For many of us, New year is a perfect time to reset, renew and re-think. One thing I’d like to consciously focus on is to take care of myself more. Caring for myself gives me a strong base for all other aspects of my daily life. Here are some of my ideas on loving yourself more in the new year and beyond. Need tips to feel more joy? Check out How to Feel Happier.
Gone are the days when taking care of yourself appears selfish and self-indulgent. To give to others, I must fill myself first. This is true for me. If I go for several days without my morning routine, my mind will be soon all over the place, and I get carried away with it. I react to everything and I am a mess within.
But if I feel good, if I have my dose of music, if I move my body, my heart and mind seem to be open. I take things lightly.
If I meditate, if I groom up and dress nice, I get to decide with awareness, how to respond to my kid’s tantrums, to a spilled glass of milk and a messy room. I don’t react like a poor victim.
You see, if I align myself first to what I need, the rest is manageable. So in this post, I am sharing the simple ways I nourish myself in loving and realistic ways. While these are not ground breaking or rocket science, my hope is that their simplicity will encourage you to start a list of your own.
Realistic Tips for Loving Yourself More Love in the Year (and beyond)
1. Feeling Great vs Getting in Shape. We all want to be in shape and the new year seems to be the perfect time to start. However, I think that if I follow a rigid diet plan for the conscious purpose of losing weight, I always end up hating myself. If you feel you should follow a diet plan, make it a sustainable one. Otherwise, you will always feel hate and regret for the things you eat and enjoy. At some point you will feel a sense of failure for not keeping up with a “system” that is not really realistic. What about we focus on how we feel, instead of how we look? Is there a thing such as a perfect shape, anyway?
I know from experience that when I eat too much, I end up feeling heavy and sluggish. So If I know I have a big day of work, I take take it easy and eat filling food. Too much sweets give me sore throat, so I know that 1-2 cookies tonight is the max for me. Some days I feel like I need more veggies. Some days, a hot soup. You get the idea. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it does and does not need. Instead of focusing on losing weight, shift to feeling great, energetic and nourished. This approach is more liberating and loving for me.
2. Move. Our body loves movement. Our muscles and bones need to move because they are basically for moving. Find a physical activity that you enjoy. Again, if I “work out” or exercise for the purpose of losing weight, I tend to be so hard on myself. I am a mom of three, and there are days when I had to skip the exercise because of the unpredictability of my kids’ routines. I used to hate it when I miss a workout. I feel like I was missing out on a chance of losing weight. I soon realize that is so unloving of myself. So now I move because it feels great. I move my body because I love the energy it gives me. I don’t think I can go three straight days without yoga. I make time for it because of how it makes me feel.
3. See and Accept Your Anxieties And Worries for What they Are. Thoughts. They are just thoughts. This is a big one for me. I am a big worrier. If I don’t check on it, my worries make me unable to function well and I become crippled with fear and future projections. How is that loving to myself? It is not.
So now I breathe them in. That is right. I breathe my worries and anxious thoughts in. I breathe deep and I welcome them in my heart. I see them for what they are, they are thoughts. It is okay for them to be here. I am having anxious thoughts right now, and it is okay. I am fine. Then I remind myself of where I am. I am present. I am actually safe and this is real. The key point here is I see my thoughts and I don’t push them away. I accept them, but I don’t add drama to them. I don’t dance away with them. Soon they will melt. And you are well. All is well.
4. Nourish Within. For me, nourishing oneself comes in many forms. It looks different for everyone. But I do believe that nourishment on the physical level ( eating well, exercising) is connected to the nourishment of the emotional and spiritual aspects as well. How you feel physically, you take deep within. And how you feel within, shows physically as well. So by doing the things you love, and the things that inspire you, you nourish the core of who you really are. Are you a music lover? Do you love nature? Cooking makes you feel great? Reading? Writing? Singing? Do those. Eat what makes you feel great and energetic. You nourish yourself this way.
Then there is also this type of nourishing, the silent one. I call this nourishing what is within. Solitude, Gratitude. Silence. Space. I think we all need to be with ourselves in silence. Do it when you feel great, but also, try it when you feel tumult. When you feel troubled. I think that deep within, we all have so much love for ourselves, which in turn determines how we love others. Try to spend times with yourself in silence from time to time. Guidance, love and peace, and whatever it is you need at the moment can come to you in the quietest times.
5. Make Time. Of course, none of the things above will be possible if you don’t make time. But I get it. We all have full days and time is not always enough. But let me tell you that a little goes a long way. Don’t make self- love a periodic thing that you need a grand 4 hours or more at one time to do it. Make time for it everyday. I prioritize yoga, prayer and meditation so I wake up before my household to be able to do that. Know what is important to you and do it everyday as possible. If you do it everyday, know that it is also self-love if you miss it from time to time and not get mad at yourself. What matters is you tend to yourself each day. Fifteen, twenty , or 30 minutes is enough.
Why Tend to Ourselves?
Loving myself and caring for myself makes me feel good. My days as a mom, a business owner, and a wife, are not always perfect, but when you have a strong foundation of self-love and esteem, you are in a better position to shine your light. Plus it is a guarantee that for that day, the world has one resident with a happy heart, who can share that happiness with others. I think that in the general scheme, it makes the world a better place.
You need to keep reminding yourself that you are a Divine piece of God. Feeling as if you are unworthy of God’s abundance is the same as denying your spiritual essence.Dr. Wayne Dyer