7 Ways to Love Yourself (beyond Valentine’s Day)

Self-love is difficult for many people because often times they only focus on caring for and loving others. Consequently, they forget about themselves at the end of the day. The problem with this is, many people are running themselves ragged and are on "empty." It is important to remember that if you love others, you need to also love yourself and do what it takes to extend your time, your life with your loved ones.

It's not selfish to take time for your own health and wellness, but rather the smart thing to do to ensure your years with your loved ones are plentiful and enjoyable. Here are some of my favorite ways to slow down and show some self-love.

1. Create some “you or quiet time.”

When is the last time you spent time alone? To achieve this on a regular basis, you must schedule this time like an appointment. Make this time a priority. Personally, my quiet time is first thing in the morning before people start to vie for my time. Quiet time is essential because your brain needs down time to think and focus clearly. Your brain is like your vehicle, and we need to feed our brains with whole, clean food and provide ongoing maintenance. In addition, without quiet time, you may be missing out on hearing the voice of God providing insight and instruction for your life. Turn off the TV, cell phone and any other “noise” in your life. Learn to meditate, pray or just be. Furthermore, don’t forget about your children, as it is crucial for them to have quiet time as well so that they can become well adjusted adults.

2. Take A Social Media Sabbatical.

Take a semi-annual social media sabbatical for at least a weekend or even better yet an entire week. When I go on vacation, I take a vacation from everything, including social media and email. If you have a business like I do, you can hire an assistant to manage your professional life during this time or anytime. Sadly, many people determine their worth by their contribution and awareness of what is happening via social media. Believe it or not, you can live without it. I did for the first 40 years of my life!

3. Monitor Your Self-Talk.

Have you monitored the thoughts that are running through your head lately? Do you speak words of love and affirmation to yourself, or are you beating yourself up verbally? Be aware of how much negative self-talk happens in the course of one hour or one day! Make a list of 10 things you love about yourself or your strengths and read it out loud every morning. I’ve been doing this for years, and it has made a big difference in accomplishing my goals and improving my confidence level. Also, read or listen to books that help retrain your brain to think positively. One of my favorites is Joseph Murphy's, The Power of the Subconscious Mind. Of course, the Bible is another favorite of mine for positive insights.

4. Participate in FSA (fun, sweaty activity) and show your body how much you love it.

FSA (fun, sweaty activity) sounds much more fun than exercise. Think of activity that is fun like tennis, hiking with friends or family, or dancing. Being active does not have to be grueling or conducted in a gym. Sometimes, I make use of my yoga DVD's when I don't feel like leaving my home. You might also consider subscribing to a program like www.dailyburn.com.

5. Rest.

Take a few hours or an entire day to do absolutely nothing and/or go to bed earlier than normal, especially if you pride yourself on being a night owl. Did you know that sleeping between the hours of 10pm-2am is when your body heals, restores and repairs? Show your body love by resting and obtaining the 7-9 hours of sleep that allows healing and repair of the body. Unfortunately, I’m seeing many people (even teenagers) experiencing adrenal burnout symptoms because they are struggling with the “I can do it all” mentality.

6. Do something for someone else.

Taking the focus off of yourself and showing others love--without obligation--can benefit everyone involved! Call a friend, take someone to lunch, or make someone a healthy meal. Volunteer at a local non-profit and make a big difference in someone else’s life.

7. Write the story of your life’s successes or create a timeline of accomplishments.

Think back on all the accomplishments in your life from graduating college to the birth of a child. My husband and I have created a fun New Year's Eve tradition that is filled with reflections on the past year of our favorite memories or greatest accomplishments. We note them in a journal so we can review each year and ensure we don’t lose sight of the really important things in life! Our accomplishments seem to be predominantly about time spent with our (now grown) children. This exercise seems to put the priorities of life into perspective.

Remember to show love to yourself and others every single day and not just the week of February 14! What are you favorite self-love routines or activities?

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