How to practice self-love even on your busiest days

Imagine a hectic day, when you’re busy running around from the moment you open your eyes until the moment you go to bed. It shouldn’t be too hard to imagine. Sometimes it seems like every day is a repeat of the day before and we’re constantly trying to get something or other done. The life that we’re leading is our own, yet how much do we really take care of ourselves in our daily lives? As it turns out, the verdict on that is still pending. Sure, we eat, sleep, and take care of our most basic necessities. But what about our emotional needs, our psychological needs? When we look in the mirror in the morning we say “Of course, I love myself,” but sometimes we don’t really actualize that love. Is it that 24 hours isn’t enough to squeeze in self-love??

An Intention to Practice Self-Love

I love myself, but do I really show that to myself? The first step is asking this question and answering it honestly. Love takes effort, and we need to make that effort to feel just how valuable we are. “Human beings love that which they make an effort for and they make an effort for the things they love,” says the esteemed author, Erich Fromm. That’s why if you love and value yourself, you have to make room for yourself in your daily life and make an effort to take care of yourself. The more you make room for yourself, the more you’ll start taking care of yourself. Most of the time, we seek the love and attention we need from others. But the love and attention that we crave is already within us. You know how you complain about not having enough time? Don’t believe the inner voice that says that. Everyone has at least a little bit of time they can spare for themselves. The first step  is to believe this and take action. Love, after all, knows no boundaries.

This might seem daunting at first. So, take a breath. You have plenty of time to spend on self-love practices. Why not start by planning out your day? Not planning your day can often make you run around in a panic, trying to complete one task after the next. But if you plan out your day right, you can start making room for the self-love practices you need in your schedule. Once you start these practices, you’ll quickly experience the joy they bring to your life.

A list to make space for yourself

Our days are often packed with different routines. Some of us experience this as parents, some as students and some as part of the workforce. All these different roles come with a multitude of changing responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make some time in your schedule for some self-love and self-care practices. Here are a few practices that might help:

Revolutionize your day by setting a new alarm for yourself in the mornings. Wake up 30 minutes earlier than you normally do. 30 minutes out of 24 hours is really nothing when you think about it. You can do it!

Look over your routine and determine what you can take care of early on.

Here are a few examples:

  • Check how the weather will be tomorrow and decide what you’ll wear in advance. A lot of us spend a good deal of time standing in front of our closets, and there are times when we choose outfits that we’re not too happy with because we’ve run out of time. By choosing our outfits in advance, we can free up 10 minutes the following morning and spend it by doing something we like, such as putting on makeup or shaving.
  • Pack your bag the night before. Odds are, you’re not using the same bag every day and even if you do what you put in it often changes. This way you can skip the mad dash through the house trying to find everything you need, and replace it with an exercise you enjoy, such as morning stretches or yoga.

Plan what you’re going to do after you wake up:

  • Choose a piece of music or melody that you like as your alarm. That way you can start your day with intention and a smile on your face.
  • Wash your face with plenty of water. Let the water freshen you up.
  • Look at yourself in the mirror and really see yourself. Repeat these magic words: “Good morning. Today is a new day. How are you feeling? You are really beautiful and I love you.” Say all of this or part of it. Say whatever else comes to your mind. Choose what you want to say to yourself but be aware of what you’re saying as you’re saying it. You’ll quickly begin to notice their effects.
  • You’ve prepared your bag in advance. Now, you can use your take your time getting ready, instead of rushing.
  • You’d set your alarm 30 minutes earlier than usual. Now you can use your extra time to do some breathing exercises or to meditate. Don’t deny yourself this sincere moment with yourself. Meditate for 30 minutes, five minutes, or just one. But take the time to check in with yourself.

Pause throughout the day:

  • Don’t be fooled by things that feel impossible. Always aim to try.
  • Set alarms to remind yourself to take a break throughout the day. I know today is a very busy day. But you can continue researching possible kindergartens tomorrow. Do you really have to hand in that report you’re working on in the next few minutes, or can you afford to pause for a moment?
  • Set alarms to “check in with yourself.” You can delay these alarms if you’re too busy at that moment, but don’t turn them off. Here are few things you can do during these times, when you’re able: Rest your hands on your lap and ask yourself how your day is going. Hug yourself. Refresh your makeup in the mirror or splash some water on your wrists. Smile at yourself and ask yourself if you need anything.

Get ready for bed:

  • Get ready for bed the same way you got ready for the day this morning.
  • Keeping a diary can be an excellent self-care routine. Sit down and write what you felt and experienced throughout the day. Document small moments that are important to you.
  • Prepare for the next day in advance and go to bed.

Extra Suggestions

You can add weekly or even monthly routines to your “Check-Up Moments.” Here are a couple of things you can do:

  • Make an appointment with yourself every month. Determine when and where this appointment will be and how long it’ll last. Make sure you do this, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, even if you can’t go anywhere. Buy yourself a drink and ask yourself how things are going, just as you would with a friend.  
  • Buy yourself a gift every day: Don’t think of this as an extravagance. Turn something you need into a gift. Occasionally buy yourself something that you don’t need and spoil yourself. Have something you ordered online gift wrapped and write yourself a little note.

How busy are you really?

Much of the time we could potentially spend on our own well-being and health, we end up spending on other things. At the end of the day, we often complain about how tired we are. So, re-examine your day and how busy you really are.

How much of it is manufactured and how much of it is real? There are times when we’re truly busy. But these times can’t become so common that they become routine. So, try some of the suggestions above, instead of filling up your free time with more things to do. You’ll be amazed at how good this will make you feel.

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