Thursday, February 11, 2016

You Should Go and Love Yourself

Got big Valentine’s Day plans? It’s just around the corner, so naturally there are a zillion resources available to you on topics such as “The 10 Sweetest Valentine's Day Dates of All Time.” Others will mourn the yearly rotation of “Singles Awareness Day” — it's OK, I've been there too. Regardless of whether V-Day marks your one-year anniversary with a special someone, your 8-year anniversary of never going on a date, or something in between, we would all do well to give ourselves a little attention this season.

Self-care can be both physical and psychological in nature, and I think both are essential to maintaining a healthy livelihood. It can be easy if (or when) you enter a relationship to neglect “you” time — but you have to both know and care for yourself before you can show the same attention to another person. Here’s a few suggestions for how to care for yourself this Valentine’s Day, whether you plan on spending the day alone or with a date.

Self Care for Valentine's Day

1. Cut the Chocolate

It seems counterintuitive to say “cut the chocolate” in a Valentine’s Day post, but it’s more of an everyday suggestion. An essential part of self care is considering your health — it affects so many other parts of your life. So while eating 12 boxes of Russell Stover might sound like a great idea at the time, prioritize your long-term health in your daily decisions (easier said than done, I know).

Engagement Ring and Coffee

2. Journal

I’ve written about the benefits of journaling here, but if you’re not into pouring your feelings out to a piece of paper, at least confide in a good friend. If you’re single, you’ll need a good sounding board — we weren’t meant to do life alone. And if you’re in a relationship, your boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t be the only person you’re vulnerable with. Should you trust them? Of course. So much that theirs is the only name in your email inbox or message queue? Not at all.

Angeline Bradford and Michael Bradford

3. Schedule a hair appointment

Or, y’know, go for a long drive. Get your nails done. Take one of those trendy bubble baths all the Instagram girls can’t get enough of. Adopt a kitten. Read a book. Get a massage. The theme here is treat yo self. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, you should treat yourself kindly. Small mood-boosters can go a long way to ensure proper self care and self image. You deserve it!

Michael and Angeline Bradford

4. Unplug

If Instagram is a competition, Valentine’s Day might be the playoffs. Women and men alike post photos of significant others, romantic date nights and extravagant gifts — and that’s ok. But if come February 14 you find yourself alone (or not alone, but feeling jealous), it might be hard to scroll by dozens of roses and teddy bears. And that’s OK, too. There is nothing that says you have to engage in social media, and if seeing others’ posts dampens your spirits, feel free to unplug for the night.

Sometimes self care sounds selfish because it’s so focused on our own wants and needs. But as we learn to treat ourselves well (it’s a process!), it enables us to make even more of the time we spend with others. Go and love yourself — even if that means spinning guilty-pleasure pop music, like Justin Beiber or something…

You won’t regret it.

Photos of my BFF/college roommate taken by me and Austin Elliott of Locke + Stache Media.