This past year if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s filling up our cup is crucial for our well-being. When we think of self-love we’ve learned very quickly how critical it is for us to take time and include ourselves as priority on the list, especially those of us who are mothers and caregivers. You can’t poor from an empty cup couldn’t be more relevant.
But what is self-love? It’s not just a bunch of quotes plaster on our clothes, cups and frame as art. It isn’t just about treating ourselves with grandiose gestures. It most definitely isn’t sugar coating situations with good vibes. It's a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.
This month we want to challenge you to explore your mindset around how you care for yourself, and the positive, infectious ripple affects of doing so with love, attention and priority. Anquinette Hill is a champion for women, on opening your heart and mind to yourself and breaking unhealthy, unrealistic expectations of ourself that are self imposed or brought on by “they”. We’ve put together a list of wonderful things you can do right now that do not require any money and are possible everywhere at any stage of your life. One thing we haven’t been taught is how to truly love ourselves so let’s explore some self-care rituals that are sustainable and life changing for a happier healthier you 🥰.
JOURNALING & GRATITUDE
Journaling is a great way to channel your feelings out of your body and into another vessel. When we write things out it helps to process how we feel and also gives us perspective. Best of all its accessible! All you need is paper and a pencil, you don’t need a fancy journal.
Gratitude journals are a wonderful way of practicing living in the moment and really taking in all that you are grateful for - from a universal energy perspective of law of attraction, the more you pay attention to what you do have, the more you will have. This practice is extremely beneficial into shifting our thoughts of lack to abundance but really only starts to work when we’re in a groove but take it one day at a time. It’s a great way to check in and appreciate just how truly blessed you are.
Journaling helps control your symptoms and improve your mood by:
Helping you prioritize problems, fears, and concerns
Tracking any symptoms day-to-day so that you can recognize triggers and learn ways to better control them
Providing an opportunity for positive self-talk and identifying negative thoughts and behaviours
Source: University of Rochester - Journaling for Mental Health
Affirmations are a great way to express self-love. They are sentences that affirm the way you want to feel but may not feel in the present moment. Affirmations are helpful to re-program your thought process because it challenges your current mindset to think differently. They may sound, feel silly or uncomfortable at first because they go against your reality in the now but over time they will grow on you and you will reap the benefits of a strong sense of self.
“You're using affirmations to help change long-standing patterns and beliefs. A good way to bring this change about is to act as if you've already succeeded. A goal remains something you have to work toward. An affirmation, on the other hand, strengthens your confidence by reminding you of what you can do right now.” - Positive Affirmations: Too Good to Be True? Health Line
An excellent source of affirmations is Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer’s series of work. They are gentle, powerful and impactful. You can practice affirmations anywhere, it’s literally the act of giving yourself a pep talk and it works! Try it.
Mirror work can be challenging. It’s looking into your own eyes and telling yourself all the things you long to hear or need to hear, from yourself to yourself. Gazing into someone’s eyes is a very intimate act. The concept involves telling yourself affirmations out loud and observing how you react. Mirrors reflect back everything about you as they are completely unfiltered. This type of self-love gives us some insight into how we speak to ourselves, is it positive, is it negative it’s a great way to look at ourselves from a different perspective.
For more information check out Louise Hay’s Mirror Work
“A boundary is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends . . . The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is, of course, to protect and take good care of you” (n.d.). - positive psychology
Learning to listen to your intuition and standing up for what you believe in is essential for your personal growth. Recognizing boundaries are a two-way street also keeps us accountable for how we may overstep the boundaries of others. Observe how you interact in different situations with different people. Standing up for your values in a respectful way will make you feel better.
“Each and every time someone asks do my boobs still produce milk... I legit squirt them🙃 lol one of my favourite forms of self care is saying, “Thanks for your advice, but I’m not going to take it!” -Anquinette Hill
Ok well this one might cost, but it’s a repeat that you are more expensive than anything with a price tag. You cannot be replaced. If there are a lot of people on your list, it better include you. Normalize buying yourself all the things you wish you were gifted and that includes receiving beautiful meaningful cards, indulging in your favourite meal, getting a flower subscription, and making yourself a wonderful environment that lights you up!
If you’re unsure how to love yourself, a great hint would be to observe how you care for others and do those things for yourself. Check out 5 Love Languages to explore how you liked to be loved.
BE GENTLE ON YOURSELF
Finally, be gentle on yourself. Learning to take care of you takes time. Getting to know what works and what doesn’t for you comes with time, patience and introspection. Remember mistakes do not define who you are they are part of the growing process. Allow yourself the space and the room to grow into your best self - caring for yourself IS caring for others.
A special thanks to Anquinette Hill, sweet West for sharing themselves in such an inspirational and meaningful way and to Chelsey Ray for honouring the true definition of self-love.
From the MG Family and the incredible women that participated in making this love letter to you possible, cheers a fabulous Valentine’s Day filled with lots of self-love.