Imagine a door that opens up to a wonderful world of limitless possibilities and everything that your heart desires – health, loving relationship, true friendships, career growth, supportive family, body positivity and more – is within your reach. The only thing that you need is the key to this door. The key is self-love.
You might or might not already be in love with someone else. Regardless of your Valentine’s Day dating status, self-love is a priority. Feel free to forget about instant gratification. Self-love is rarely gained in a day. However, building your way to self-love can be one of your most rewarding journeys. An easy way to start is with simple outward actions that will gradually influence you internally.
Let your inner beauty shine bright, and indulge in self-care, in all of its forms, as a lovely treat that you can give to yourself simply because you love yourself.
If you’ve got nothing planned for February 14, book the time for a luscious self-care evening.
Massage away all tension
Give yourself a gentle head massage, infusing your scalp and hair follicles with a nourishing natural oil.
First, use your thumbs to massage your temples and third-eye area. Then try soft circular movements from the sides of your hairline towards the centre of the head. Bow your head down and use both hands to massage your neck. Rub the sides of your thumbs upwards on your neck to release all tension.
Self-massaging this area is incredibly relaxing while stimulating blood-flow to promote hair-growth. You can leave the oil in your hair for 30-60 minutes to moisturise it or add a hair mask for a greater difference.
Love for the skin
City pollution and sun exposure are your skin’s greatest enemies. Use a gentle exfoliant to refresh your skin by removing the top layer of dead cells. Once the skin is prepped, put on your favourite face mask. If you don’t have a preference towards any branded products (or you don’t have them at home), you can opt for preparing your own concoction. Think avocados and honey to make your skin softer, and turmeric and cacao powder to brighten your complexion. Oh, and a few drops of lemon juice if you’re struggling with large pores!
A caring meal
Whether you decide to share a meal with friends or to eat in silence while focusing on each bite, treat yourself to your favourite meal.
I know that modern media portrays eating alone as utterly sad and pitiful. It could not be further from it.
One of my yoga teachers always reminded us to eat slowly and enjoy our meals. Trying to keep your focus on mundane and mechanical activities, such as eating or cleaning, can slowly take you into a meditative state.
There, where all past things are done and all worries of the future haven’t come yet, lies the beauty of the present moment.
Journal it out
Laying your thoughts down on paper is a foolproof method to put some order into your head, understand better your emotions and feelings, and increase mindfulness. You don’t need to have a diary to do this, nor do you ever need to read what you wrote. Grab any piece of paper and write down the first things that come to mind. If you are struggling to do this intuitively, you can use one of the following prompts for a spontaneous self-care journal:
What am I grateful for?
What does self-care mean to me?
What can I do to step up my self-care?
What would an ideal day be like?
Or why not also write a letter to your younger self that can help heal some past wounds.
Just before sleep
A great way to ease yourself into sleep is to not do anything stimulating an hour before bed. Sleep disturbances can lead to a myriad of health issues so this part of your self-care is essential.
You can try a restorative yin yoga practice to stretch out your muscles, have a cup of calming tea, read a fascinating novel or try out candle-gazing.
This last one is considered an eye-cleansing practice that is also perfect for meditation newbies. Ideally, you would place a tall white candle about an arm-distance away from your face, with the flame at the level of your eyes. Alternatively, you can use any other candle you have. Take the support of a wall or a chair if you’re not used to sitting for long with your back straight.
Focus your gaze on the flame of the candle and try to keep your eyes open for as long as possible. When your eyes start watering, close them and feel the light of the flame in between your brows (yes, your eyes are still shut). Then, open them again and concentrate on the dancing flame until your eyes get teary. Repeat this for 10-15 minutes before going in bed and focusing on your breath, on the cold air coming in with each inhale and the warm air leaving with each exhale.
Having a lovely and relaxing evening that you won’t post about on social media is so underrated. Prioritising self-love means doing what makes you feel nice and fuzzy inside, even if no one else can see it. It is about genuinely putting yourself first not just on St. Valentine’s but on every day of the year. Make a note to yourself to begin developing a self-care routine so that you never forget to give love and compassion to yourself.