February Love Challenge
For a lot of people, February is the month of love, thanks to Valentine’s Day. But for many others – whether they don’t like the pressure to do some grand gesture of love, or because they’re single, or whatever the case may be – the spirit of the day and month gets lost. Although people are important, and February causes us to think of expressing one’s appreciation in a special way, we want to encourage you to be sure to also think of yourself and be sure to love yourself. This is often referred to as self-care.
Caring about ourselves and our own wellbeing doesn’t just mean doing something that feels good in the moment, like watching Netflix with a platter of greasy hot wings. We’re talking about activities that are good for the soul, the body, and everything else that makes you, you. There’s a place for indulging and relaxing in moderation, but if you consider all your unique components and try to nourish them all as you go through life – that’s the stuff we’re talking about. That’s self-care. If you are stumped with how to even care for yourself, we have a few pointers to help you out on this journey.
- A good first step is a relatively easy one: make sure you take time to do things you enjoy doing (and that do not negatively impact your health). Take a relaxing walk, play with your pet, set aside 15 minutes before bed to turn everything off and meditate on the good things in your day. What is free, healthy and emotionally revitalizing? Take some time for you and do it.
- Make sure you treat yourself kindly. The old saying goes that we are our own worst critics. In general, people are very hard on themselves, and focus only on their failures and everyone else’s successes. Take the time to evaluate your own thoughts, and make it a priority to change your mindset when engaging in self-reflection. Be encouraging to yourself. Treat yourself with the same kindness you would treat a friend. A good trick is to find an inspirational saying that you can keep in front of you to remind yourself that you matter and that you are great! Maybe put the inspirational message on your phone background, on your fridge door, or hang it over your desk. It will keep that spirit of self-care at the front of your mind. It has been said that if your thoughts were your roommate, you would have kicked them out long ago. Change the thoughts to those that are helpful to you and not thoughts of condemnation and discouragement. Get a new roommate in your mind.
- Literally find a happy place! Go somewhere visually appealing to you, without worrying about someone else’s opinion. Go to the library if you love books, or the zoo if you adore animals (we especially recommend the Enmax Butterfly Conservatory or the TransAlta Rainforest – very warm this time of year). If you love cars and can spend all day looking at the beautiful designs of BMWs in a lot without getting envious about them, do that and simply enjoy the experience. Find somewhere that speaks to you and makes you feel welcome and worthy of love.
- And of course, remember to take care of yourself physically. New Year’s resolutions have come and gone, but it’s never too late to start getting into shape – maybe this is your month to say no to bad habits and yes to being more active! Say no to another pair of heels, but yes to runners. No to another plate of chicken wings, but yes to a delicious garden salad. It’s an old cliché, but when you start treating your body better, you do start feeling better. And once you feel the difference, you’ll wonder how you ever got through your days before.
- To tie into that last point, invest in something that makes you feel and look your best because when you look good, you feel good. There’s nothing better than a rejuvenating spa treatment for this – your skin will look and be healthier long afterward, you’ll feel refreshed, and it’s a symbolic act that gets rid of the old stuff and celebrates being brand new. What’s not to like?
Self-care means something different to every person. The key to succeeding, though, is to audit your life and be honest about what needs to change. Find out what’s beneficial for you, and in turn, what isn’t beneficial for you. Let go of what isn’t beneficial and take hold of what is beneficial. In a short period of time you will see a great difference.
Think of it this way: if your pet was sick and needed medicine, you would make sure they took every dose exactly as needed to get better. Right? So why not do the same for yourself, too? Don’t have a Blue day like Jessica… instead, care for yourself the same way you care about others in your life, even – especially – when it isn’t the most fun, or easy to do. You will feel and live better in the long run. Take your advice from Nike and from Yoda: Just do it, because you either do or you do not…there is no try! We are cheering for you and as you take time to love yourself we want to wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!