6 Activities to Help You Love Yourself More Everyday - Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna - Psy.D in Montclair
Many of us know this month to sensationalize Valentine’s Day, the day to celebrate the ever-growing bond and love between two people in a romantic partnership. While you will be able to find a great deal of content regarding “Acting with Love” within a couple’s context (check out my IG, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for more), today I would like to focus on self-love: what it is, why it’s important, and how we can bring it to life.
What is self-love?
Self-love is a conscious choice that requires both intention and willingness to take personal responsibility for your own well-being. The most genuine and enduring love should always be the love you have for yourself. This means not only loving all the positive qualities about yourself, but also the traits that you may perceive as negative or shameful: your fears, perceived weaknesses, peculiarities, past painful experiences, etc. Once you start to allow yourself to love the totality of you wholeheartedly, without reservation, a whole wor;d of possibilities opens up: your relationships improve, your intrinsic validation improves, your confidence & courage improves, and your overall experience of genuine contentment improves.
What does "self-love" mean to you?
This month, I invite you to define what it really means to love yourself, to begin and/or restart your self-nourishing practices, and to push yourself to say and believe the words “I love you” to the one person that deserves to hear it more than anyone – YOU! Below you will find some examples of how to engage in self-love.
6 Self-Love Activities to Help You Improve Your Well-Being
1. Nourish with love: Choosing to fill your body with foods that make you feel good, not in an effort to avoid painful emotions, thoughts, or circumstances, but rather in the service of celebrating what your body needs (and maybe even wants)! Enjoy that kale and banana smoothie, and allow yourself to take pleasure in that brownie bottom sundae.
2. Move with love: Moving our bodies reminds us that we are alive and supplies us with endorphins that boost our mood. Choose a few minutes each day to commit to movement – yoga, dancing, stretching, walking, jogging. The key here is not to force movement but to relish in it.
3. Take a day off with love: Choose one day this month to take off and spend this whole day resting to help recover from all of the stressors of the world. This may also include pampering yourself when you need it.
4. Bathe/Shower with love: While bathing, indulge yourself in your favorite soap, turn on your favorite music, light your favorite candle, and simply ease into relaxation.
5. Solo trip with love: Even if you don’t love solo trips, pick a day to backpack for an adventure where you can enjoy yourself without the company of others. Perhaps you might take yourself out to eat, go shopping, go to a play or movie premiere.
6. Meditate with love: Choose a 5–10-minute span of time each day, either morning, afternoon, or evening, to devote to pure meditation. Simply being. Embarking on an inward journey can teach you more about yourself than anything or anyone ever can. Try out these iPhone apps – Calm, Insight Timer, Headspace.
Your February of Self-Love Starts Now!
This is your time to treat yourself with kindness, gentleness, compassion, and forgiveness. In fact, Self-Love Day this year takes place on Monday, February 13th, 2023. What action can you commit to doing on this day in the service of loving yourself?
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*Peace, Love, & Fierce Acceptance*
Dr. Amanda Aster-McKenna, Psy.D.
NJ Licensed Psychologist #5888, Private Practice, Montclair, NJ
Adjunct Professor, Kean University, Department of Advanced Studies in Psychology
Manager, New York City Chapter of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science
Board Member, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris