Love it or loath it, Valentines day is upon us, and this year I wanted to focus on the relationship we have with ourselves. How many of us can say we honestly make enough quality time for ourselves, time that doesn’t benefit work, or other peoples needs, but time that makes us feel whole again and some what rested? It’s time to focus on self love.
I know it’s cliche but when you look after number one, it becomes so much easier to be there for other people too. I know when I make time for my own well being, I’m a better partner, a better friend, more productive and just generally more enjoyable to be around. Yet we all, myself included, make so many excuses for putting ourselves at the top of the list.
For me, self care is a continual practice, sometimes I’m good at it, sometimes I’m completely pants at it! As i’ve gotten older though, there have been certain things that bring me back to myself, so I thought I’d share those things and feel free to put suggestions or examples of what’s helped you in the comments below.
PUT ON SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL FABULOUS
It could be an outfit, a lipstick, a piece of jewellery, maybe its all three? It doesn’t have to be new, have a look through your wardrobe and pick out anything you’ve been saving for a ‘special occasion’ or something you know you’ve worn before that made you feel particularly great. I have a few key pieces that I know make me feel epic when I wear them, I’m a huge fan of tailoring (more on that here) when I want to feel good, but I also love nothing more than a good pair of jeans and a white tee (as shown in the photos) with a bold lip! Whatever it is, don’t save it for best, wear it, use it and enjoy it, enjoy how it makes you feel now. Life it to short to save it for ‘a special occasion’.
Whether its blogs that inspire me, a funny, entertaining book that helps me escape, or perhaps a self help book that resonates with me, I always come back to reading. It calms my busy mind, and makes me more mindful. I also find it great before bed as it makes me sleep much better too. Read in the bath, read in bed, or better still take a nice walk somewhere you love, take a little picnic and a blanket, and and lose yourself in good book. If you need some motivation, or you don’t know what to read, join a book club or start one with friends. Don’t like word heavy books? I’m also the first to admit that I don’t always read lengthly novels, sometimes I just like to read magazines or coffee table books, namely photography books with more emphasis on imagery to feed my soul.
GET OUT AND EXPLORE
There’s nothing better than a good holiday to unwind and bring you back to yourself, but it doesn’t have to be a holiday, perhaps a day trip? When did you last visit somewhere you have never been before, even if it’s only a car drive away? Getting out of your immediate surroundings where no one knows you, with new things to see can be one of the best ways to feel good again, and reignite your senses. Dave and I have really made an effort in the past 6 months to travel more, even if it’s just a day trip here and there and it gives us both so much. Travel brings out your inner child and keeps you curious, I really recommend going somewhere new and exploring to feed that curiosity, and stimulate your creativity again.
SURROUND YOUSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU HAPPY
That may well be a partner, but it might be an awesome friend or group of friends that you know you can be unapologetically yourself with. The true friendships I have in my life are few, but meaningful. Yes we all have lots of acquaintances but true friendship is worth its weight in gold. Laughter is a huge part of it too, I love nothing more than playing a game of speak out, (trust me google it) and laughing so hard its hurts. Being with people who love you endlessly and unconditionally, especially in times when you can’t love yourself are an essential part of self love. Be sure to surround yourself with people who love you for you, no matter what your job is, what clothes you wear or who you know and you’ll see what true love really is.
TREAT YO SELF
Possibly my most used phrase ever, and one I take a bit too literally too often (*coughs these sunglasses) but I like this principle of getting yourself a little present here and there, just because you can. Why not? Maybe you want to buy yourself a treat to mark a special occasion or achievement? While I’m not suggesting you buy a Channel bag every time you feel down or get your tax return done (unless you can afford that in which case lucky you), perhaps you could buy yourself some nice flowers, or a lovely coffee table book this valentines day? If it’s within budget, how about a spa treatment, you could even look for a spa coupon on something like Groupon or Wowcha.
When I first moved to London at 19, my favourite chocolates were Dark Chocolate Rose Creams..hmmm delicious! There was a ridiculously expensive chocolatier in Burlington Arcade and whenever I needed a day to myself to recharge, I’d walk around London’s parks and buy myself 3 individual rose creams and savour every bite of luxury. It was such a treat, and considering it was at a time when I had very little money, buying myself a couple of crazy expensive chocolates was about as fancy as it got, but none the less, it was a treat, one I thoroughly enjoyed. (note to self must do this again soon).
Whatever you’re doing this Valentines Day, have a good one and make sure you carve out some TLC for yourself ASAP!
Photos By David Beazley