5 Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ to Yourself

I don’t know about you, but I spent a significant amount of time in the month of February thinking of creative, fun ways to show the people I love just how much I love them. And while loving others is something we are all called to do, sometimes the best way you can love others is to be intentional about loving yourself. Tomorrow is the start of a brand new month and since self-love and self-care don’t come naturally to all of us, I thought I’d offer a few suggestions for some ways you can show yourself a little love in the weeks and months ahead:

  1. Eat your veggies and drink your water. That old saying is 100% true: you ABSOULTELY ARE what you eat (and drink). If you are always feeling tired, sluggish, have ‘foggy’ thoughts, or problems remembering simple things check your diet first! Diets that are high in fat, processed foods, or full of sugar can wreak havoc on your body. A simple google search will reveal links between these and major health problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and even various types of cancer. Proper nutrition and hydration are essential to every single process our bodies perform from thinking clear thoughts, to how muscles and joints move, to eliminating waste. Eating a healthy diet full of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables is necessary to obtain all the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your body needs; and, as luck would have it, they also happen to be a great source of water! But those things alone won’t give your body nearly the amount of water it needs to look, feel, and be its best. So love yourself enough to invest in a lightweight, reusable water bottle to carry with you throughout your day. With a belly full of water you’re less likely to feel hungry and reach for sugar-filled, high calorie snacks that can be detrimental to your overall health. {Here’s a side note from my dentist for those of you who like to add lemon, lime, berries, or cucumber to your water:  ANY TIME YOU ADD FRUIT TO YOUR WATER YOU TURN IT INTO JUICE! The natural sugars and acids present in those can do a real number on your teeth. So save the lemon water or cucumber water to drink with your meals when your saliva is already neutralizing the acids in the foods you’re consuming and in between meals sip on plain ol’ water! Your teeth will thank you!}

2. Move your body! I could literally spend hours talking about the importance of daily exercise on your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. “I’m too busy” and “I’m too tired” are nothing more than excuses that people use for not making this a priority in their lives. We are experts at finding time and energy to do things that we want to and excellent procrastinators and excuse-makers when it comes to things that may be less appealing. But moving your body a little every day doesn’t have to be hard. Try walking laps around the soccer field while you watch your kid practice or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Ride bikes around the block, jump rope, hold a plank, rep out a few push ups and jumping jacks, or take your kids in the backyard AND PLAY WITH THEM. You don’t sign up for a marathon or join a fancy gym to get exercise. There are tons of short, FREE workouts on Youtube that you can do right in the privacy of your living room–dance, yoga, HIIT, kickboxing, full body, abs, low impact, you name it!– they are all just a click away! If you work long hours and your job is super stressful, consider setting aside 20 minutes early in the morning before work or in the evening before bed to do some deep breathing and stretches. There’s really no excuse not to find some way to move your body every day. If you can make time for Netflix, you can make time for exercise. Period. 

3. Get enough sleep.  Sleep is just as essential to our body functions as food, water, and exercise. In fact, many of us who say we are too tired, actually are too tired to exercise! So why not step back and take a long, hard look at the quantity and quality of the sleep you’re getting? It may be as simple as going to bed earlier, but some of us may need to examine our nighttime routines/habits before we can get back on track. If you are the kind of person who lays in bed and watches tv or scrolls on your phone before falling asleep you might want to consider trading those screens in for a book or a magazine. The blue light emitted from electronics can interfere with the amount of melatonin that your brain should naturally produce at bedtime and make it harder to fall asleep. If you like to have a night cap, consider enjoying that beverage at dinner and having a cup of herbal tea before bedtime. Study after study has shown that although alcohol can help you fall asleep, it doesn’t necessarily help you stay asleep and often leads to poor-quality, restless sleep. Love your body enough to give it the rest that it requires and deserves.

4. Spend time outdoors. There is something mentally and emotionally therapeutic about just being outside and breathing fresh air into your lungs. So, take your dog for a walk, go for a drive with the windows down, sit on a park bench, or just drag a chair onto your porch and sit there! Look around you. Stare at the sky, listen to the birds, or stop and stare at a pretty flower. Making a little time to take in the world around you can give your exhausted mind and emotions a much-needed break. 

5. Practice daily spiritual disciplines. We are complex beings created in the image of God and our spiritual health matters. But our spiritual health is about more than just showing up at church on Sunday; God desires a relationship with us. Can you imagine what kind of marriage you would have if you lived in the same house but never spoke to your spouse? Or consider how hard it would be to get to know someone you were dating if you never went out on dates. We all know that good relationships require work, effort, and discipline to maintain; yet we often don’t think about applying this to our relationship with God. During His time on Earth, Jesus modeled the spiritual disciplines needed to nurture a relationship with the Father. He modeled a balance of prayer, meditation, Scripture reading, fasting, worship, fellowship, and service to others in His daily life. He didn’t only go to the temple, but never take time for personal prayer. He didn’t only serve others, and never take time away for meditation and reflection. He intentionally set aside time and space in His own life for each of these individual disciplines. We would be wise to follow His example. 

Lovingly giving ourselves what we need fills us up so we are better able to pour our love into others

Nichole Carrabbia

Tending to our own mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual needs doesn’t make us selfish. On the contrary, lovingly giving ourselves what we need fills us up so we are better able to pour our love into others. Each day is a new opportunity to fix whatever hasn’t been working so take some time today to think about what areas you might need to tweak in the days and weeks ahead. And if you try and try and still find yourself stuck in a rut in any of these areas, I know a good coach who just might be able to help 😉

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