Self Love Routine: More than just self care

I want to start by asking a question:

“How do you feel when you are in a relationship, romantic or platonic, with someone who consistently cancels on you?” If you’re anything like me, you feel neglected. You feel let down. Sad. You do not feel like you matter to that person and will likely reconsider how much energy you want to give the relationship.

Now, I want you to be very honest with yourself and ask yourself one more question: “How often do I cancel on myself?” “How many times have I promised I would make time for myself and never followed through?” If you’re anything like me, it’s often. ‘Self care’ is a hot topic right now. It’s one of those buzz words you hear over and over again. It is right up there with being ‘mindful’. But what does self care really mean and how does it affect the way we view ourselves? People are grabbing at any answer they can find to relieve stress. What if the answer isn’t a new buzz word, or product? What if the answer has been in you the whole time?

Everytime you say you are going to make time for yourself and do not follow through, you are giving yourself a message. You may not be fully aware of it and you may not see the impact is has right away but, just like the friend who casually sets you aside, that action carves away at your self esteem. It sends the message that you are less important than that person, that event, that project, even that child. (I have a 2 year old, I cancel on myself for him more times than I’d like to admit and it has had an effect.) Over time, even if you don’t notice, you have conditioned yourself to think you are not important and you may not even realize it. In one way or another it shows. Whether it comes in the form of depression, anxiety, stress, or body pain, self neglect has an impact.

Like many of us, I have struggled with self esteem and sometimes I still do. About 4 years ago I met a wonderful woman who talked to me about her self love project. She inspired me. I also read a book around the same time which talked about the importance of keeping commitments starting with yourself!

I decided to make a commitment to myself & I started my own self love project. Every Wednesday night, for just 1 hour, I had dedicated “me” time. I decided a bath with candles and nice music was enough. By the second week, my 1 hour bath with candles and music turned into a 2 hour ritual. I would turn on the heater in my room, exfoliate in the shower, fill up the bath & add bath salts, burn delicious aromatic candles, turn on music, and when I was done with the bath I would go to my room, lay out a sheet I didn’t mind getting oil on and give myself a massage. This is also an Ayurvedic tradition called Abhyanga.

My self love ritual was just that. It was a ritual of deep, sincere love of me. I showered myself with the love I’ve always wanted from another person. Once a week for an hour turned into two hours twice a week. Not all ‘me’ time was bath and candle light. It transformed into solo beach days with a good book and healthy snacks, whatever I felt I needed at the time. I became a different person. I kept those dates with myself for over a year, I became a stronger, better, more loving individual. This project completely changed my life. I was less anxious, life was enjoyable, I had SO much energy and significantly less body pain. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself. However, when I became pregnant my self love routine fell away and much of the positive effects went away with it. Something I intend to change in 2018.

Here at East Wellbeing and Tea we challenge anyone reading this to a New Years Resolution of epic proportions. Let’s do some preventative care! We propose a Self Love Routine for 2018.We challenge you to make yourself accountable along with those of us participating over the next year. Whether you tell one person and keep them up to date, or you post your journey here, with us at East Wellbeing and Tea, finding comradery with those of us who decide to embark on this journey.

Self love will look different for everyone. Maybe you want to sit and read a book. Maybe you have a sweater you’ve been dying to knit for yourself. Maybe you want to cook yourself a feast. Maybe you want to take yourself out to your favorite restaurant and a movie. Maybe want to treat yourself to a massage. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as YOU are the focus and the PRIORITY of this time. The purpose is giving yourself the time and attention you need. Making a commitment and keeping it. It’s making yourself a priority, even if you only have 30 minutes a week.

What does this look like?

-This looks like, your phone gets put away. Not on silent, not on your person where you are tempted to look. In a different room, left in the car, whatever you have to do to focus on YOU.

-This looks like, talking to your spouse, your friend, your mom, who ever you have in your life and getting a schedule set with a sitter you trust so you aren’t thinking about whether your kids are okay. 1 hour isn’t very long. They will survive. You can take an hour for you. You can put the phone away and give yourself the 100% undivided attention you deserve.

-This looks like you diving into you. Remembering why you are such an amazing and beautiful person. This is finding the most selfish and self-indulgent experience you can and feeling NO guilt for it because it's not something you want but something ALL people NEED!

-This looks like consistency. This is making dates with yourself and KEEPING them. Be reasonable. Whatever that looks like for you, in your life right now. If you can't do it weekly, or can't commit to a specific day, then simply makes dates with yourself that you keep no matter what.

Be easy on yourself. If you know you will feel guilty for eating a pizza, indulge with a salad. This is about YOU. So let the inner you express what he/she needs. You know what you need if you really sit and listen. Find what you need and give that to yourself.

This routine looks different for everyone and I think ANY routine dedicating time to oneself will help you to connect and will bring you closer to yourself. However, here is one thing I want to add:

There is much to be said regarding physical touch. There are many therapies which are said to be far more impactful because they include physical touch. I truly believe that is why the routine I came up with was so incredibly healing. I PHYSICALLY loved myself. It was not abstract. It was so much more than making time to read or finish an old art project. I took quality oils and massaged them into my body. I learned to love MY body. Every stretch mark, every scar, every piece of me that has ever been judged or looked down on. I spent time finding pieces of myself to love that society says are ugly. I revelled in my beauty. My exquisite being. I found a healthy admiration for everything I am, everything I have become, and everything I will ever be. I encourage you to include some form of physical love, whether you give yourself a pedicure, or facial, or a massage, or dress up and look in the mirror and remind yourself how incredible you are. The impact of including your physical being makes a difference.

It doesn’t have to be every week but it is important to be consistent, and a date which you do not break! If going into this you know your life does not allow for an hour a week, DO NOT make a commitment you cannot fulfill. Remember, this is about keeping commitments to yourself and reminding the inner you how import and you are. Make a reasonable commitment for where you are, in your life. Similar to cooking with salt, you can commit to a small amount and add more later. It’s less about the quantity and more about the quality in the beginning. In the end, I’m willing to bet this time you set aside will turn into more and more as time goes on and you see the benefits pile up. Love and Peace to all as we bring in the new year.

Holly Hetherington

#selflove #Love #Selfcare #Self #Somatics #Massage #Loveyourself #health #Wellbeing #Wellness #Treatyourself

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