Ok, so it’s Valentine's Day. It’s a bit like Marmite, isn’t it? I love Marmite but I don’t love Valentine's Day. But what if we decided to make Valentine's Day all about focusing on the most important person in our lives…..nudge, nudge. You. Yes, you. A day to love yourself. A day of self-love. Again that term ‘self-love’ probably is a bit like Marmite for many. What does it really mean to show self-love??? Before I get into that let me tell you a little story.
For many years I had no idea what self-love was. It was quite an alien concept to me. Something that felt completely out of reach. Something for those who dedicated a lot of time to practices like yoga and meditation… It just didn’t feel like it was for me. It took for me to hit rock bottom over 5+ years ago, to jolt me into even considering what this meant. After decades of not looking after my mindset and taking care of my emotional well being, I developed debilitating anxiety and panic attacks that left me with no self-belief and no ability to talk in social settings.
It was during these dark times that I had to face up to the fact that I had built a life around me, that was actually harmful to my emotional wellbeing. So I started to unpick and rebuild a life that had ME at the center and that treated ME (my mind and body) with the respect and care that it was so desperately craving. Now I’m not an expert per se - I don’t hold any coaching qualifications but I have been coached, been through therapy and I have done a lot of the deep inward work to develop my own set of guiding principles and tools that really help me to show myself ‘self-love’.
Here’s what I’ve learned about how to love myself:
Ditch the pursuit of perfection. It’s pointless. There is no endpoint because guess what? Perfection does not exist. Once I had this light bulb moment I was able to lighten up and give myself a bit of slack.
Adopt a ‘good is good enough’ attitude and approach to everyday life. This sort of plays into the perfection point above but it expands further to how I work with people around me, including my family. I had created a world where I ended up doing everything. Because nothing was ever good enough. But by adopting this attitude I then let go of a lot of stuff and started to take stuff off my plate. Who cares if it’s not perfect. If someone else is doing it, instead of you - that’s a win.
Ditch the pursuit of balance. Much like perfection, it’s an endless goal that very rarely transpires. I prefer to focus on boundaries. Making sure that I fill my days with stuff I want to do and reducing the stuff I don’t want to do.
Book-end your days with something that lights you up. How you start and end your day in terms of mindset is so important. Finding a ritual you can do in the morning and at the end of the day - that you never want to stop doing because you love it so much - will help you sleep better and will help you have less stressful days. For me, this is some sort of movement in the morning and sitting down to eat breakfast. These help ground me. And then in the evening, it’s reading a book before bed, it has to be a paper book too. It allows me to escape before I start to snooze.
Lots and lots of baths - now again this is like Marmite. Not everyone loves a bath. But for me this is my fail-safe go-to when I need to indulge and get some clear time to just do nothing.
Like I said these are the practices and tools that I use to help me every day show myself the respect and love that I know my body and mind need. They aren’t really on a to-do list anymore because they are part of my everyday routine and rituals.
If you are keen to start to build your own self-love routines every day then I would start with the concept of book-ending your days. Find those two little routines that you will protect like gold dust and that will light you up. This will be a fantastic start.
Best, Kim Palmer - Founder, Clementine
P.S - if you need a bit of TLC our award-winning app is a really great place to find some much-needed solace. Our sleep and morning sessions are brilliant to build into our ‘book ending’ daily routines. You can download the app here - https://clementineapp.com