Welcome to February, the month we celebrate love (including self-love!), Black history, and longer days. Sadly, many of us experience distress this time of year due to the pressure that builds up around Valentine’s Day.
Do you see Valentine’s Day as a commercial holiday that thrives on high expectations and tends to highlight what we don’t have rather than what we can be grateful for?
I feel you.
Valentine’s Day used to conjure mega anxiety for me. For a long time, Valentine’s Day would reliably bring unfortunate events. For example, I’d drop an expensive piece of glass, get food poisoning, or my car would break down. I thought this was a sign that Cupid was my enemy. But that all changed when I learned about radical self-love.
What is radical self-love?
Radical self-love is like giving yourself the unfettered attention a tween might bestow upon their crush.
I’m not sure who coined the term, but I first heard about radical self-love from Gala Darling, who wrote a book on the subject (a quick and delightful read, IMHO).
More recently, I read about radical self-love in Sonya Renee Taylor’s book, The Body is Not An Apology*. Taylor describes RSL as deeper, juicier, and more expansive than self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-acceptance.
How do I get started with radical self-love?
If you haven’t already, now is the perfect time to start a practice of radically loving yourself. I call it a practice because it’s not something that comes easily to most of us.
Like yoga or meditation, radical self-love is work that requires ongoing commitment, but the payoff is major. Even if you’re planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a lover, implementing self-love strategies is a crucial part of your everyday wellness.
To help you out, I made a list of my favorite self-love activities right in time for Valentine’s Day. You can do all of these on your own without spending a ton of money!
1. Greet the morning with an open heart
When you get up in the morning, instead of rushing to make coffee or tackle your to-do list, take a moment to listen to your heart. You can do this before you even get out of bed! Simply place your hands over your heart, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Then, ask your heart what it wants today.
You can make a practice of this every morning and see how quickly your outlook on life shifts! I did this exercise this morning, and my heart told me it wants, “good rest, gentle movement, and walks in the snow.” I’m all for it!
That leads us to the next idea…
2. Go for a walk in nature
Walking outside is one of the best things you can do for your brain. It’s my go-to remedy whenever I’m feeling stressed, depressed, frustrated, confused, creatively stuck, or any other way that isn’t good.
Even if you live in a city, there’s probably a park nearby where you can enjoy some green scenery.
Much as I love spending time with my dogs and podcasts, I find that walking alone, without headphones, offers the greatest mental health benefits.
3. Have a spa Day
You can take this suggestion all the way and book yourself a luxurious afternoon at a day spa! Otherwise, there are tons of simple and thrifty ways you can pamper yourself in the comfort of your own home, including:
- Take a hot bath with bubbles, a bath bomb, or Epsom salts. My personal favorite is a mix of Epsom salt and sea salt combined with aromatherapy oils like lavender and rosemary.
- Give yourself an at-home manicure and/or pedicure.
- Rub your feet with peppermint moisturizer. I’m obsessed with this goat milk heel cream.
To create a spa-like atmosphere at home, light a candle, incense, or use an essential oil diffuser. Play relaxing music like Bjork or Mozart, and put your phone on do not disturb.
4. Nourish your physical self
If hiking and pampering aren’t your things, do whatever makes your body happy. Movement is good medicine for your body, mind, and spirit, no matter how you do it.
Some of my favorite types of loving movement include Yoga With Adriene and dance workouts with Keaira LaShae.* Whether you’re feeling mellow or ready to slay, both these ladies know how to make movement fun!
Give yourself the gift of orgasms! The ultimate self-love experience! You can even use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to treat yourself to a new sex toy. I’m a huge fan of Fun Factory* products. They last FOR-EV-ER!
6. Buy/gather/plant flowers for yourself
Or a succulent. Or a venus fly trap. Whatever speaks to you.
This doesn’t have to be expensive. This week, I bought myself a dozen pink roses for less than $10. I love the color and feel so good whenever I look at them.
7. Have a dance party
Put on your favorite playlist and turn your living room, kitchen, or bedroom into a club.
Dancing is more fun than most forms of exercise while providing the same benefits, like, reducing stress and anxiety, improving cognitive functioning, and strengthening your cardiovascular system.
It’s even better if you get dressed up and/or cover yourself in body glitter*.
8. Help others
Helping others feels good! Research shows that acts of kindness lead to enhanced emotional wellbeing, reduced stress, and a boost in self-esteem.
If you’re feeling down about Valentine’s Day, try making a generous (for you) donation to a cause you care about. It’s a Win-Win!
9. Take yourself on a self-love date
Carve out an hour, an afternoon, or an entire weekend to do things that serve no other purpose than to bring you JOY! You might wander around a museum, go to a crystal singing bowl sound healing, or simply walk into a new thrift store with $20 and an open mind.
The catch is — you have to go on these dates solo. My favorite self-love date so far involved meditating in a salt cave!
10. Plan a Galentine’s Date
If you don’t feel like spending the day alone, why not rally your girl gang for an old-school sleepover party? Dairy-free ice cream and rom-coms or Ouija and levitation? You choose!
11. Make yourself a valentine
Even if there’s not a crafty bone in your body, this is a fun project to do on your own or with friends. Gather your glitter, glue, paints, sequins, magazine clippings, etc., and decorate a cardboard heart in any way that pleases you.
The last time I did this with my BFF, I ended up keeping my heart on display through the following Valentine’s Day. It always made me smile to see my own third-grade art skills proclaiming how awesome I think I am.
My bestie literally texted me this photo from that night as soon as I finished writing this blog post! Talk about a psychic connection.
12. Listen to a guided meditation
13. Bake yourself something special or prepare your favorite meal
I can’t give you much inspo here because most of my baking projects turn out horrible! However, I’m including this tip for all of you who are bosses in the kitchen.
14. Write a self-love note or poem
You can use fancy stationary, a homemade card, or simply a plain piece of paper. If you’re not a big writer, you can even recite yourself a love poem or rap on the voice memo app on your phone! Save this to look at or listen to whenever you need a self-love boost.
Bonus tip: book a tarot reading with me
If you’re feeling stuck in your personal or professional life, or simply want to cultivate more self-love, I’m here for you! Click here to get a personalized tarot reading with guidance on how to achieve your ideal life.
In conclusion, radical self-love is a personal practice to incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you’re single, coupled, or neither, everyone could use more self-love!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post!
Featured Photo by Pexels.
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