When I first decided to engage in a 28-day self-love challenge, it was born out of a desire to switch the focus of Valentine's Day, which is traditionally about the other, back to the self.
Having gone through my fair share of relationship challenges, I've learned that an individual's self-awareness is one of the essential pieces to the duo dynamic. So often, we blame the other, taking little responsibility for our role/actions in the situation. But if we peel back the layers and dig deep into the core issues, we can see that much of it starts with how we see ourselves and the love and respect we have for ourselves.
Here's what I learned over the course of the 28 days...
Making space for your overall well-being needs to be a priority.
Often self-care ends up at the bottom of the to-do list. Our friends, co-workers, family, and all the other people in our lives come first. We wait until we're sick, burnt out, overworked, or depressed to take time out or wait for a professional to tell us we need to slow down. The truth is it doesn't have to get to that. We are "masters of our agenda," and it's up to us to decide how our day goes and set boundaries for self-care.
What you can do: Pick a day to go to bed early. Schedule a massage for yourself or anything that makes you feel pampered.
Appreciating and valuing yourself for being you and what you've accomplished must become a habit.
Receiving thanks and positive feedback can feel a bit like Dr. Seuss's "the waiting place" if you're one of those people who feel undervalued or under appreciated. We might wait and hope for recognition of our good deeds or achievements and then get disappointed or upset if they go unnoticed. But why wait for someone else to pat you on the back when you are the writer of your life story? You hold the memories and the experiences of everything you've done. So instead of being your biggest critic, be your biggest fan!
What you can do: Make a list of all your accomplishments (big and small), and then celebrate your journey and how far you've come. Also, be kind to yourself, embrace your looks, and be thankful for the miraculous things your body does for you daily.
Indulging and playing are part of life--don't take things so seriously.
Often as adults, that inner child who likes to giggle and doesn't have a care in the world doesn't get to come out and play. We say we're busy, we have no time, and life is hard. And while many of these things can be true for us, we also hold the key to changing the narrative. It is up to us to bring a smile to our day, to make playing and indulging in life a part of our routine--even if only for 5 minutes a day.
What you can do: Allow yourself to indulge in dessert occasionally. And don't forget to find opportunities to be a kid again, maybe doing sports, playing board games, or being adventurous in nature.
Spending time alone is part of your personal growth.
Alone time can be scary, lonely, and isolating, but it can be nurturing and re-energizing if done intentionally. Time with yourself allows you to tune in to your senses and to pay attention to your wants and desires instead of being distracted by the thoughts and words of others.
What you can do: Take yourself out on a date, meditate to be more present in your day, or watch a guilty pleasure movie.
Connecting with others nourishes your soul.
Making time to connect with those who bring you joy, push you out of your comfort zone, and teach you something new is so needed for soul growth. Sometimes in life, we feel we have to go at it alone, or we're embarrassed to tell others when we're suffering, or we don't want to bother those we care about--whatever the reason, we can deny ourselves the help when we need it most. However, most of us want to help our friends and family, and there's always professional help for areas needing specialized expertise.
What you can do: Reach out to friends or family you haven't spoken to in awhile. Connect with a therapist or coach for guidance in other areas of your life.
These are just a few things I learned through my "me" time. If you want to take the self-love challenge, click the link below to download the calendar.
Once you've completed the challenge, I'd love to hear what self-love has taught you. You can email me or leave a comment below!