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In the wake of Valentine’s Day, we often focus on all the romance and forget the most important relationship we have—the one with ourselves. How can we honor this relationship? Practice self-love. Some think self-love is selfish, but it’s exactly the opposite. You see, when you love yourself, you begin to love others more deeply. And on top of that, others begin to see and love you more deeply. This romance season, begin your practice of self-love, and see how the world around you changes.
Here are some ways to start:
There’s no need to wait for someone else to write you a beautiful note and tell you how wonderful you are. You are wonderful. You are beautiful. And you are worthy of love. So, begin writing love notes to yourself.
There are different ways to practice this: You can write a letter to yourself as you are today. Or you can write to a younger version of yourself, who was struggling at the time. You can even write a letter to your future self. Sometimes, they’ll write you back—which is pretty cool.
This is a powerful and healing practice if you do it regularly.
This is a specific mediation to nurture positive feelings about yourself. Picture yourself, or a younger version of yourself. You can look at an old picture or even use a mirror! Look yourself in the eyes, and tell yourself: "I love and accept you just the way you are." Repeat this several times, and remember, there’s no one more worthy of your love than you!
I know. Here we are with gratitude again. But this time, it’s a little different. Instead of looking for things around you, begin to practice gratitude for you. Ask yourself, “What about myself am I grateful for?” And, “Why are these things important?” It’s this second question, the “why,” that allows you to feel gratitude. Remember, gratitude is not a thought, it’s a feeling. It’s the magical key to start feeling good about yourself.
There's nothing quite as powerful as forgiving yourself for past mistakes. Yes, you may have screwed up. Yes, you probably could have done things differently. But the reality is, you’re human. And you make mistakes like every other human on the planet.
My favorite definition of forgiveness comes from Dr. Jampolsky. He says that forgiveness is giving up hope that the past can be different. It acknowledges the past and frees us from having to live it over and over again. And while forgiving others is important, self-forgiveness is a missing ingredient. Self-forgiveness unlocks you from the past and allows you to create a new future yourself.
You can say anything, no rules here! Thank your toes for helping you walk. Seriously, when’s the last time you thanked your toes for anything? And think about what life would be like without your toes. Or compliment yourself on your smile, your artistic ability, or how great a cook you are. Anything, just start being kind to yourself.
As I’ve been getting older, I use this regularly when I look in the mirror. Almost every day I see new wrinkles and gray hairs. Of course, my first reaction is still, “What are you doing there?” And then I catch my myself, look endearingly at this changed part of me, and say, “Welcome to family.”
This one practice has completely changed my relationship with myself. And bonus, it’s helped me see others differently as well. We are all growing and changing.
In the end, self-love is about treating yourself as a friend. You accept your friends, you forgive your friends, you say kind things to your friends. Self-love is about becoming your own friend. Treat yourself as you would treat a dear friend. Because no one is more deserving of your friendship than you.
And you can be your own friend every day.
Want to learn more about practicing self-love? Join the Self-Love Revolution!
Since 1992, April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. It was established to help shed light on the issues behind stress, teach us how to fight it, and create methods to overcome it. While this initiative has existed just shy of three decades, this year it seems particularly important.
With a year under our belts in pandemic mode—a lot of us had to get creative when it came to keeping our cool. On top of that, everyday stresses didn’t just magically disappear during this time either. Just think about it—have you ever been in a situation that was overwhelming? Maybe you’ve had a looming deadline or a to-do list that seems, well...totally un-doable? If you’ve ever felt you were in over your head, please know you’re not alone—you never are. At one time or another, we’ve all been affected by stress—although each person may manifest it differently. Me? I'm definitely a frequent rider on the "hot mess stress express."
There are many ways to help combat stress—some of us seek out support from friends and family, while others find solace in taking up meditation or unwinding with a relaxing yoga class. Whatever helps you find peace, just keep doing you. But also know we have some resources to help you overcome stress whenever the need arises.
Here are some blog posts that are always available to you when you feel a little stressed out:
When in doubt, breathwork expert and sound healer, Shanila Sattar, always has tips to help ground yourself—especially in times of need. In this blog post, she gives you the recipe for incorporating self-love into your daily routine by encouraging us to ask ourselves these questions: How do we treat ourselves? How do we talk to ourselves? What foods are we putting into our bodies? How are we thinking about our overall well-being when practicing self-love? As we all know, self-love defines and redefines itself for everyone over the years, here are a few foundational tips to think about when easing into your self-love journey.
Yoga Nidra, or “yogic sleep,” is a practice that has been around for thousands of years and it aims to restore the mind, body, and soul through deep, guided meditation. The way it works is like the way a power nap helps one feel refreshed during a particularly exhausting day, except you aren’t technically sleeping. I describe it as a long-form of savasana—anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour. (Real talk: savasana is one of the best parts of practicing yoga, am I right?)
TLDR: I learned that I could conquer stress in a matter of minutes with Yoga Nidra.
Are we safe in saying this last year brought up a ton of emotions the likes of which we did not plan for? The good, the bad, the “unprecedented”—our hearts and minds have been taken on a wild rollercoaster ride, and for many of us, our mental health is suffering. With our minds running in thousands of directions, it’s hard to notice our own needs. Yes, our attention to the goings-on of last year is vital but caring for ourselves is as important as ever. Here are some tips from our favorite yoga instructor, Dani Schenone.
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last year is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves. Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
If you've got those familiar feelings of stress and anxiety coursing through your body right now, you're definitely not alone. We get it. Times are uncertain, our mental health is taxed, we're doing what we can to reduce stress and anxiety in general, and relaxation has taken a back seat. It’s no secret that stress is proven to weaken our immunity, so now more than ever, it's important to relax, deal with what's happening, and find the coping mechanisms to help you reclaim your mental health and reduce your involvement in stressed moments. Let's deal with stress and anxiety together and see what we can do to reduce them.
Meditation will change your life if you let it. The pace of our modern life is at least ten times what it was just 10 years ago. Technology improved our lives but also created a more frenetic and stressful pace. If we decided to stop, breathe, and become more mindful, we would reduce stress and experience much more enjoyment in each moment of our everyday lives.
There’s always something to worry about. Whether it’s our career, relationships, dating, or trauma, we go through moments that bombard us with negative thoughts that can make us feel anxious and stressed. Our worries may often define our choices, our view of the world, or ourselves. This doesn’t mean they are faults, flaws, or downfalls—we just need to practice managing them in a healthy way, placing deserved value on self-care. Yoga is only one connection. Check out these seven yoga poses that can help your mind and body when you’re experiencing anxiety, depression, or overall stress.
We’re all guilty of our routines and habits running our lives at one point or another. We’re all guilty of being attached to our schedules and our to-do list. We’re all guilty of running on a loop every now and then. As the energies of 2021 continue to shift, we get to ask ourselves the intentions of why and how we are participating in the places we are participating in, the thoughts we are thinking, the habits we are cultivating, and the communities that we are a part of. This intention and mindfulness process can not only shift our own experiences but of those around us as well.
If you have found meditation to be useful in trying times, right now is an incredible time to also try virtual sound baths to receive the deep sound healing benefits. As many of us are processing a variety of emotions as a collective—stress, worry, fear, anxiety, uncertainty—we can start to cause long-term damage to our bodies, especially to our immune and nervous systems. Giving ourselves self-care in a way that is easy, non-intrusive, and simple, can be the perfect way to help your body restore.
These resources aren’t the only thing we have to help you deal with stress—they’re just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there are tons of classes available to you on the Mindbody app and through Mindbody Flex to help you reignite your calm whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed. And always remember, at the end of the day, your best is always good enough.