Have you been wanting to start a self-love journey for some time but don't know where to start? Do you get confused about where the line is between self-love and selfishness? Do you get worried that people will think you are being selfish?
The truth is that everyone's journey is different, and what I went through will be different to what you go through. However, there are some easy ways for anyone to start their self-love journey.
What does it mean to practice self-love?
Practising self-love is all about putting your priority and needs first, above all else. This doesn't mean that you become selfish and self-absorbed, but instead, actively make sure that your life is filled with what you need.
Putting your own needs first
The basics of self-love are the practices that keep your body and soul nourished. It is about:
- Sleeping for 6-8 hours a night
- Having a night and morning routine that leave you feeling refreshed and nourished
- Eating healthily - getting protein, carbs and fats into meals
Being called selfish
Although self-love and prioritising yourself shouldn't be considered selfish, there are still people who will claim that is what you are. But do you want to know a secret? If you are truly loving yourself in a healthy way, self-love is not selfish.
People will see how happy you are within yourself and find ways to bring you down, so that you can then cater to them or so that they don't feel bad about their own relationship with themselves.
There are so many ways to practice self-love because the truth is that there are many elements to self-love.
If you are looking for some self-care, you could try
- Having a bath before bed. Studies have shown that having a warm bath or shower before bed helps to fall asleep faster.
- Doing an extended skincare routine. Maybe try a hydration mask or eye mask.
- Treat yourself. It might be your favourite flavour of cookie, or a dress you've been wanting to buy, or a special notebook for your journalling.
- Take a vacation on your own or with a close friend.
- Hug a loved one. Hugs help release endorphins for most people.
If you are looking for some physical self-love, you could try
- Trying a new form of exercise. This could be taking a hike, yoga, pilates, dancing, boxing, or personal training.
- Going for a swim in the ocean, a pool or a lake.
- Cuddling a plush toy. Bonus if the toy has some weight to it. Many people like having a bit of weight on their chest as they sleep - it's why a lot of people sleep on their stomach - so having a toy with some weight that you cuddle at night can lead to better sleep.
- Increase your water intake. Most adults should be drinking 2 litres of water a day.
- Get your blood levels checked. Although this may seem like it isn't self-love, it's important to know what all your vitamin and blood levels are to ensure you are staying as healthy as you can.
If you are looking for emotional self-love, you could try
- Set boundaries and stick to them. Say no when you don't want to do something or are struggling to fit it into your schedule. Don't let people walk over you. Turn off your phone at a particular time of the night to have some time for yourself.
- Open up to someone you trust about your self-love journey.
- Let go of friendships that aren't providing good soul food for you. Socialising takes energy, and if that energy isn't being given back to you, it can be very draining.
There are many ways to start your self-love journey, but if you are starting out, here is one way to start your self-love journey.
1. Start a journal
Your journal should have 3 areas
- What is your goal for self-love? Is it to improve your health, improve your self-image or live a happier life, to name a few?
- How was your day? What was good AND what was bad? What surprised you throughout the day?
- What do you hope to get out of your week ahead? Make it as specific as you want. Write out where you want to end up at the end of the week, and how far you want to have travelled with the self-love journey.
Now, this step you can take it as far as you want. The bare minimum I want you to do is look at what your diet consists of right now. You don't need to drop all your sugar intake, or cut out gluten, just simply identify what you are eating throughout the day.
You may wonder why I've asked you to do this, but it's simple. What we eat is our fuel. Many people, myself included, are mindless eaters, meaning we will eat without even realise what we are eating or how much we are consuming. It is a very bad habit to get into as you are not taking ownership of the food you eat.
Why is it important to take ownership of your food?
Taking ownership of where you are in your life, what happens to you and the choices you make is very important. Eating is part of that. Acknowledging what you eat every day will help you to take back control of what you are eating.
3. Improve movement
Exercise releases endorphins into your system, meaning you actually feel better when you exercise. Now I'm not asking you to go out and run a marathon, let's start slow. Start going for a half-hour walk or cycle. If you are like me and find you get bored easily going for a walk outside, go for a walk in a shopping centre. Have a browse through different shops and get your step count up. Just be careful if you are an impulsive buyer.
4. Forgive yourself
Start with small things. Did you eat an extra cookie and are annoyed at yourself? Forgive yourself and make a better choice next time. Didn't get enough sleep? Forgive yourself and go to bed earlier tonight.
You can slowly start to build up to bigger things. If you are an overthinker like me, it will take a while to truly forgive your past worries, but small steps that lead in the right direction will get you there.
Start a guided meditation to help you stay grounded and in the moment. Many people have a misconception about what meditation is. Rather than clearing your mind of every tiny little thing, try focusing on keeping your breath even and steady, or imagine that you are laying on a sandy beach with the sun warming up your body. When you focus on one thing, you'll find your mind lets go of all other noise in your head.
Mistakes are part of the journey
Your self-love journey is never going to be 100% positive and on the right track. You will have moments where you travel backwards, and there will be times were you just don't want to work on your self-love journey. The most important thing to remember is that this is normal, everyone goes through this in their self-love journey.
I don't want this journey to be something you force yourself to have to do. It should be enjoyable and something that becomes part of your life, not something you really don't want to have to do.
Be gentle with yourself at all times, you are taking a very important step and that is not to be underestimated.
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*This post is a copy of the original blog post found here
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