February is the month of “love”, filled with red, white, pink, flowers, chocolates, expectations and often letdowns and disappointments. Valentine’s Day focuses on the couple, however not everyone is in a relationship and those who are may feel like they nurture their partner on a regular basis and don’t need the fanfare to share or show their love. All the emphasis on special gifts for your significant other and date night outings may cause so much pressure and anxiety or maybe there is a chance that you really enjoy Valentine’s Day.
Remembering yourself as an individual is extremely important and in fact it is necessary for a healthy balance of any relationship, you don’t need a clinical psychologist to tell you that. We have all been on a plane when the flight attendant explains the safety procedures and states, “If you are traveling with a child or someone who needs special assistance, be sure to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others.”
This reminds us, if we aren’t helping ourselves we are no good for anyone else! As a separate entity, one must be secure and comfortable with oneself. You must be able to love and nurture yourself to be the best you can be before taking care of others. We all think about our partners, care for our children and pets, and responsibilities, but it is easy to forget about putting our own needs on our list of daily tasks, and yes I said, “daily”. I am sure some of you think, “not possible”, “no way”, or “I don’t have time,”… exactly!
So here are 7 Things Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Loving Yourself:
- Be Present! Think about how much we miss because we are so immersed in tasks and allowing autopilot to take over… Have you ever found yourself zipping through the day without even remembering to eat until your stomach loudly growled at you? Have you ever sat down with your food or during a meal and fully focused on what you were eating? Try it. It is a great experience. Grab something to eat, preferably something you enjoy. Engage your 5 senses into your eating experience. Get curious and interested about what you are eating, look at it from all angles, smell it, feel the textures and really slow down and savor the tastes. Chew 50% slower than you usually do. Perhaps even try to close your eyes while eating, what do you taste, sense, notice…???
- Do Something fun that you have wanted to do. One of the most common excuses for not doing things we love is because we are too busy. Think about what you want to do, make time for it, and DO IT! Put it in your calendar just like any other “urgent” or “important” appointment, which most are often neither, but you, you are important!
- Spoil Yourself with something that feels good or that you enjoy.
- Soak Yourself in the shower or tub. Just enjoy you, feel the water against your skin, breath in the steam, and for the time being be like the inner child who won’t get out of the tub until your skin is like a California raisin! What the heck dump some toys and fill that tub with bubble bath, don’t’ forget to create a bubble beard or fun hairdo with all those bubbles.
- Exercise Your License to say “no” to something you don’t want and “yes” to something you do. Compromises are important and yet, we may get resentful because of them. Analyze what you truly want and choose one of your desires.
- F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S – Who doesn’t want to feel fabulous? Wear something that makes you feel incredible even if that means buying something new.
- Time to Take Out the Trash that accumulates in your head. Disengage with those who negatively impact you. We all have that person who knows exactly what to say to rain on our parade or makes us fester and drown in negativity bringing us down and holding grudges long after they are gone. Don’t forget to take out your own trash. Just for fun give up gossiping for a week which also includes the thoughts that never leak out of your mouth. I wonder what will replace the space between your head and how you will feel?
This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to think about and love and nurture yourself. What are your needs? Are you in alignment with your goals? Have you given yourself some love? Make sure there is some time set aside for you and your needs. You are a priority! Honor yourself!
Wanting to add to this list, but not sure how, give me a call at 954.401.9011 or email at Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com. I look forward to helping you be your best self!
* This blog was written in collaboration between Katie Lemieux, LMFT and Emlyn Whipple, MA.