dance classes, yoga, tennis lessons, start or join a MeetUp group, history classes.
- Host a ladies night.
- Grow a garden of fresh vegetables.
- Buy yourself fresh flowers (or cut them from your garden and display them).
- Explore something new and do something out of your comfort zone.
- Go on an adventure/travel.
- Buy yourself gifts.
- Create a routine that includes something fun.
- Join FabFitFun and get a surprise box of fun every month.
- Read, take a nap, listen to music, sit quietly—please just rest your soul.
- Buy yourself some new makeup and play with it, give yourself a facial, buy new clothes.
- Create a daily bucket list and post it.
- Repeat the following mantra “I love and accept myself.”
- Make a list of all the things you like about yourself.
- Create a gratitude journal.
- Start your day with meditation and yoga.
- Implement a “treat yourself” day (mine is Friday).
- Dress to impress, even if you don’t have to; put on those earrings, scarf, and lipstick and show the world how beautiful you are.
- Take a breath between your bites of food and savor the taste.
- Make yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea and savor each sip (might I suggest green tea and ginger).
- Call a friend and laugh for hours about nothing (no complaining).
- Spend time with your kids before they grow up and move away.
- Get a new haircut.
- Eat chocolate guilt-free (maybe on treat day).
- When someone offers you a compliment, simply say, “Thank you.”
- Travel solo.
- Set a no screen time in your house (e.g., dinner, after nine).
- Set goals.
- Take a day off and do something nice for yourself (go to the gym or a coffee shop, shop, meet a friend for lunch, take a walk, sleep).
- Self-love mantra: “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.”
- Let go of what no longer serves you.
- Buy a diffuser and infuse essential oils like lavender.
- Write a letter to yourself and open it a year later to the date.
- Host a dinner party.
- Hire a coach or a counselor.
- Take a hot bath with Epsom salt and lavender (or whatever your favorite oil is).
- Make new friends (and remove those toxic ones).
- Clean out your closet and donate clothes you no longer wear.
The biggest message I have is to be gentle with yourself, treat yourself well and often, and always honor where you are at every stage of your journey.
And, lastly, the best advice I have been given is to feel your feelings.