Most females tend to prioritize everyone else’s needs before we address our own. Be those the priorities of family, aging parents, work, social obligations or something entirely different, very often the balance is skewed away from what makes us physiologically and emotionally complete. But the truth is in order to truly heal, we need to learn to love ourselves first and in this post I'm going to give you 10 easy and fun ways to try.
Creating space for ourselves is far from selfish. It's the nature of life that we experience ebbs and flows, and oftentimes we're going to need to dig deep and give that bit more. When we consistently put others first though, we're going to miss out on what WE need, and therefore the sheer love of life. How we tilt the responsibility scales of life back into balance is what matters.
Are you familiar with the often quoted airplane analogy? As we prepare for take-off, the cabin crew explain that in the event of an emergency, oxygen masks will drop down into the cabin. We are told we must put on our own before we help others fit their masks. Do you know why? Because if we don't sort ourselves out first, we may run out of oxygen and be unable to help anyone else. Not only do we suffer, but those relying on us will suffer too. Doesn't that make perfect sense?
So why is it that we ignore those instructions when it comes to ourselves in everyday situations?
In order to begin our discovery of self-love, it's important to choose activities that not only please us, but have nothing to do with our work or family responsibilities. Also note that the nature of the activity is far less important than the fact it exists at all.
If you're wondering how you're going to go about this voyage of self-love when time, money and even energy is less abundant than the desire, I've thought that through as well. If you have young children, make a deal with a friend. Ask her to babysit your children for the day or an afternoon, in return for you reciprocating another time. I'm willing to bet she'll snap it up! If you are caring for elderly parents, perhaps look to your neighbours, church or local Age Concern for help and respite. Some of these organisations have "buddies" who will come and accompany the elderly, allowing their carers to take time away.
Whilst the following words have been written in a lighthearted way, I hope there's a takeaway for you. You see, making space for YOU should be fun, simple and lighthearted.
Ten fun and easy ways to love yourself
- Journal. Write down all the things you really like about yourself. Although we may not consider ourselves beauties in superficial Vogue or Vanity Fair terms, everyone has something special to offer. Be it an interesting nose, expressive eyes, a wicked sense of humour, bountiful supplies of empathy, the ability to open a near empty fridge and whip up a feast, even excellent taste in blogs to read 😜. What do you have?
- Garden. Spend time tending to something else for a change, not only are you getting outdoors (think Vitamin D in the warmer months) but you're nurturing life on a completely different level. It's like having a child who doesn't answer back! If you don't have a garden, buy a decorative pot and plant herbs, or cut-and-come-again lettuce.
- Random act of kindness. Doing good for others makes us feel better about ourselves. And when it benefits another, that's a win win situation! I'm not talking about family, friends or work colleagues because we're temporarily ditching them for the purpose of this post. I mean people on the street who you've likely never set eyes on before. Think about striking up a conversation with someone who looks like they could use the company. Buy a homeless person a cup of soup and a toasted sandwich. I always think of that person having a mother, children or friends who may be deeply worried about them. I know if my child or parent was on the streets I would hope someone, somewhere was being kind.
- Random act of niceness. If anyone's ever come up to you on the street and complimented you, you'll know how amazing it feels. Now's your turn to pay it forward. It has to come from the heart though, otherwise that's not going to make you feel very good. Think about it, don't you just love it when somebody compliments you on your haircut, outfit etc? After the initial embarrassment perhaps? If this has never happened to you, read on below because it could be time to treat yourself to a haircut or new outfit, lol!
- Treat yourself. Splurge on a facial, manicure, pedicure (Yes even that haircut or outfit), or something else along those lines. Regular acupuncture or chiropractic sessions, and the like, do not count by the way. You need to do something you haven't done before, or not for a while anyway. If budget's an issue, make a reciprocal arrangement with a friend - like a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" kind of set-up. Although let's be honest, back scratching isn't half as fun as a massage, or having your toe nails polished. If someone spent 20 minutes giving me a scalp massage I'd be a very happy camper.
- Get creative. Start a new craft or hobby, such as knitting, sewing, painting or even learn to play a musical instrument. Immersing oneself into something that needs focus means you push the mundane responsibilities aside for that sacred time. My passion is knitting - hats, shawls, there are even several sweaters and cardis in my wardrobe that I've knitted over the years. Whoa, and I even wear them, go me! The inner "Thinking out Loud" by Ed Sheeran in me wants to play the guitar. The outer "Little Donkey" by Kate Jay not so much!
- Go to the movies or theatre. Choose something you've wanted to see for ages and go on your own. Or with a friend if solo really isn't your thing. Don't buy popcorn because that's not AIP, so sneak in some theatre contraband like plantain chips and mashed sardines instead. I know everyone else will be dead jealous when they smell that!!
- Sauna. I absolutely love having an infrared sauna and, in fact even set up a monthly direct debit at my local spa. For some reason (I believe the correct term is "disorganisation") I usually forget to prebook my sessions and am never able to get one when the mood strikes. As a result I have a stack of saunas to take - I'm honestly thinking of moving in!
- Yoga. I recently bought Yoga for All with Adriene Mishler. See also her YouTube channel Yoga with Adrienne. I haven't actually done any yoga with Adrienne. YET. But it's on the same list as my sauna info!
- Dance. I love this one so much. My kids prefer to walk away at this point but there is absolutely NOTHING like strutting your stuff to get you into the Vortex of Healing. It's free and as quick, slow or energetic as you like. Shut the door so nobody steals your moves, or leave it open and share special time with the family. Before you head out for your massage, sauna or yoga session!
When all's said and done, it doesn't really matter what it is that you do. Just as long as you set the wheels in motion and do something that fills you with a sense of peace and joy!
Has this post helped you to make a start on prioritizing yourself more? Let me know what your first steps will be or whether you have other ideas. I'd love to hear them.
Are you interested in working with me to address your health symptoms on a deeper level? Take a look at my Work with Me Page.