Did you know that January is Self Love Month? To me, that seems like perfect timing because, heaven knows, we all need to take a breath after the busy holiday season.
But self love is deeper than that. It’s about being kind to yourself, taking care of yourself, and giving yourself grace. It’s not always easy for us to do that because as moms – whether that’s to kids or dogs – we’re just not very good at turning our attention away from our loved ones and focusing on ourselves.
But it’s so important that we take care of ourselves because you can’t pour from an empty glass. You can’t take care of everyone else when you’re not at your absolute best, and that’s what I want to talk about today. Let’s chat about a few ways to practice self love without feeling guilty, and why being good to yourself will make you better at everything else you do in life.
10 Ways to Practice Self Love in January and All Year Long
1. Commit to taking 15 minutes for yourself each and every day.
I don’t care how busy you are, you can find 15 minutes every day to do something just for you. Read one chapter of a book. Do some meditation. Take your dog for a walk. Grab a quick power nap. It doesn’t matter what you do; just commit to giving yourself a little time to do what you want to do. This is your time.
2. Drink plenty of water.
It seems silly to include something so basic on a list of ways to practice self love, but did you know that most people don’t drink enough water each day? That leads to dehydration, which can result in dry skin, muscle cramps, headaches, and that’s just the beginning.
Your body needs at least one ounce of water for every pound of body weight each day, and getting your daily quota has many positive benefits. It will improve your complexion, boosts your immune system, and may even increase your energy.
3. Get enough sleep every night.
I know you’re busy and you probably wish there were more hours in the day. Maybe you even try to stretch your time by skimping on sleep. Don’t do that. Your body needs plenty of sleep each and every night in order to rest and regenerate itself. Most adults need 7-9 hours per night, but it’s important for you to listen to your body to determine your personal needs.
Getting enough rest each night affects your mood, energy level, and even your heart health. Make sleep a priority in your life, and you’ll never regret it.
4. Create and stick to a skin care routine.
Taking care of your skin should be a non-negotiable part of each and every day. It will literally take you 5-10 minutes in the morning and 5-10 minutes before bed, but the effects are lifelong.
Your skin is the largest organ in the body, and regular skin care will not only better protect it from the harsh effects of any season, but also keep you looking and feeling your best throughout the year.
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5. Practice gratitude.
What are you thankful for? Studies have shown that people who make a conscious effort to practice gratitude in their daily lives are actually happier and healthier. Consider using a gratitude journal, and then give yourself 10 to 15 minutes each morning to make a list of all the blessings you’re grateful for.
6. Treat yourself.
Don’t you deserve something special every now and then? You don’t have to do it every week, or even every month, but once in a while you should treat yourself. Go get yourself a Starbucks and kick back with a book or surf your phone for a few relaxing minutes. Plan a spa day. Take a nice, hot bath. Buy yourself some flowers. Whatever makes you happy, be sure to pencil it into your calendar a few times a year, even if it’s a bit of an extravagance. You deserve it.
If you’re anything like most people, I’ll bet you’ve got that phone in your hand (or at least nearby) 50 percent of your waking hours. Yikes. But putting down the phone will give you a sense of relief and peace. Unfollow people who bring you down. Put the phone away at least an hour before bedtime, and give yourself occasion “screen free” days where you don’t pick up the phone at all. Remember, there is life outside of what’s going on on social media. Get out there and live it!
8. Eat breakfast.
So many people skip breakfast, but it really is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it kickstart your metabolism, but it also promotes good health, including better memory and concentration, lower levels of “bad” cholesterol, and lower chances of getting heart disease, diabetes, and gaining weight.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be complicated. Some days I’ll simply have whole wheat toast, jelly, and a glass of orange juice. Other times I’ll have oatmeal, scrambled eggs, or a bowl of my favorite cereal.
If you don’t like breakfast food, that’s okay! It doesn’t matter what you eat for breakfast. The most important thing is that you eat something healthy within 2 hours of waking up.
9. Binge watch your favorite show.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking an afternoon or evening to do nothing but crash on the couch with your dog, watching your favorite show on TV, Netflix, or Prime Video. We all need a little downtime, and getting lost in a movie or show can be a great way to decompress and simply relax.
10. Don’t feel bad about saying “no”.
If you’re a people pleaser, you probably feel so guilty when you say “no” to someone’s request. Maybe you find it nearly impossible to even utter that little word. But it’s time to stop!
Let’s be honest: you can’t please everyone. It’s simply impossible, so just stop. Stop beating yourself up for setting boundaries and saying “no” to things that don’t bring you joy. If it’s something you can’t or don’t want to do, you don’t owe anyone an explanation but you owe it to yourself to make decisions that are right for you.
Self-care is not selfish. When you take care of yourself, everyone in your life wins.
How do you practice self love? Let me know in a comment below, or better yet, stop by The Everyday Dog Mom Collective and join in the conversation there!