Valentine’s Day is the time-honored holiday for letting the most cherished people in our lives know how much they mean to us. This year, I invite you to add one more special person to your list. You. It’s time to step up and acknowledge the wonderful person that YOU are.
When was the last time you took the time to appreciate your own uniqueness and beauty? Today is a great day to begin! When you treat yourself with compassion and love, you’ll find you have even more to share with others.
“The most powerful relationship you’ll ever have is the relationship with yourself.”
—Dr. Steve Maraboldi
Self-care is a gift that is given by you, and to you. It doesn’t rely on anybody else. It’s entirely about what you love and desire. Finding the space for yourself takes courage and empathy because women are often conditioned to support others. Often, this means putting their own needs last.
This Valentine’s Day, give yourself the gift of honoring yourself. When you show up in your own life, you’ll not only be more connected to yourself, but also to the world around you.
How great would it be to own your own happiness and do something that is all about you? Create your own happiness—it’s there waiting for you.
1. Treat yourself like you treat your best friend
Cut yourself some extra slack. We look past the little things and focus on the big things that we love in others. Yet, we are our own harshest critics. It’s time stop judging, and be your own best friend!
Instead of focusing on the things you wish you ‘coulda, shoulda’ done better, make today the day to focus on what’s going right. When you’re stuck in that self-critical behavior, think about what you would tell your closest friend in the same circumstances.
When your girlfriend stops going to the gym, I bet you would never, ever think of telling her to quit because she’s too lazy. You’d probably help her to look at her priorities, see what's going on, and figure out how to help her get back on track. You might even make time in your busy schedule to go with her. Be that kind of friend to yourself!
Let go of the negative self-talk. Think of your strengths and passions, and the special qualities that you bring to the world. You are uniquely qualified to treat yourself with kindness.
2. Write yourself a love letter
Get some special paper or a journal, and a lovely pen. It may feel a bit awkward at first, but just get started and let the ideas flow.
Here’s a few writing prompts to get you started if you’d like. Of course it’s your letter, so go ahead and write whatever you want. Or, download my love letter printable to help you get started!
Have I told you lately that I love you?
There are so many reasons that I appreciate
you, even if I’ve never told you this before.
I love you because ________________,
And because _____________________,
And because _____________________ !!
One of my first memories is when we ______.
And that time when we went to ___________.
I’m happy you were there for me when _____.
I’m happiest with you when we ___________.
You’ve been with me through thick and thin,
and I thank you for that.
3. Freshen up your space and feel energized
If you feel like you’re in a rut, spend 10 minutes to make your work or living space feel crisper and more energetic.
If you’ve got a bunch of paperwork on your desk or counter, stop right now and go through it. Empty your desk or counter space down to the surface and polish until it shines. Toss what you don’t need, and put back only what you want and need to look at. Light a candle and enjoy the scent. Fluff the pillows. Put fresh flowers or greenery in a mason jar or vase. Put on your favorite playlist. Use your favorite mug. Set up your screensaver with a new slideshow.
Any of these actions take just a couple of minutes, and will freshen up your space today. You don’t have to tackle the entire room. Just start in the space that you spend the most time in. Invite yourself in and feel welcome.
4. Love yourself first, and the rest will follow
If this makes you feel kind of guilty and self-indulgent, I’m going to challenge you on that. Many of my clients are givers by nature, and that’s completely admirable. But, it's important to remember that loving yourself gives you more energy for others. If you feel unappreciated, or are starting to feel resentful about the all things that you do for others, then it’s time to dial up your self-care.
When you feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, it’s time to take care of yourself before the weight comes crashing down. Focusing too much on others isn’t healthy for anyone. Learning to listen to your body and mind will help you recognize when it’s time for a well-needed break.
What can you do in an hour or a day that will rejuvenate you? Come up with at least 5 ideas. Write them down and put them somewhere where you will see them. A post-it note, your journal or calendar, or a screensaver are some of the ways to keep your self-care ideas front and center. When you need of some self-love, take the time to take care of yourself with one of these activities. Do it for you, and the rest will follow.
5. Enjoy the beauty of the moment
You are the most important person in this moment! Relish the everyday, and make it special by slowing down.
Teaching preschool taught me about appreciating beauty everywhere. Taking a dozen little kiddos out to the playground in the snow always reminded me that nature gives us gifts of beauty. We passed the time trying to catch snowflakes, feeling the cold snow melting on our noses, learning to make a snowman, wondering how the squirrels and birds lived outside...the list goes on and on.
Next time you feel boxed in by stress, take time to look with curiosity at the world around you. It will connect you to the endless wonder everywhere. There’s nothing quite like a breath of fresh air to feel good again!
Happy Valentine’s Day to you, my friend. While you go through the day, wherever you are and whatever you do, I wish you lots of happiness and joy!
PS: If you’d like to learn more about connecting to your joy, please sign up for the free 7-Day Happiness Experience!
Denise Fountain is a Life Transitions Specialist and Certified Professional Coach. She works with women going through transitions to rediscover themselves and create lives that are happy, healthy and whole again. Together with her clients, she explores the connection between stress, health and happiness, and guides her clients to move forward to make lasting and sustainable changes. She is passionate about helping women live their best lives. Sign up for updates while you’re on this site! Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how Denise can partner with you to create the life you dream of.