Yesterday was all about love for self, defined. Today is about it in action. What does it look like? How do you do it? And what lessons can be learned.
Self-love is love without distractions. This means internal and external. We finally get some alone time and we can’t stop thinking about work, assignments, relationships, money, and to-do lists. Neglecting ourselves is the most hazardous thing we can do. We free up “me-time” but continuously think about “them” and “it” during that time. It’s about time you think about you! The following are ways that you can love on yourself some.
A lot of us claim to know ourselves but couldn’t answer the most basic questions. What makes you happy? What makes you sad? How do you feel working out? How do you feel after a nap? What foods make you sluggish? What environments do you feel most at home? What simple pleasures do you enjoy? What things bother you? What makes your body feel the best? When is your mind clearest? Day or Night? What things make you feel insecure? What grounds you? These will be the most important lessons you will learn your entire life. When things get off track, self-reflection allows you to figure out why and how to come back to solid ground.
Even if it is only five or ten minutes, taking time for yourself daily to check in with you is a vital and under-appreciated activity. How are you feeling today? Are you sick? Are you happy, sad, tired, or lonely? Have you been eating right? Have you been drained recently? Are you under a new amount of stress? Acknowledge how you feel and plan to address the most important as soon as possible. What typically rebalances the feelings that are thrown off? Take notes of the feelings
Note: These aren’t particularly things on a to-do list that you must respond to such as projects or family members, but addressing that when things aren’t completely you feel X or Y, and to be functioning at full capacity, you need to address your happiness or distress so you can face the to-do items at peak condition.
There are so many different demands on our attention, whether that is the constant push of Social Media or the drain of always being accessible by phone or email. The world is continuously pushing on you to show what you’re doing, where you are, who you are with and how much of a great time you are having. Work absorbs more and more of your life as they expect you to be available 24/7. Kids, family, friends, they all want a piece of you and you must take time away without those distractions for your health.
The most surreal moment I ever had was at a party. Everyone was lax and having random banter until a certain song came on. The phones immediately came out, social media posts were created looking so “fun”, then everyone went back to “normal” once the song went off. I was blown away. The switch was flipped so easily that I seriously questioned what fun was. Was the life of leisure and excitement I saw online all a facade? Yes. It was exactly that.
My biggest issue always was that my mind couldn’t stop for five minutes and be still. People talk about meditation all the time and just the act of sitting still is difficult for me. Everything immediately becomes super loud. Birds must have my apartment tapped because they sit right outside my window whenever I want to get silent. I found that meditation is really just the focusing of the mind. A lot of people talk about clearing your mind, but I prefer to focus my mind on something. When I clear it, all types of thoughts are dug up, which can either be dangerous, distracting, or overly focused on the wrong mood. I focus on things that are specific, simple, and that create a particular emotion (often related to the Word) like gratitude for being alive.
This has to be a top ten favorite activity. Rest is important but don’t confuse sleep with rest. Sleep is the time for your body to heal, process memories from the day, and store energy. However, oversleeping while stressed is often a symptom of depression or burn out. People often will sleep a ridiculous amount of hours during vacation and end up still tired. That’s because it was nothing that sleep could have healed. A lot of times, our stressors just wait until we wake up to continue again. Sleep is good but don’t confuse it with resting yourself. You can rest will awake and doing healthy activities.
What’s something that you can do that lifts your mood? I’m talking about things that don’t require a state of being change (drugs or alcohol), someone else (sex), or extensive money (shopping). These things tend to link happiness with outcomes and fade rather quickly. What simple things do you enjoy? If you were alone in a cabin, what could you do with minimal resources?
Personally, I enjoy stargazing, writing, reading, taking pictures (of other things), and creating. These hobbies allow me to be alone with my thoughts and without additional burden. It gives my mind a chance to really decompress and go free. I have realized that the more that I focus on tasks and order, the more my mind enjoys the freedom to roam every once and a while.
Note about: aficionados – a person who likes, knows and appreciates a usually fervently pursued interest or activity.
I know people that are movie/music/food aficionados. They have an encyclopedic knowledge about these things and will travel and pay an immense amount of money to do these things. If those are your passions, I support that 100 % but in moderation. This is about understanding you. You have to be careful about binging those things because they become counterproductive. Occasional sessions or trips are great but those things are larger than the scope of this post.
These are the things you fail to do when life gets chaotic. Take time and have a long bath. Clean, trim, and take care of your nails and hair. Go to a spa and get pampered by a professional. Buy something simple for yourself to look good. These moments are vital but must be in moderation. You don’t want to create more stress than what’s alleviated.
Like everything I bring up here, I cannot easily give you advice without mentioning prayer. Prayer is a conversation with the creator. It doesn’t always have to be “Lord and Savior”, but you can commune as a friend also. Talk about your feelings and live freely, like you would to a trusted family member or friend. These moments are good and positive.
What do you do as acts of self-love? How do you treat yourself, by yourself? What ways do you remind yourself that you matter? Let me know and leave comments in the section below.
P.S. If you responded at ANY POINT IN TIME with I haven’t the time to do this, that’s a hint that you need to reevaluate something. Either you take time for yourself or your body makes you take time.