February is the unofficial month of love, all thanks to that pesky Valentine's Day. I don't usually do much to celebrate the "holiday" because it never seemed like a big deal to me. (Well, except for the years I was single. Then it seemed like a big deal!) In fact, my boyfriend and I might not even see each other this Valentine's Day.
|"Love" that will go straight to my thighs.|
So while I may not prescribe to the ooey-gooey, lovey-dovey brand of affection that chocolatiers and greeting card companies try to sell, there is one type of love that I am a big proponent of:
Just in case this all sounds selfish or conceited, let me assure you that it definitely is not. Loving yourself is one of the most important things you can do for yourself!
Loving yourself means knowing your boundaries and having realistic expectations of yourself.
In my own life, it means knowing when I'm feeling too stressed. It's knowing when to start saying "no" to other people and when to start saying "yes" to myself.
The best way for me to stay in love with myself is to practice self-care: doing the little things to make sure I stay happy and healthy outside of my work life, writing life, other relationships, and responsibilities.
Sometimes, when you're already feeling stressed, it seems impossible to block off time of the day for yourself. When there are a million things on your to-do list, how are you supposed to push that all aside and do something just for you?
I'm not gonna lie to you: it's hard. It's hard as hell, but it is essential. You will thank yourself.
How do I do it? Well, I'll tell you!
- Check in with yourself. The first thing I do, especially when I recognize that I'm feeling stressed or upset, is to mentally take a step back and check in with myself. I'll stretch my body to ease the physical tension, take a few deep breaths, and ask myself, "What's got you feeling this way?"
- Work out. Now I'll be the first to admit that I'm not especially good at keeping up with this one. It can be hard to hit the gym when there are a million other things that you think you should be doing. So I tell myself, "You only have to go for half an hour. Thirty minutes." A lot of times, I'll end up staying longer than that. I'll watch TV, listen to music, and/or read on my Kindle as I get moving on the treadmill.
- Eat something healthy (and delicious, but mainly healthy). When I'm feeling stressed, I want comfort food: mac and cheese, cheeseburgers and fries, fried chicken, anything with gravy, and CHOCOLATE. And while eating those things might make me feel better in the moment, I'll only end up feeling worse later. Most likely, my stomach will be queasy from overdoing it, and I'll be kicking myself for succumbing to the stress and overindulging. Sweets are treats, not medicine. But if I eat something healthy and filling, like an apple with almond butter, or some pistachios, it will make me feel better and I won't hate myself later.
- Treat yo self. There is something to the wise words of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle. But don't let it be only one day out of the year! Treat yo self whenever you need a pick-me-up. How do I treat myself? Manicures, a new deep hair mask conditioner, taking a night off from writing to read a good book, going to the local theatre to catch a movie, spending some quality time with my cat, catching up with my friends, planning a fun date night... any of these things will lift my spirits.
The key is to listen to yourself. Know when you're feeling stressed, and learn what your stressors are so you can minimize your exposure to them or, hopefully, avoid them altogether.
Keeping Up With the Jacobses:
- Tuesday, February 16: Sophia Henry is celebrating the release of POWER PLAY, the latest in her Pilots hockey series, from 12:00 noon to 11:00 pm. I'll be attending the Facebook party and having fun with Sophia and a great group of writers.