10 Healthy Ways to Love Yourself This Season
Today is the first day of Spring and if you’re like me, the thought of warmer weather, blooming trees and flowers, and Summer nearing warms your heart and offers an extra “spring” (get it?) in your step. While most of the dreary, dimmer days may be behind us, we can cheer up a bit and think more realistically about getting to the beach, enjoying cookouts, or going on a warm afternoon walk. But if you’re like many of us, you are also beginning to fret about your still winter bod, which may or may not still be in hibernation. I say it’s about that time to give yourself a little extra love. We still have some time before we really breakout those teeny clothes, so read below to find out 10 ways on how to love yourself this Spring, just in time for Summer!
- EXERCISE. Whether it’s to intentionally lose some extra weight or just to get those endorphins to release, go ahead and start exercising! I know, a lot of people HATE exercising, but that’s because they are doing the WRONG exercise. Plug some earbuds into your phone, turn up some tunes, and go for a walk around the neighborhood. This light activity will get your heart rate up, burn calories, and offer you some time to destress and clear your mind. Sound boring? Take your pup with you! If that’s still not sounding appetizing, do you like yoga? Take it outside and do some light stretching. The point is to get you moving and spend some time on yourself. You can’t be your best if you aren’t feeling your best.
- STOP CARING. No, don’t stop caring about life or about loving other people. But stop caring about what other people think! I am the poster child for worrying about other people’s opinions, and for what? The hard truth is there will always be someone more successful than you, happier than you, better at something than you, even prettier than you. But you can only change so much and instead of worrying about it, why don’t you just do something about it? When you worry about other people’s thoughts you are dooming yourself! For one thing, being different makes you It makes you unique. Why should everyone strive to be the same? Plus, it only leads to negativity and jealousy. Replace that energy with love and uplifting thoughts or comments. If you feel less adequate than someone else, improve on something you enjoy. That could add more depth to you as a person and make you begin to feel more adequate and fulfilled.
- LEARN. Which brings me to the third thing: learn. Do you ever feel like your friends are amazing at everything and talented and then there’s just you? Believe me, we’ve all been there at one time or another. My friends are insanely creative, they are bilingual, teach adolescents, they are dynamic, eccentric, and seemingly doing more important things with their lives then I appear to be doing with mine. While most of them are well-traveled, I have not been outside of the United States. Two of my friends can draw from their imaginations and I can barely trace a cartoon let alone do any free hand. However, while they seem to be talented in different areas and well educated, I am finding myself and finding my areas of self-expression and expertise. Through those areas I am attempting to build. I know I like cooking and I can follow a recipe to the ‘T’, but I am also a bit skilled to be able to use my own creativity in the kitchen. With this I want to take cooking classes to learn more about execution and professional techniques. I am also good at health and fitness. I have learned I can really motivate myself and inspire others. Therefore, I went on to get my personal training certification. Trial and error is a huge part of life. You may not be good at what your friends are good at, but you are good at something! Try learning something new, you may discover you have a hidden talent!
- TRAVEL. I know you are busy and I know you are saving, savvy, or, let’s be honest, broke. Traveling doesn’t have to be a plane ride away, but you owe it to yourself to get out of town, take some time away, offer yourself a bit of freedom and find your inner traveler. I live in North Carolina and there are so many places to discover around me within a 2 hour drive! Ask a friend to go discover somewhere new with you, pack a picnic, go for a hike and go off the trail. Sometimes you can find hidden waterfalls! Go to a local zoo. Surrounding me, within a 2 hour drive, there are about 4 zoos, 2 of which are drive-thru zoos! Seeing animals and interacting with nature makes your soul feel free and tranquil! If you aren’t the outdoorsy type, you could always discover a local museum or attraction that makes you feel like a kid again. We have a local barcade (bar + arcade) that offers old-style arcade games and some of the BEST brews! There’s also a local coffeehouse I discovered about a year ago that has hundreds of board games and they play old cartoons on a projector all day, every day. The point is to do something new, take some time away and just be free for a few hours.
