When we have a firm, non-wavering love for ourselves we are more capable of sharing love with others. Here are 10 ways to practice self-love when you need it most.
Before we get started, I am trying something new by offering an audio and written version of today’s post. I LOVE audio and listening to podcasts, audiobooks, etc. while I work, so if you enjoy that type of thing, feel free to give the audio version of this post a listen. I would love to hear what you think!
I am a firm believer that the world we live in would be a happier, more peaceful place if more people had a deeper sense of self-love. When you are truly at peace with yourself, the urge to compare, attack and criticize others is practically non-existent your ability to appreciate the differences of others skyrockets. When you are truly at peace with yourself, you are a calmer, happier person.
The thing is, practicing self-love is just hard. When our expectations of ourselves are high, or when the pressures of life feel too heavy to bear, our own self-esteem is often the first thing to suffer. At the time I’m writing this post it is February 2017. It is a time of year when many people celebrate the love of a romantic partner or a friend. But this year, I want you to focus on celebrating your love of yourself.
10 Ways to Practice Self-Love
We live in a world of distraction. We have endless amounts of information at our fingertips thanks to our cell phones, and hardly have the time and mental capacity to handle all of the information thrown at us. I won’t tell you to ditch your phone, because that’s unrealistic, and let’s be real, I’m as addicted to my phone as the next millennial. Instead, pick one activity you really love and make it a point to be incredibly present while you are performing that activity. Whether that’s crafting, coloring, journaling, or sharing a meal with your significant other – create a distraction-free zone around that one activity that fills you up the most.
Open yourself up to learning.
There is nothing more stimulating than learning something new. Whether it’s taking a class in a subject you want to learn more about, learning a creative skill such as photography or a musical instrument, or simply asking for clarification when you aren’t understanding something, continuous learning is an incredible confidence-builder.
This one is tough, especially for women because we are so used to taking care of everyone else before taking care of ourselves. But here’s the deal – every single time you say yes to someone else’s priorities over your own, you are saying no to yourself. Know that sometimes it is more than ok to say no to others so you can say yes to yourself. Instead of immediately replying yes to every request that comes your way, ask for time to think it through so you can ensure you aren’t leaving yourself running on empty. There is nothing wrong with asking for time to think it over before taking things on for other people.
Move your body.
Oh you know this one was coming. Girlfriend, you have to move your body. On the daily. That doesn’t mean you need to HIIT it balls to the wall every day. But that means you need to periodically get up and move throughout the day each day. Your beautiful body was not designed to sit in a chair in front of a computer all day, nor was it designed to sit on a couch in front of the TV all night. Leaving the topics of weight and vanity aside, if you want to live your happiest, healthiest, longest life, you have to move your bod. Check out my fitness archives if you need some workout inspiration.
Eat more whole foods.
Girl, you know you saw this one coming too. Real, whole foods from the earth are what nourish our bodies best. When your diet consists of mostly complex carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats (with the occasional treat…because balance) your body thrives and you have the energy you need to fuel your busy life. Depriving yourself of food, or relying on junk puts unnecessary stress on your bod, making it work harder than it should to get through the day. Real food for the win <3
Take in positive words.
Overcoming negative self-talk is hard, and to be honest I don’t have the answer on how to completely rid yourself of it. Instead of trying to turn off negative thoughts, try to surround yourself with as many positive words as possible. Is the music you are listening to full of positive, inspiring lyrics? Do you have positive affirmations written in your space where you can see them? Instead of just asking your partner how their day was, instead ask, “What was the highlight of your day today?” Surrounding yourself with positive words, even if they aren’t your own can make all the difference in how you begin to talk to yourself.
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Strut your stuff.
YAS girl. Work it. Even if you aren’t a fan of walking around with all-fake-everything, taking a few extra minutes to make yourself feel fierce can make all the difference in how you feel. If that means putting a little extra thought into your outfit, styling your hair your favorite way or making sure your brows are fleeked to perfection, do those little things that make you feel amazing and strut.
Share your gifts.
You have gifts galore that the world hasn’t even seen yet. Open up and share them! Even if its just an idea you have – share it in a safe space with someone you trust. Believing in and sharing the gifts, ideas and talents you have is an incredible act of self-love that can also have a positive impact on those around you.
Know your worth – and stick to it.
Alright friends, here’s where we are getting real. When was the last time you checked in and evaluated your self-worth? Every once and awhile, we need to audit ourselves to make sure we are truly living in accordance to our values. Knowing your worth and not letting outside influences compromise your values is challenging, but it is also incredibly rewarding, and a bold act of self-love.
Recognize and embrace your weirdness.
If you think you aren’t weird, you’re lying to yourself. Everyone is a little weird, and that’s what makes life great. I bet there are people out there who are the same kind of weird as you, and would love and appreciate you letting your weirdness show. Do you, boo and don’t be afraid to love your own quirky weirdness.
- What are your favorite ways to practice self-love?
Lestraundra is the founder of Balanced Black Girl and the host of the Balanced Black Girl Podcast. She’s a Certified Personal Trainer, Nutrition Coach, and natural beauty junkie who loves 90’s R&B, trying new skincare products, and creating recipes in the Instant Pot. She created Balanced Black Girl to provide content and experiences empowering women of color to live well.