Self-love is a word that we often hear about on the Internet now. It's a popular topic that everyone has something to say on. But do we really know what that is? Let's talk about it now.
The one important of good mental health is to have a healthy relationship and perspective towards ourselves. When we have that, it's easy and automatic for us not to take unnecessary guilt, loathe ourselves, feel unworthy, and instead feel hopeful and confident about ourselves.
In fact, when we love ourselves, we tend to have better relationships in our lives. Contrary to what we might think, self-love doesn't make us selfish, it makes us empowered. It makes us happier, centered, and independent.
Although this is fundamental for all of us, very few of us have this behavior without learning it. Most of us have a harsh take on ourselves, we don't believe in what we can achieve and don't truly love ourselves.
So, today let's take a step forward in choosing to love ourselves. It's a journey that must have a beginning. In this post, I will share some practical self-love activities and exercises that will help you bring loving light into your life and build a healthy relationship with yourself.
1. List 3 things you like about yourself
One simple activity that you can do from time to time is list a few things that you like about yourself.
We are often critical of ourselves, that little but powerful voice in our heads can be quite disconcerting. But the truth is that that voice is not truthful. So, when we make the choice of appreciating ourselves, we are conscious of what we think. That voice is now not controlling us.
So, what are the three things that you like about yourself? You can tap here to instantly write for this prompt in our gratitude journal app.
Here's what I wrote:
"The three things that I like about myself are,
- I am creative. There is so much that interests me and I am great at trying it out. The joy that I feel after I make something with my hands is unmatched. I really enjoy this part of myself.
- I have great relationships in my life. My choice of staying true and vulnerable has blessed me with beautiful love that I give and receive from so many people. We can't stay guarded and hope for real love. I am glad that my heart is open.
- My curly hair. I love them!
2. Make a gratitude list
I have kept a gratitude journal for three years now and one of my favorite ways of writing in it is to make a list at the end of my day mentioning the moments I feel grateful for.
When we feel grateful, our mind turns its focus on everything that is good and blessed in our life instead of what's not. There are good and bad moments in each day but sometimes that bad moments can be overpowering.
So making a choice to look at the moments that were indeed good and see them all in a list gives the feeling that all is not lost and we can get strength from our blessings.
If we do this regularly, it becomes more natural to have this realization. We start to feel happier and more satisfied.
In your list, mention the small moments that gave you pleasant feelings, like a call from a friend, the good weather, a cute animal, a friendly word, and so much more.
3. Write a letter to your younger self
I was thinking of the activity to be about writing a letter to your current self but I realized it's not easy. We may not have such great compassion for ourselves right now but for our younger versions, we do.
I feel protective when I think of younger Aarushi. All the things that she has not faced yet. All the things she is afraid of and doesn't know will be overcome.
I have a lot to say to her, to thank her for. What do you want to say to your younger self?
4. Do one thing for yourself every day
It is so essential to do just one little thing that that's for you in your day, however basic or small that may be. Anything that you enjoy or find calming.
My mummy recently started going on an evening walk and I keep encouraging her to do it daily. An evening walk sounds so simple, right? But, the difference it makes to her day is huge.
A day without that is just filled with household chores and everyone else. But that walk is hers, that half an hour is hers and I can see that it's enriching her.
Similarly, I love a day when I read before sleep, even just a few pages because that's something I enjoy and I do it solely to feel good.
What can it be for you? Choose one little thing for yourself and do it each day like a ritual.
5. Take a trip alone
As a birthday gift this April, I gave myself a solo trip to Mussoorie, very close to my city. And it wasn't anything eventful at all, just my lovely Airbnb and me, the trees, silence, and relaxation - that's what I needed.
Now, a trip may not be feasible for you, but you don't have to have a "trip". Just go somewhere alone. Maybe to the beach for the evening or to close town for a day. Even if it's a trip to the mall, just for yourself, with no load of tasks, it counts.
We don't get to be with ourselves to enjoy things alone. It's great to be with people we love but not always. Give yourself the chance to breathe in, look around, without talking, just observe, and do what you want.
6. Practice affirmations
Here are self-love affirmations for you:
- I love myself just as I am today.
- I choose to be kind to myself.
- I am my own best friend.
- It is natural for me to love myself.
- I am grateful to be the person I am.
- I love each part of myself.
- I honor my life.
- I appreciate all the ways that I am unique.
- I accept my awesomeness.
- I love who I am.
- I am calm and relaxed in all situations.
- My muscles are relaxed.
- My tension is melting away.
- I am relaxed and calm.
- I am comfortable around other people.
Make sure to read or listen to this list multiple times in one go. You go through all of them once, then do that again, and again. Thrice is the benchmark. It’s what I’ve heard many people find effective.
