February is the month we look to celebrate our love for another person. Often we focus so much on how we show love to someone else, it makes me wonder how loving we are towards ourselves. One of the most popular blogs on my website is one where I ask the reader to consider whether they are too helpful towards others. I think people click on that blog article because they think they are giving too much and they do not have time or energy to take care of themselves.
Today, in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, focus on showing loving kindness to yourself. Put some of the love you intend to give to another back to yourself. How long has it been a long time since you have done something for yourself? If you cannot remember the last time you took care of yourself, take a moment to contemplate it now. Consider this an invitation to nurture yourself. It really is a necessity to take care of you first and foremost.
My motto is, “I am no good for others if I am not good to myself.” Consider this motto a requirement, if not a necessity.
To start, you can ask yourself, “What would I do today if I was really acting in a loving manner towards myself?” What can you do, starting today, to take care of you? If you have no ideas- let me give you some:
- Get physical. Go for a hike, a walk at lunch time, bike ride, or go to a yoga class. Being active gets the endorphins going and just makes you feel good.
- Play hooky from your normal activity. I love to take the afternoon off to go to the movies. It is so nurturing to break away from our routine.
- Spend time alone: Go to a local coffee shop, listen to a podcast, read a book or a special magazine.
- Get creative: Go visit a local art gallery or museum to get inspired filled up with beauty.
- Be restful: Take a nap, sleep in a little later.
Imagine how it would feel to start caring for yourself now. If you feel overwhelmed even thinking about taking care of yourself, take it slow. If you have no idea what you can do to take care of yourself, I have a simple trick. Think back on a time in the past, when you were younger and you did take care of yourself. What did you do then? Get that image in your head consider how good it felt. If the memory of it makes you feel good- Do That!
In honor of Valentine’s Day spend some time treating yourself with loving kindness. It will instill feelings of joy and happiness in you that you might have been missing for a while.
What is your answer to the question “What would I do today if I was really acting in a loving manner towards myself?” I would love to hear your answer below in the comments.
Kim McLaughlin, MA is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in helping people with eating issues and eating disorders. She is a counselor in Roseville and the greater Sacramento CA area. If you are concerned that about overeating, weight or your use of food in general please contact her here.