With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air. But how much of that are we reserving for ourselves? Self-care is often the most elusive form of love, and one that we need now more than ever.
Many of us are working from home and working harder than ever. I have conversations every day with clients who don’t feel they can take even a brief break from their computers, though their eyes hurt and their backs ache. They are exhausted by the isolation and tedium of the routine that never changes, yet fear interrupting the daily grind to recharge and connect with whatever gives them joy.
Honestly, some of us can’t even name what gives us joy. That’s a serious problem. When we put all our energy into the needs of others—our companies, our partners, or even our children—and our value becomes synonymous with our level of “productivity,” we end up depleted and unable to show up for the very people who need us most.
Self-care comes in many forms, but what they all have in common is a focus on nurturing what makes us feel good, whole, and happy. Self-care is not selfish. It is the highest form of love, out of which our ability to love others flows.
One of the best ways to create an intentional self-care practice is to journal on a few key questions:
- What is the nicest thing you can say to yourself?
- What moves you to tears (of joy)?
- Describe the last time you enjoyed something new.
- Who or what are you most grateful for?
- What is your favorite place in the world
- What is your body telling you?
- What motivates you to get up in the morning?
- What makes you lose track of time?
- Describe your ideal day.
Now take the answers and resolve to prioritize you. Be courageous in your commitment to allowing yourself to take a breather and search deep inside for what makes you happy. Be your own Valentine. The world will keep on spinning, and you will be better able to meet what comes next with resilience and love to spare.
“We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create.”― John Lennon