Practising self-love is an active choice. Because as much as we’d like to believe it, self-love doesn’t just happen by magic. Think about it. How often do you say yes when you really want to say no? And when was the last time you stood in front of the mirror and said: “I love this beautiful body of mine. Every inch, fold and crevice of it.”?
With this in mind, we’ve put together a set of easy tips on how you can build up daily habits that kick-start your self-love journey. Easy to use everyday tips to beam up your newfound self-love super power. Simple to fold into your life guide that can help you turn up the volume on self-love and turn down things in your life that are holding you back. Remember, the best way to start on self-love is simply to start.
Did you know that as living beings we are always vibrating energy within and all around us? When our vibrations are low, we might feel down or low. When our vibrations are high, we’re in a good and strong place. Experts say that as little as 15 minutes a day of inviting positive vibrations helps us build up our energy and feel better. One way to do this is by getting your blood pumping. Try listening to music. Music is an easy way to relieve stress, and is proven to release feel good hormones like dopamine, making it a great way to boost our mood. Choose your favourite song, the song that makes you want to dance wildly by yourself, when no one’s watching and turn it up ALL the way up.
Long before social media existed, psychologists wrote about how one of the main barriers to our wellbeing is something called social comparison. It’s no surprise then that research tells us the more time we spend on social media, the less self-esteem we end up having. Going off line for a digital detox -- whether switching off your socials for a day or putting your phone away for a few hours -- is a good place to start. You can also unfollow accounts that make you feel inadequate or like you’re not enough. Create space in your week to tune into yourself, not your social feed.
You know when you say “I need to get some fresh air”? There’s growing evidence that shows the more connection you have with your natural environment, the better your health and wellbeing is. When we connect to natural elements we raise our serotonin levels and feel better, clearer, lighter. This can be your local park, a nearby beach, your garden or plants on a windowsill. Go get that fresh air and connect to nature for 15 minutes today. Look up at the sky, take a walk, look at the trees or the green of the grass. Or you can make a day of it and go wild swimming.
Acceptance is your birthright. You were born to be you and should never feel apologetic for that because you are amazing just the way you are. As the saying goes, you’re always with yourself wherever you go, so you may as well enjoy your own company. But that doesn’t mean it’s not difficult to shun away self-doubt and learn to be happy about every part of yourself, inside and out. The trick is to focus on all the great qualities you have instead of falling into negative patterns of self-critique. Psychologists recommend replacing negative self-thoughts with positive affirmations, so try practising 5 positive affirmations today, like “I am good enough” or “I am loved.” Go love yourself, not in spite of your flaws but because of them.
Setting up boundaries is an act of self-love. Whether that looks like saying no to the things you think you should say yes to, or only having people in your life who make you feel good about yourself. Saying no to people, situations, or things is not about being difficult or tricky. It’s a commitment to yourself. So what does a healthy boundary look like? When is it ok to say no and when is it about closing yourself off? You can try visualising a gate around you that opens and closes easily; and think about what you want to let in through the gate and what doesn’t serve you. Try saying no to one thing today without saying you’re sorry. And just think, the more you turn away what doesn’t serve you, what more beautiful stuff could you be letting in?
Practicing gratitude is a way to be more present. The act of feeling grateful is about expressing thanks for what we have and showing appreciation for who we are. When we’re in a bad place, we focus on all the things that we don’t have or qualities we’d like to have. Making gratitude lists has been proven to improve our general wellbeing and happiness, and they inspire people to be more generous in all areas of their lives. Try practicing gratitude and list 10 things, or people, you’re feeling thankful for today. You can list huge things, like feeling grateful for being alive, or small gentle things, like noticing the rays of sun outside.
As human beings, we are social animals. It comes as no surprise that studies show that one key difference between very happy people and less happy people comes down to good friendships. Research points to social connection: that 71% of people turn to family and friends in times of stress. So check in on your friends, your family and neighbours at least once a week. Know that just by checking in, you’re not only being good to people around you, you’re also being good to yourself.
Acts of generosity are proven to positively increase our sense of self and quality of life. Research has shown that being kind to others really does make us happier, because it releases endorphins in our body, also known as a “helper’s high”. So when you want to take a stand in the world, think up small acts of kindness you can share. Smile to the stranger who makes your coffee, say thank you when you pay in a shop, give up your seat on public transport if someone needs it more than you do. These small acts of love can make your everyday world brighter.
Practicing self-love today is all about going easy on yourself and knowing the smallest things can make the biggest difference. There’s no right or wrong way to self-love. Every act of self-love, no matter how big, is brave and daring. The more acts of self-love you do, the deeper you’ll go on your self-love journey. Let’s do this. It’s time to rise up together with self-love.
We know that the topic of self-love can be a triggering for some people. If you have been affected by any of the self-love content, and would like to speak to someone further about it, please do reach out to the following organisations for support: