How to be your own Valentine—without the chocolate-coated calories
What better holiday than Valentine’s Day to focus on showing a little self-love and compassion for your busy, hardworking self? The stores are filled with chocolate and champagne, but there are ways to treat yourself and give yourself some much-needed self-care and me-time that won’t leave you worrying about stepping on the scale.
Here are ten lovely things to do for yourself today and every day Valentine!
1. Commit to sleep. If you aren’t regularly getting 7.5 hours a night of zzzzzzzs, this may be the number one thing you can do to improve your energy, clarity, pleasant personality, and to control your appetite. Did you know that one study found getting less than six hours of sleep each night to be one of the most powerful predictors of on-the-job-burnout? If you can’t get your sleep all at once, don’t downplay the power of a good nap. Research shows that naps can improve performance, vigilance, and even memory.
2. Be a cat. Do you know how happy a cat looks when it goes into one of those full-body-cat-stretches? We store tension and stress in our bodies and it takes a toll. Releasing the kinks and the tightness feels great in the short term and can have powerful effects on your comfort and health in the bigger picture. Zero in on the places you hold stress. If you don’t know some great stretches for those places, do an online search. Find stretches that you love and (using good judgment based on your current health) do them daily. Set a reminder if you need to. Feel the bliss.
3. Throw yourself a (tea) party. Find a low-calorie hot beverage to luxuriate in once a day. A fragrant, warm, soothing cup of tea can create an instant cue to take a deep breath, clear your head, and enjoy a few moments of coziness with your sweet self.
4. Breathe deep and destress. Find an essential oil or natural scent that you love and find ways to envelope yourself in it and quiet your mind. Lavender lotion, a peppermint candle, or some essential oils dabbed on your temples are great no-calorie ways to feed your senses and add some loving kindness to your day.
5. Let go of some of the static in your life. Do you really need to hear it every time an email lands in your inbox? Turn off as many of those noisy alerts as you can on your phone and your computer and experience the joy of not being pulled off-task every time somebody else has a different agenda for you (that’s what emails are, aren’t they?).
6. Do something that makes you smile every day. Figure out what it is and make it routine. If you haven’t had your smile fix already today, go find it now. You’ll get bonus points and smiles if you are able to share what lit you up with somebody else.
7. Get a helper’s high. Did you know that there is such thing as a helper’s high and that altruism can actually reduce stress? Doing something kind for others makes us happier and although being of service is important, there are countless little ways to make a difference. Try spreading a little magic by setting the goal of giving at least one unexpected compliment, appreciation, or random act of kindness every day. Feel the glow of watching others light up and seeing them feel lighter.
8. Recalibrate. Humans tend to see and notice what we are looking for. If you are endlessly focused on your perpetual to-do list, you may find that you are always feeling a bit overwhelmed and behind. Create a better mood and a brighter mindset by looking in the other direction. Collect “things that went well today.” Start listing three things a day. They might be hard to find at first, but as your brain gets used to looking for them, you’ll probably start seeing them all over the place.
9. Sing yourself silly. Music can shift your mood without you having to lift a finger. Create a playlist that perks you up or relaxes you or a playlist that makes you happy. Apply liberally.
10. Be open to receiving. Sometimes having a great day or being on the receiving end of a ton of goodness can be as simple as being open to it. And you might be surprised how many tough cookies are better at giving than receiving. Today, be open Valentine. Let the compliment land and don’t deflect the kind words or minimize your accomplishments. Let them in and allow them to warm your heart. Put your hand on your heart right now and repeat after me—“Today, I see the good aimed at me, I feel the good, I receive the good.” Don’t forget to make eye contact.