‘Self-love’ appears to be the new phrase on the wellness block and for good reason – most of us need to invest a little more time in ourselves. But it’s easy to misinterpret, frequently bandied about with the potential to add more pressure to how we think we should be looking after ourselves. Before we know it, our ‘self-care’ plan has become just another form of self-flagellation and never-ending list of “musts”: “I must run every day, I must cut carbs, I must go to the gym, I must get more sleep, I must quit sugar” – sound familiar?
But here’s the thing: self-love is not self-improvement.
It’s deeper, more intrinsic, instinctive and eternal. It’s about tuning in and accepting ourselves for who we are, and supporting the person we find in the here and now. It’s about gratitude to ourselves and listening to our real needs. It’s body, mind and soul working together as one for our own greater good and in turn the greater good. It’s about who we really are and giving this back to ourselves.
By practising compassion towards ourselves in the right way, we benefit from better mental health, stronger resilience and improved relationships – as well as a deeper sense of connection to ourselves, others and our surroundings. So this Valentine’s take a little time to tune in and nurture your body, mind and soul in a way that gives yourself back to yourself and watch the love blossom.
“To love one’s self is the beginning of a lifelong romance”
Love your body
…because it loves you. All day every day there it is, working hard… digesting food… running for the bus… dealing with stress hormones, fighting off the latest lurgy… breathing.
- Incorporate a pampering ritual that you love before bed (just a 20 minute bath soothes the nervous system, calms the mind and increases relaxation)
- Practice self-acceptance: choose a part of your body that you ‘disapprove of’, i.e. the stretchmarks on your thighs. Look at them, feel them, and allow the feelings to come up. Take a few minutes to reflect on all that your thighs do for you and say ‘thank you’. Close your eyes and think of a time when you felt intense love with another person, feel that love in your heart and with your mind increase that feeling of love to incorporate this area of your body
- Help restore your energy flow with a body-loving practice: yoga, tai chi, dance, walking in nature – you can boost the benefits with Equilibrium
Love your mind
It’s been suggested by experts that our minds think between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day (an average of 2,500 – 3,300 thoughts per hour). Add to this the processes involved with controlling our moods, motivating us, creating and problem-solving – it makes sense to give a little back to our minds too.
- Learn something new – apart from the potential to help stave off dementia, learning something new expands and feeds our minds, reduces stress and makes us more interesting to others and ourselves. Be it listening to a podcast on a subject you’ve always itched to know more about or signing up to a course, the self-loving sky’s the limit
- Learn to say a kind ‘no’ – self-love is about boundaries. Who makes you feel good? Who doesn’t? What makes you feel good? What doesn’t? Take some time to reflect and be honest with yourself – then trust yourself to prioritise your needs
- Decrease screen time – the blue light of smart phones and computer screens is a well-known culprit for agitating our brains in the wrong way and affecting sleep. If you really want to nurture your mind, give it a break from the digital demons and turn off your phone and computer by 7pm every evening. Feel the difference
Love your soul
Awaken your spirit, take time to connect to your inner purpose, and you will naturally channel self-love and self-acceptance.
- Spend time in your ‘happy place’ – you know this place: the bay window seat where you love to read as the sun streams in, your kitchen table with a steaming hot cuppa, the beach, the park… wherever it is, don’t ignore it, it’s important you spend time there, restore, and soak up those good vibes
- Learn to ‘let it go’
Buddha once said holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to fall ill. We know holding onto a grudge or resentment damages wellbeing, but did you know it’s also linked with physical ill-health and can negatively impact relationships. But how do you ‘let it go’? Studies with The Stanford Forgiveness Project have shown that simply imagining yourself forgiving the other person and considering alternative explanations for their behaviour can increase forgiveness and allow us to feel more at peace.
If there’s one way to connect to our inner selves and enhance self-awareness, meditation is it. By taking time to allow the mind to become still and aware of our constant mental chatter we access a reservoir of deep peace; our brain chemistry changes, we tune in and connect to that which is bigger than ourselves. Get started with ‘An Introduction to Meditation' or consider joining an Aura-Soma Essentials workshop.
Give yourself back to yourself
Aura-Soma is for those that wish to re-member themselves - it supports the process to bring all the different parts of ourselves back together. The Chairman of Aura-Soma and Principal of the Aura-Soma Academy, Mike Booth, reminds us to:
‘Give yourself back to yourself as you apply the Equilibrium that calls to you the most. During the process of integration of the crystals, the gems, the colours, the plants and the light we have a chance to remind the cells in the multicellular organism that we have become of the original purpose (for incarnation) that was downloaded in that first cell’.
See which one you are most drawn to and discover a new level of self-understanding and compassion by booking an Equilibrium consultation.