We all know Valentine’s Day is a day of love. For weeks now, stores have been filled with chocolate and all things red, pink, heart-shaped—and chock full of sugar! It’s easy to fall prey to these alluring colors and sweets, isn’t it? But you should know there are many better ways to treat yourself, that will still make you feel special, pampered and loved, without having to worry about stepping on the scale afterwards!
Here are some of my favorite tips for practicing the art of love on Valentine’s Day and every day!
Nourish with a delicious meal
What we eat and how we eat is a refection of our feelings. When we are stressed, mad and upset, we tend to eat in a rush, with haste and with stressed energy. This stressed energy becomes part of our food and we ingest more of it. We also become more likely to pick foods that comfort rather than foods that nourish and flood us with health. So how can we get comfort and nourishment?
- Take some time everyday to prepare and eat a delicious meal, with mindfulness.
- Remove distractions and really connect with the process of preparing a meal using fresh, wholesome, health-building ingredients. Whether it’s a fresh juice, yummy smoothie or nutrient-dense salad, consider the process and steps you’re taking to feed your cells and give you vitality.
- Savor the taste sight, smell and texture of your food and embrace the entire sensory experience of the meal. You might not have the time to do this with every meal of the day, but even making a ritual out of just one meal will provide you with incredible physical and emotional fulfillment.
Slow down and just be still
In our fast-paced world, we are so primed for doing and moving that everyone, including me, feels guilty simply stopping and being. I encourage you to view that stillness as also being productive, a chance to unwind and relax, a time to process your thoughts and experiences, and an opportunity to ‘refuel your tank.’ It’s a time to regain some of the energy lost throughout your busy day. It’s an incredibly productive and nice addition to your self-care toolkit.
- Take five minutes, several times a day, to slow down and ponder. Create a space to check in with yourself and acknowledge your feelings and thoughts.
- Schedule meditation time – even just five minutes to sit and do nothing else.
- Stop what you’re doing and practice deep breathing.
Tell people you love and appreciate them
Don’t you love it when someone tells you they love you right out of the blue? Or someone thanks you for the little things you do? We do come to expect our partners, parents etc. to say “I love you” often. We expect to be thanked and appreciated when we’ve done something to warrant that compliment. But there is something so nice about being told, for no reason at all and when it’s least expected, that you’re loved and appreciated. Sharing that sentiment, ‘just because,’ can really make someone feel special. When it’s not expected, and comes without necessarily following a specific act, it may have a greater impact.
- Reach out to someone by phone and tell them you love them.
- Write a “love” note and tuck it in your child’s lunch or your sweetheart’s briefcase.
- Give a heartfelt compliment to someone who serves you – write a note to the wait server on the check!
Get more sleep
I am huge fan of sleep. Not just because it feels so good to be cozy in bed, but because I have a pretty sound understanding of the endocrine system, hormones and how sleep deprivation can throw your entire system off! Sleep deprivation interferes with adrenal function, creating imbalances in sugar and fat metabolism, appetite, gut and digestive health andyour skin, just to name a few.
- Getting 7-8 hours a night of Zzzzs, may be the number one thing you can do to improve your energy, focus, clarity, and to help curb your appetite.
- If you can’t get your sleep all at once, take advantage of naptime opportunities. Research shows that naps can improve performance, focus and even memory.
Take a hot aromatherapy bath
I can’t tell you how soothing and divine a nice hot bath is. Whether it’s to de-stress at the end of a long day or to warm up on a cold winter night, baths are my number one go-to self-care ritual. I even take a bath sometime in the middle of the day, just to give myself that special “me time” before the craziness of the afterschool and evening schedule with the kids takes over. It feels like a gift, to take that time out and just soak.
- Make your bath time special by dimming the lights, lighting some candles and adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. When taken at night, you’ll feel relaxed, “snoozy,” and ready for a deep, delicious sleep!
- Don’t have a bathtub? No worries! A footbath in a foot tub (a plastic basin from the store works great) can be delicious, too. Do it from a comfy chair and be sure to soak your feet in hot water, use those essential oils, light those candles, put on soft music, maybe add an eye mask and lean back and relax.
- Be sure to finish your bath or footbath with a foot massage using lavender and coconut oil. (If you have a mate, exchange foot massages!)
Find your tribe
Having an inner circle of supportive, positive, like-minded, genuine, non-competitive and inspiring friends will keep you grounded as well as happy. Find friends who empower you and who will constantly remind you of how amazing you are! Include a range of people in your life: friends with whom you connect on multiple levels, “peeps” you can elevate and who will be there for you even when the going gets tough… You’ll never get everything you need from just one person, so having a mix of special and inspiring people will nourish and lift you up.
Release toxic relationships
Removing or at least distancing yourself from toxic relationships or groups of people is one of the best things you can do for yourself. I can’t stress this enough! It’s a huge part of self-care and -love. We have all had a person or two who at some point in our life has drained us of our energy, peace- of-mind and emotions. Remember, YOU get to say who is worthy of your time, friendship, and energy. Yes, some people are harder to cut ties with than others, but finding a way to separate yourself from people who criticize, bring toxic energy to the table and consume your spirit is the ultimate form of self-care!
Do more of what makes you feel happy and smile every day
It’s really so simple! Write a list of what makes you happy and do more of it. Figure out what brings you joy and make it routine, part of your every day. It may be exercise, music, nature, volunteer work, cooking, bike riding, painting or a combination of several things. It really doesn’t matter as long as it makes you happy and smile!
BE a true Valentine all year long – buy someone flowers or a token gift “just because”
Being the recipient of a “just because” gift is an amazing feeling. I know because it’s happened to me. You may have heard the saying “It is in giving that we receive.” You see, there’s a double blessing in giving someone something unexpected: you’ll feel joy too, in knowing you made a difference. Often it’s the little unexpected gifts that can make someone’s day or even change their life! Taking someone flowers or picking out a little something that they can enjoy without any strings attached will lift that person up, even if they didn’t think they needed it.
Sometimes just smiling at a stranger can be the gift they need that day. Have you ever paid for coffee or the toll charge for the stranger behind you? It’s a win-win! Try it and see the surprise of gratitude on their face…or just feel the happiness you feel.
Practicing just one or two of these suggestions will definitely give your Valentine’s Day a boost.
And, if you really want to take it over-the-top? Start or finish the day with a love tonic, carefully crafted to nourish and warm you, body and soul. Even better? This tonic is particularly supportive of the endocrine system – hello hormonal balancing – thanks to maca, ashwaganda, cacao, coconut oil and coconut milk. If you don’t have all the ingredients, that’s OK, use what you have and store the recipe for the future—balanced hormones a critical piece of the wellness puzzle! Click HERE for the recipe!