The passing of yet another Valentine’s Day is a reminder of how much our society is focused on expressing love to the special people in our lives.
For some, it’s expressed through gifts or expensive dates. According to ABC News, the total expected spending for the holiday was more than $18.2 billion, or $136.57 per person on average. That’s quite the pretty penny! Others choose to express their love with thoughtful acts or spending quality time together. No matter how the holiday is celebrated, love remains the focal point.
Although it’s important to show our love for one another, why isn’t there a holiday reserved for something just as important—loving ourselves?
Oftentimes, we’re willing to go out of our way and make sacrifices to show others we care about them, but how often do we do this for ourselves?
Self-compassion can be difficult when we live in a society that warns of self-indulgence and values self-criticism to keep ourselves in line. While there’s nothing wrong with being disciplined in our health journey, allowing room for kindness as well is critical. Studies show that self-compassion—not self-criticism—leads to true holistic health:
- It increases happiness and satisfaction with life.
- It leads to better health decisions.
- It lowers risk for depression or anxiety and can increase your optimism.
- It reduces stress that causes procrastination.
- It increases problem-solving skills.
These are just some of the many benefits you can receive if you choose to embrace self-compassion in your own life.
If you’ve felt stuck in a rut or a little down in the dumps lately, examine your behaviors. When was the last time you showed yourself a little kindness?
Below is a list of a few practical ways to practice self-compassion. Commit to following at least one of these tips every day this week in order to boost your physical, mental and emotional health.
- When you first wake up, name three things you love about yourself.
- Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry, rest when you are tired and surround yourself with people that remind you of your inner strength.
- Create a list of people you admire (those who have contributed to your life, community or the world). Consider whether their appearance was important to their success and accomplishments.
- Examine your life for any toxic behaviors or relationships and take steps to free yourself from these poisons.
- Wear comfortable clothes that express your personal style and that make you feel good about yourself.
- Examine this list of self-mantras and choose ones that inspire you. Write them on sticky notes and place them around your living areas. Take occasional “compassion breaks” and say them out loud to yourself.
- Find a method of movement or physical activity that you enjoy; do it regularly, not to lose weight or be fit, but because it makes you feel good and strong. Exercise for the Three F’s: Fun, Fitness and Friendship.
- Create a list of all the things your body lets you do. Read it and add to it often.
- Schedule time in your week for you to recharge. During this time, do an activity you love, whether it’s going to see a movie, reading a book, going for a walk, etc.
- Practice guided meditation.
Leave a comment on this blog to let us know what ways you plan to practice self-kindness!
If you’re struggling with self-compassion and need to talk, our Counseling and Psychological Services staff can help. Call 402-472-7450 to make an appointment today.