10 Ways to Practice Self-love

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10 Ways to Practice Self-love

Self-love is plastered all over the place lately and most people are clueless as to what it even means! It is understandable because self-love means something different to each and every individual and we all have unique ways of showing ourselves love. The bottom line is, should we care about self-love? 

To answer this question for myself, I try to think about times when I am sick or run down and when I’m drowning in requests from others. It is during this time that I fall victim to my own self-deprecating thoughts. One of the only things to get me back to feeling like myself is by smothering myself in self-love. 

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I’ve compiled 10 quick ways that ANYONE can practice self-love and have your own unique journey.

1. BE PRESENT. Remember when you used to shout: “president” instead of “present” in elementary school? It seems silly, but I want you to channel that inner child. We lead such busy lives in a world full of distraction. Our brains are working on overdrive to process the the massive amount of information that is at our fingertips a la viral technology. Getting rid of your phone is unrealistic and “unplugging” can only last so long. I propose simple “president” presence: enjoy a meal sans technology with another human, take a walk, meditate, journal, dance, or sing. By creating a distraction-free zone, you will connect with your living space and become better acquainted with YOU!

2. BE OPEN TO NEW KNOWLEDGE. It’s hard to hate learning a new skill or trade. It stimulates the mind and builds confidence. Try taking an intro skills class or opt for a free fitness offering in your area. Learning a new creative skill like photography, cooking, or playing a new instrument stimulates the same endorphins in your brain that you get after a good workout! 

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3. JUST SAY NO. This is really tough for some folks (I’m looking at the ladies especially)! Folks who are so accustomed to taking care of others before themselves find it extremely challenging to put themselves first. Here’s the skinny — each and every time that you say “yes” and place someone else’s priorities above your own, you are essentially saying “no” to yourself. It is not viewed as flakey to ask for more time to think through an invitation or politely decline because you have too much on your plate. In fact, people may respect you more for your honesty. True life example: I turned down an invitation to a coworker’s baby shower because I was slammed with deadlines. My RSVP did not change my relationship with my coworker. She understood and respected that I had to prioritize my projects. 

4. MOVE IT. MOVE IT. You know that I couldn’t resist! Move your body for 30 minutes a day in any way that feels good to you. You do not have to do some crazy cardio workout, or the latest HIIT fitness craze. You simply need to move your muscles, bones, and joints because we as human beings were not designed to sit in front of computers all day! 

5. EAT REAL FOOD. Eating real and whole foods is one of the best ways that you can take care of yourself. One of my favorite expressions is: “everything in moderation…including moderation”, and I’m a firm believer in that; however, when you nourish yourself with protein, fat, fiber, and carbohydrates, you’ll not only feel good, you will look good! That’s an easy way to get on the fast track to looking and feeling your best and the energy you get from a clean diet will propel you through your day.

6. ACCEPT COMPLIMENTS. 80% of our self-talk is negative. Can you believe that? It is hard, and overcoming it is a challenge and I am not the authority on how to rid yourself from it (I suffer from it as well). Instead of focussing on turning off negative thoughts, try to surround yourself by positive words. The other day, I was walking with a girlfriend and we passed a storefront with a manikin wearing a gorgeous sequenced dress. She looked to me and said: “You’d look great in that! You have such great legs!” My knee-jerk reaction was: “Oh my gosh, no I don’t!” Moving forward, I’m going to take a breath and say: “thank you”. A simple thank you will suffice and it will allow compliments to sink in (whether or not you think you have great legs).

7. SHAKE WHAT YO' MOMMA GAVE YA. Inserting the appropriate: “YASSSSSS” here. I’m not asking you to get out there and shake your bon bon like Ricky Martin. I just think that if you put a little extra effort into your appearance (clean clothes, run a comb through your hair, trim your nails, etc) the little things will add up and you’ll feel like the best version of yourself. Getting your eyebrows waxed  to perfection can make you feel on fleek — so strut your stuff and shake what your momma gave ya! 

8. SHARE YOUR TALENT WITH OTHERS. Each and every person on this earth is unique. Everyone has gifts that they can share with the world. Like Nike…just do it! Share your ideas in a safe place with someone you trust, offer your talents to others in a way that would create a positive impact (i.e. read at a nursing home, play with kiddos in a cancer ward, or simply call up a friend/loved one and share a much-needed laugh). If you have a working mind and body, then you have gifts and talents…as my grandfather would say: “put that in your pipe and smoke it!"

9. REMEMBER THAT YOU ARE WORTH IT. I’m about to get really real here — when was the last time that you stopped to think about your self worth? When I’m struggling like this, I do two things: 1) I channel my inner “The Help” and say aloud: “You is smart. You is kind. You is important. 2) I create my own mantra for the week and I tape it to my mirror. This way I have a visual EVERY day when I wake up.

10. OWN YOUR INNER WEIRDO. The people who don’t think they are weird are often the most odd. I KNOW that I’m an oddball and I’m ok with that. The fact that everyone is weird makes this world a more interesting place and makes life great. More often than not, there are people out there who share your same oddities - scope them out and create your own weird tribe and fly that flag high! 

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I’ve shared with you a handful of ways to practice self love. Now it’s your turn - how do you practice self love? 

Meghan Ann Martin