4 ways to practice self-love

In honor of February as national Heart Health Month and Valentine’s Day, I thought we would put a different spin on this heart and love talk, and practice some self-love. Self-love is in regards to one’s own wellbeing and happiness. Doing things for you, can at times be viewed as a narcissistic act, but practicing self-love really should not be thought of that way. The relationship we have with ourselves can require just as much time, love and attention as the relationships with have with others. Here are few ways to practice self-love, and it is important to remember not to feel guilty for taking this time for yourself.

During this month of love, it's important to remember to love yourself. Here are 4 ways to practice self love.1. Practice good self-care

This can include everything from exercising regularly and eating right to making sure you’re getting seven or more hours of sleep. We feel better when we take proper care of ourselves. And if we’re feeling well, that positivity can translate to other areas and relationships in life. Taking the time to put regular exercise on your calendar provides time to do something for you, and might inspire others in your life as well.

2. Set boundaries

It is okay to say no. Many times, we feel like we can’t say no to certain things or certain people, and while there may be some instances you truly can’t say no, there are very likely a lot more instances when you can. You don’t have to say yes to every friend gathering, party, outing etc. when you know you’d be better served with getting a good night’s sleep. You can say no and set limits to the amount of time outside of work that you spend working. Part of self-love is saying no or knowing when to stop partaking in activities that are emotionally, spiritually, and physically draining, especially when we’re also minimizing the time it takes to recover from feeling this way.

3. Forgive yourself

We have a tendency to be harder on ourselves than we are on those around us. This high standard can be motiving and lead to high productivity, but it can also lead to burn-out and feelings of being unworthy. If a mistake is made, we tend to punish ourselves rather than truly viewing this as an opportunity to learn and figure out a better way to handle it next time. Part of self-love is recognizing and acknowledging that you’re not perfect (no one is), so don’t hold yourself to an idealized standard. Hold yourself accountable and recognized a lesson learned as opposed to a failure.

4. Don’t believe everything you think

Related to the comment above, our inner monologue can be our greatest assets or our biggest down fall. Just because you think it, doesn’t mean it’s true, that you have to act on it, that it’s going to happen, or that it is a reflection of your inner character. It just means you thought it once. This inner talk can be protective and prevent one from embarrassing themselves in public, but it can also mean we live fearfully never truly experiencing a fulfilling life if we’re stuck in our head all the time. You can practice mindfulness and acting with intention to fill your head with different thoughts. So, get out of your own way by getting out of your head.

By Kimberly Burke
Kimberly Burke is the director of the Adult Fitness Program at Colorado State University, an outreach program through the Department of Health and Exercise Science. Adult Fitness offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more see http://hes.chhs.colostate.edu/outreach/adultfitness

For more health tips, visit the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest board.