It’s because the first time your affirmation will only be a sentence, but when you repeat that, your mind starts to remember it.
7. Try out a new interest
Quite recently, I've started sewing. I have always been very creative, growing more and more through the years but I've done this for the first time.
I can't tell you how much I love it! It's like meditation for me. I honestly sometimes prefer to cut cloth instead of resting because it helps truly rest my mind.
The fact that it's not a digital method of art makes a lot of difference. Buying cloth, cutting it, learning from a video, sewing, and then finally having a beautiful creation in your hands is a magical thing. I have made so many scrunchies!
So, is there something that interests you to try out? Maybe dancing, cooking, illustrations, gardening, or any other hobby. Try it out! You might find a soothing companion for your soul.
8. Take therapy
This is something that has been a game-changer for me. I took therapy irregularly last year but this year I've been quite disciplined about it.
I started it because I was severely burned out and depressed. I felt that no one really understood me and only invalidated my feelings. I had so many expectations thrust upon me but no room to be a person.
So therapy became my sanctuary. Now that I'm better, it's transformed from my medicine for survival to a tool for learning.
I am learning a lot about myself. I have been very introspective from the start but it's simply another thing to have a knowledgeable person help you. So, I am really grateful for my therapist. She really saved me and now supports me.
That one hour in my week is one of the best things that I do for myself. I would really encourage you to try it too. I can even refer my therapist to you. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Choose to appreciate
It becomes easy sometimes, especially when we're not in a healthy state of mind, to look at the darker side of things and people. I'm not saying that we have to pretend to be positive about something that's wrong but to try and swerve onto the brighter road if there's scope for it.
For example, when someone looks good and we feel a little envy, try to overcome that and instead appreciate the person. It'll make their day and add a good moment to yours.
10. Shut the screens
There's a lot of information out there on the Internet and it may seem like we should take it but most of it is unnecessary chatter and a big waste of time.
Staring at our screens for long periods of time saps the joy out of our lives so try and reduce it as much as possible.
Even I have been struggling with this because my work happens through my laptop. So, in my free time, I am choosing to do things away from the screen and it does bring balance to my day.
11. Walk out of negative talk
People who are kind give a lot of their time and energy whenever someone seems to need it. We should all be kind but not too much, not at the cost of our own peace.
Some people like to ramble on and on, criticize others, talk about all that is wrong, and demand your undivided attention. You don't have to listen to them. You can be honest. You can walk away.
You don't owe your attention to anyone, nor your health. Help others when you feel able, and when it is worth it. There's no guilt in that.
12. Do something you care about
On the other side of what I said above, I do think it's really important for self-love to do something meaningful.
For me, the most meaningful work I can do is care for animals. So, I feed stray dogs when I take my own (rescued) dog for his walk, I'll rescue any animal I can and get them treated, I donate to animals in shelters, and give love whenever I meet a sweet cuddly furry being.
What is meaningful to you? How can you give some of your time to it?
I know a person who helps out people who are recovering from addiction. My aunt volunteers at a school for special children. And it's very powerful.
Think about a cause that connects with you, a problem you want to help solve, then figure out some small way that you can contribute to it. You don't have to do a lot, just what you can. It's enough.
13. Take our free self-love course
One really powerful self-love activity you can do is take our free 21-day self-love course! More than 30,000 people have already taken it and their response has been beautiful. It's such a great feeling to be able to help people love themselves more, day by day, step by step.
Here's what one student Joy Mwaniki said, "Thank you for this course. I learned a lot here and I feel so free and so happy. I feel transformed inside out, all negativity is gone, and I love myself more. Once again Thank-you."
Sandra Duran said, "Thank you for creating this course it was very nice to be part of it. You were well informed on the subject and the presentations, affirmations, and journal prompts. May God bless you today and always."
It has been powerful to watch people transform with this course and I hope it helps you out too.
14. Have a solo date night
Pull out some candles, play light music, dim the lights, pasta in a bowl, and a movie on the screen - that's a great date.
You don't have to have a partner to give yourself a special evening. Make it for yourself. You'll enjoy it a lot.
15. Spend time in silence and nature
Give yourself time to pause and connect with nature. When we look at nature, letting go of what's in our minds and immersing in the life that thrives around us, there is serenity.
It's humbling to watch something perfect work perfectly with peace, no deadlines, no worry, no hurry. It all happens as it should, flowers will bloom, trees will rise, and there's nothing to plan.
So, these were the 15 self-love activities I had for you. I hope you enjoy trying them out. If you have a friend you might be in need of self-love, do share it with them. Take care!
Continue Reading: 15 Easy & Simple Positive Thinking Exercises To Improve Your Mood