Usually, when we hear we should be practicing self-care, we think that means we should go get a manicure, take a hot bath, or do something else to pamper ourselves. It's easy to ignore because it's old news, and let's face it, life is busy enough without stopping for a massage on the way home from the office.
Sure, pampering yourself is great, but self-care is so much more than that.
What if I could let you in on a little secret (OK, make that five secrets) so you can practice self-love regularly? I promise these tips won't take any extra time out of your busy schedule.
Seriously, practicing self-care daily is important because when you do, you get the benefit of legit confidence—the kind of confidence that'll land you a hot date or a much-needed promotion.
To get started, treat yourself as if you're having a love affair … with yourself.
Think about it. If you were having a fling with a lover, how would you treat that person? Pretty awesome, right?
Here's how you can start treating yourself like a lover:
1. Speak kindly to yourself.
You'd say kind and loving words to a partner, words that are truthful and heartfelt. Do the same for yourself.
Pay attention to the chitchat inside your head throughout the day. I bet you'll be surprised at how many negative self-defeating thoughts are on instinctive repeat.
As soon as an obnoxious thought pops into your head, interrupt it and turn it into kind and loving words.
2. Listen to yourself.
A lover listens attentively and wants to learn more. You'd give your lover the world if you could, and they want what's best for you.
So listen. Listen to what your body is telling you. Is it craving movement? Go for a walk or go to the gym. Take a yoga class or do an in-home workout.
Is it tired? Take a power nap or go to bed early.
Do you need help? Ask for it.
Open up your heart, your mind, and your spirit so you can feel what it is you need and watch the universe give back.
Your physical well-being is the absolute core of a healthy mental, physical, and spiritual body. When it's out of whack, your life is out of whack too—i.e., there might not be a hot date or promotion in your future.
3. Forgive yourself.
A significant other forgives you when you make a mistake. They know that you're not perfect and are willing to give you another chance. (And if they don't, you should rethink their place in your life. Just saying.)
We're all human. Every single one of us makes mistakes every single day. When you screw up, it's fine. Seriously, it's totally OK.
Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off. And put it in the past.
4. Protect yourself.
A lover wants you to be protected at all times.
Have you ever had a falling out with a friend that left you feeling glad the friendship was over?
That's because the relationship was toxic. Likely that friend didn't want what's best for you. She said the right things but manipulated you into feeling worse about yourself instead of lifting you up and encouraging you to make healthy decisions for your life.
Surround yourself with supportive friends and family who love you. Get rid of those who don't.
Protecting yourself also means learning to say no when you need to. You have to set boundaries in order to ensure there's enough of you to go around—and enough of you there for you.
5. Pamper yourself.
A lover buys you flowers, leaves you love notes, shows up whenever they're needed, and wants to look and feel their best for you.
So if it makes you feel good, put on a pretty dress and do up your makeup.
Eat foods that nourish your body from the inside out and give you energy instead of leaving you too tired to be good company.
Read books that exercise your brain and challenge you to put yourself first each and every day.
A lover wants to take care of you in every way possible. So take care of yourself by putting yourself first. The more love you have for yourself, the more love you have to give.
Here's an exercise for you: Write yourself a love letter of compassion. Talk to yourself as if you're your own lover. What would a lover say to you? Write it down.
Life is meant to be good. Crazy, sexy, ridiculously good. When you take care of yourself, everything improves dramatically and the hot dates, body peace, and a killer career … all come naturally.