January is self-love month! So we are encouraging you to pay attention to yourself and your desires and take some much-needed me-time.
Many of us have flat-out schedules and long to-do lists that seem to just grow rather than get smaller. Living a hectic, busy lifestyle and not taking time out can raise stress levels and start to negatively affect your mental health. Before you know it, you’re burned out.
Self-love is essential for maximising your resilience to the stresses in life and improving your mood and well-being. Sometimes, we need to put ourselves first. Taking part in activities that are self-indulgent and caring can also help us feel more connected with ourselves, motivated and confident so that we are ready to take on the world. There’s nothing quite like dedicating some time to focus solely on giving yourself some sweet lovin’.
To help you love yourself more this year, we’ve compiled a list of things to help you on your way.
1. New Year Resolutions
Setting yourself resolutions for the year ahead is a powerful motivator and can help you change bad habits and establish healthier ones. They can also help you grow in many aspects of your life, whether that’s socially, professionally or personally.
But the important point to highlight is that you set ACHIEVABLE goals. There’s no point in setting yourself unattainable goals - you will give up before you’ve even gotten started. But even when your resolutions are totally doable, sticking to them can be problematic.
Here are some tips to help you stick to your resolutions:
- Choose a specific goal
- Focus on just one or two resolutions
- Make a plan of how you will achieve it
- Start with small steps
- Avoid repeating old failed resolutions
- Learn from setbacks and use them to grow
- Reward yourself when you do well
2. Health Checkups
These are something we often put off doing because, let’s face it, no one really enjoys a health check-up. But by avoiding them and not staying on top of your health, you are not showing yourself the care and love that you deserve. Looking after yourself and knowing everything in your body is behaving as it should will give you confidence and help you feel empowered. If you’ve been worried about a health problem but haven’t gotten around to getting it checked out, now is a perfect time!
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3. Eat A Healthy Diet
One of the best ways to show your body some love is by feeding it the right things. Our bodies are complex and need a variety of different nutrients, vitamins and minerals to function properly. If you eat lots of processed or junk food, you are depriving your body of what it needs, which can result in poor mental and physical health.
According to one study, eating a healthy diet is associated with better mood and mental health, whereas an unhealthy diet can contribute to depression and anxiety. The Mediterranean-style diet is considered the healthiest. This is low in red meat, dairy and saturated fats like butter and includes plenty of:
- Fruit and veg
- Wholegrain bread and cereals
- Nuts and seeds
- Pulses (lentils, beans, peas)
- Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna
4. Exercise Regularly
Another great way to love your body is to get it moving! Exercise does wonders for both physical health and fitness and your mental well-being. It also helps promote body confidence so that you can swagger your way through 2023.
Some of the major benefits of getting regular exercise include:
- Reduced risk of diseases
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Better brain function including thinking, learning and memory
- Reduced risk of anxiety and depression
- Better sleep and more energy
- Greater sense of well-being
Essentially, exercise helps maintain nearly all aspects of our health and helps us live long, healthy and happy lives. According to the NHS, adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week.
5. Practice Mindfulness And Meditation
Consistent stress can harm our mental and physical health, impact our sleep and increase the risk of diseases. While eliminating stress from our lives entirely is next to impossible, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce its effect on you.
Mindfulness and meditation are scientifically proven to reduce stress, depression and anxiety and improve your well-being so that you can enjoy your life to the fullest. Practising mindfulness directs your attention away from stressful thoughts by encouraging you to focus on other things happening in your environment or yourself, helping you feel more grounded and in the present moment.
Meditation is a form of mindfulness that involves focusing on either your thoughts, breath, sounds or parts of the body, and bringing your attention back when your mind starts wandering. It is a great technique for building awareness and training your brain to pay attention, whilst calming the mind for mental clarity.
6. Take Some Me-Time
Many people underestimate the importance of some quiet, alone time. We all need it, whether we think we do or not. Dedicating time to yourself is an act of kindness and care. You wouldn’t neglect to spend quality time with your closest friend, so you shouldn’t to yourself.
What you do in your alone time is entirely up to you and can take many forms. Here are a few things we suggest you try:
- Journaling: Writing down your thoughts and feelings at the end of the day is a great way to clear your mind. If you’ve had a stressful day and are immediately worrying about the millions of things you have or haven’t done, write them down. Sometimes emptying your thoughts onto a piece of paper can help make space in your mind for tranquillity and calm.
- Baths: Another great way to relax and unwind is to take a long soak in a bath. This is a great time to practice some of that mindfulness we mentioned earlier and an opportunity to filter through your thoughts. Obviously, the more bubbles and nice-smelling things, the better!
- Hobbies: Taking up a new hobby or practising a current one can help boost your morale enormously. According to science, taking part in enjoyable activities is associated with better mental and physical health.
- Masturbation: The ultimate act of self-love. There is often a great deal of shame associated with masturbation, but it’s something every person should try, if they want to. Masturbating is a great way to explore your body and find out what gives you pleasure and what doesn’t. This means when it comes to intimate experiences with sexual partners, you will feel more confident communicating what you like. Masturbating also enables us to feel connected with ourselves and releases those good old feel-good hormones!
Showing care for our bodies and minds is important for living our best lives and helps us cope with stress and feel more confident.
These are just a few examples of things you can do this year to love yourself more. Start by picking a few to focus your energy on initially, such as setting new year resolutions and taking me-time. Most importantly, ensure you set aside some time for yourself in the week so that you can practice any of these self-love tips. Have fun exploring and find out what you find is the most beneficial to your well-being.