Let’s face it…love is in the air. This month, whether you find yourself in the grocery store, in your favorite restaurant, or even just scrolling through social media, Valentine’s Day advertising has been non-stop touting the importance of showing our love for others (mainly by purchasing things). But once all of the heart-shaped boxes of candy have gone on steep discount, and the prix fixe menus are discontinued, is there still room for love? We think so and want to challenge you to keep the love fest going, using this moment to focus on the most important relationship in your life– the one you have with yourself!
The good news is that you don’t have to buy a lot of fancy things to show yourself love. You can start with simple self love practices that we often overlook. Let’s start with the basics..what does “self love” actually mean? We like this simple definition from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation: “Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness. Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others.” That means that just by showing up and reading this newsletter and seeking support on your mental health journey, you are practicing self love.
We want to take it further, so for the rest of February we invite you to join us in cultivating self love in four areas of your daily life:
- Physical self: Take time to rest, try a breathing exercise, go for a walk, or do some stretches. Try to think about what would feel best to your body in a given moment and gift it to yourself.
- Interior self: Add a practice to your routine that nourishes your mind and spirit. This could be reading a book, sitting in nature, prayer, or writing a gratitude list.
- Environment: Our environment has a huge impact on how we feel throughout the day but we often overlook the impact it has on our mental health. Show yourself some love through your physical environment. This could mean adding a plant to your office, lighting some incense before bed, or clearing out one drawer of clutter.
- Relationships: It might seem strange but cultivating strong relationships with others is actually a way that we can show ourselves love. Send a text, write a quick thank you note or email, or spend a few minutes catching up with your work bestie.
This experiment is all about small, sustainable practices and finding what feels good to you, so try adding just five minutes of your chosen practice each day for one week and see how you feel. That’s just twenty minutes per day to care for yourself and your wellbeing. Self love doesn’t have to be a full time job or cost a lot of money, but adding small moments of care throughout your day is a sure way to support you in this month of love and beyond.
And remember that we’re always here to support you in finding resources that fit your life, your budget, and your needs as you navigate your mental health journey, reach out to us at 844-YOU-OKAY for our free, confidential support line for Hillsborough County. We would love to hear from you.
We’ll see you next month,
Your Team at Tampa Bay Thrives