- WRITE OR READ. Writing is not everyone’s strong suit and reading may not be fun for everyone, but I urge you to pick one. For me, reading I can get very picky. A book has to capture and maintain my attention and I like a story I can get lost in. I like fiction, something with fantasy where I can allow my imagination to take control. My sister on the other hand is a huge reader. She reads anything and everything and I couldn’t begin to tell you how many books she reads within a week. You might have an inner storyteller in you though. Have you ever tried to write? I took some college classes in writing and at first I wasn’t sure if I liked it. I was surprised when my professors began commenting on my style and how much they enjoyed my pieces. From there I began a small blog and the feeling I gain from writing is a feeling of peace. I have a hard time discussing my feelings, but when I write I let it all just flow. It allows me to have an outlet and a voice, and that’s a positive thing, to have a voice. Try writing a short story and see what you think. Post it on Facebook as Anonymous and find out what other people think of it as well. You might become a well-known blogger or author someday!
- BINGE. No I don’t mean on those delicious cookies that you’ve had pinned to your board for months now! I literally mean binge on your favorite TV show. People tell you all the time not to be lazy and believe me I get that and I don’t encourage laziness. But come one guys, let’s get real here. Don’t we all deserve some down time? Being lazy every now and then will NOT hurt you. I work full-time 5 days a week and go to school full time PLUS study and extra program. I have 2 days out of 7 where I don’t have to worry about work but I still have school. About every other Sunday I have completely to myself and yes, I will typically spend this little Sunday curled up on the couch, drinking some coffee, watching episode after episode of whatever show I am currently smitten with. Should I be up and moving? Probably. Should I vacuum? I could. But the point is if I don’t have this one day out of 14 days to just relax and not worry about absolutely anything, I would go crazy. I would probably literally hate life to the fullest. Now, if I feel like it I might add in some yoga or a light walk, but ultimately this binge day offers me some time to check out from reality and check in to these fictional character’s world and for a moment view their problems and their drama, instead of my own. Hey, that is pretty dang entertaining, agreed?
- ENCOURAGE YOU. You might have kids, a spouse, elderly parents, and friends. You care about all of these people are constantly loving and encouraging them, but what about yourself? How often do you compliment yourself? If you do it, do you do it verbally? You owe yourself love and encouragement just as much as you owe it to the surrounding people in your life. I want you to begin doing something for yourself. Each morning when you wake up, look in the mirror and say something nice about yourself, to yourself. It may be “Your eyes are shining this morning” or “You have that big meeting today. You are going to kill it!” You should start your day on a positive note, with positive thoughts about yourself. As you say something nice about yourself, do it verbally, not just in your head. As the words come out of your own mouth and into your own ears, you will believe in those words more than if you said them in your head.
- TURN OFF. In our overly technologically advancing world, we have become reliant on smartphones, the internet, social media, etc. On one hand it’s useful, convenient, and just plain cool. On the other hand it has led to less-connected relationships, detachment from reality, and can make us feel inadequate to other. Social media has a way of making everyone’s life look more glamorous than it probably is. Do you really think every person on there is on some secret tropical island, never working, having the perfect relationship and always happy? Doubt it. I really doubt it. But at the moment we are looking at it we feel bad about our own lives don’t we? Between social media, texting, and emails for work, we stay glued to our phones for hours a day! It’s really important that we turn off our screens and share some physical interaction and face-to-face communication. Make a rule to turn off your phones at a certain time each day. If you’re out to dinner with friends, turn your phones screen down in the middle of the table and the first one to pick up their phone has to get the bill!
- RECONNECT. #8 leads into this next tip: Reconnect. While technology may leave us feeling disconnected, we need to strive to reconnect with those around us. Relationships are an important part of any healthy individual, but you have to work even harder today at building and keeping successful relationships. Communication is a huge part of a healthy and long-lasting relationship. It makes us feel important and helps us to bond. Effective communication means each person is being heard and each individual cares enough to take the time to listen. Reconnect with someone you normally speak to on the phone or through text. Set up a lunch date, go for a walk in the park, or grab a coffee. The point is to be able to meet and talk so going to a movie or something that doesn’t really offer that opportunity would be counterproductive.
- LOVE. Last but definitely not least, love. Love yourself and love others. Making it a point to care about other people is important. It makes you feel good about yourself and gives you a different outlook on life. You can’t truly love other people though if you aren’t loving yourself first. Follow these 10 simple steps to become a healthier version of yourself this season and you will gain a confidence and positivity that will radiate and make you feel better and look better for years to come. Have a happy and safe season!