Written by Samantha Carter

Valentine’s Day isn’t just for romance. This year, let’s shift the focus inward. Self-love and self-care are both essential components of our overall well-being. In honor of February 14th, let’s explore 14 meaningful ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day by showering ourselves with the love we deserve.

1. Start Your Day With Mindful Moments

Begin your day by taking a few minutes for yourself. Engage in mindfulness exercises such as deep breathing or meditation to set a positive tone. This practice can help ground you in the present moment and promote a sense of calm to help cope with any potential challenges of the day.

Studies have shown that as little as five minutes of mindfulness per day can help with a range of physical and emotional ailments, such as:

A common misconception that many people have about meditation and mindfulness is that it requires you to think of nothing or be completely still. This can shy people away from wanting to try it. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are many different ways to incorporate mindfulness into your routine. Therefore, it’s important to try different methods until you find something that works for you (yoga, guided meditation, breathing exercises, etc). If you’re not sure where to start, Insight Timer is a great free app that has thousands of talks and guided meditations on mindfulness.

2. Nourish Your Body through Healthy Choices

Another way to show yourself love is by being intentional about what you eat. Fuel your body with nutritious foods that provide you with ample energy and nutrients.

The CDC notes a variety of benefits to eating healthy, including:

  • Living longer
  • Improved immunity
  • Healthier skin, teeth, and eyes
  • Supported digestive system function

A healthy, well-balanced diet is characterized by a diverse intake of nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. With an adequate supply of vitamins and minerals, you can maintain optimal health, reaping the benefits of improved energy and a healthy weight. It should also be noted that staying hydrated is a crucial aspect of a well-balanced diet, and that it’s important to eat organic whenever possible.

3. Practice Gratitude

Take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of your life. Gratitude can shift your focus from what’s lacking to what you appreciate. Consider keeping a gratitude journal where you can write down a few things you’re thankful for each day. This simple practice can foster a more positive mindset.

Research has shown that increasing practices of gratitude can actually lead to greater feelings of happiness. In the modern world of social media, it’s easy to get caught in the trap of comparison, constantly focusing on what we lack or what we still want. However, by taking time to inventory the good in our life, we can learn to better appreciate the things we already have while embracing the present moment of our lives.

Consider writing yourself a love letter this Valentine’s Day by thanking yourself for all you’ve accomplished so far.

4. Set Boundaries

Establishing healthy boundaries is an act of self-love. Recognize your limits and communicate them to others. Saying no when necessary is not selfish. It’s an essential part of maintaining your mental and emotional well-being.

Setting boundaries can look like saying no to a social engagement to make time for activities that make you feel nourished. It can also look like requesting someone not use certain words around you or taking time to respond to an inquiry. Boundaries are uniquely personal to the person setting them. Therefore, it’s important to listen to your intuition and share how you’re feeling with the people closest to you.

5. Prioritize Sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for mental health, and ensuring you get it is a great way to show yourself some love. Set your alarm for later this Valentine’s Day, or – better yet – don’t set one at all!

Research has shown how a lack of sleep can lead to a multitude of physical and mental health disorders. On the other hand, getting sufficient sleep can improve almost every function of our bodies and minds.

Making sleep a priority throughout the year is a great way to show up for yourself. Establish a consistent bedtime routine, create a comfortable sleep environment, and aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Your mind and body will thank you.

6. Engage in Physical Activity

This Valentine’s Day, make some time to move your body in ways you enjoy. Exercise is not only beneficial for your physical health, but also for your mental well-being. A large body of evidence shows how exercise can help prevent over 40 different diseases (both physical and mental).

In order to make exercise a sustainable activity in your life, find things you like doing. Activities might include a brisk walk in nature, yoga, swimming, dancing, exercise classes, at-home fitness routines, or something else. By giving yourself the gift of exercise-induced endorphins, you can help boost your overall mood and reduce stress.

7. Make Time for Your Hobbies

This Valentine’s Day, make some time for the activities that bring you joy. If you feel like it’s been so long since you’ve worked on a hobby, make it a priority to rediscover what it is that you love. Whether it’s reading, painting, gardening, or playing a musical instrument, investing time in your hobbies can be a powerful way to connect with yourself and find fulfillment.

8. Connect with Nature

Spending time outdoors has numerous mental health benefits. Take a stroll in the park, hike a nature trail, or simply sit in a garden. Nature has a calming effect on the mind, helping to increase an overall sense of well-being. Research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has shown how being outside can help reduce mental distress and increase overall lifespan.

9. Practice Self-Compassion

Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to be kind to yourself, especially in challenging moments. Treat yourself with the same understanding that you would offer a friend. Embrace imperfections and mistakes as opportunities for growth, rather than sources of self-criticism. Being kind to yourself can look like regular positive self-talk, making time to satisfy your needs, forgiving yourself for being human, or appreciating the strengths that you have as an individual.

10. Unplug and Disconnect

In the digital age, it’s easy to be constantly connected. However, taking time to recharge and focus on the present moment (away from screens) can offer immense benefits. Unplugging allows us time for introspection and reduces the pressure to constantly engage with the outside world.

Reducing screen time has been shown to provide the following advantages:

  • Improves overall physical health by:
    • Promoting more movement
    • Improving sleep habits
  • Frees up time for play, exploration, and social interaction
  • Boosts mood

While binge-watching your favorite show can serve as an act of self-love, so can turning off the router.

11. Pamper Yourself

Indulge in acts of self-care that make you feel pampered and valued. This could include a relaxing bath, a soothing skincare routine, or a massage. Treating yourself to moments of luxury can have a positive impact on your mood and self-esteem.

12. Seek Professional Support

If you’re facing challenges with your mental health, consider seeking support. By prioritizing your mental well-being, you give yourself a gift that keeps on giving. There are many different avenues to explore when it comes to seeking mental health support.

Traditional Mental Health Supports

Traditional mental health supports typically include various forms of talk therapy and medication management. Therapy can provide a safe space to explore your thoughts and emotions while gaining valuable insights and coping strategies. There is some research that suggests combining medication with therapy produces greater results than either approach by itself.

Alternative Mental Health Supports

While therapy and medication may work great for some, the reality is that many people still struggle to find relief from traditional mental health treatments alone. Consider looking into alternative treatments such as ketamine-assisted therapy, neurofeedback, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, Deep TMS, stellate ganglion blocks, and more. There are numerous studies that show the benefits that these approaches can have on depression and other mental health disorders.

If you’re interested in exploring traditional and/or alternative mental health treatments, Plus by APN offers both. Book a free consultation to learn more.

13. Practice Mindful Eating

For many, Valentine’s Day means a chance to treat ourselves to a nice meal. Enjoy your food with intention and attention. Avoid distractions while eating, savoring the flavors and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Mindful eating fosters a healthier relationship with food and enhances the overall dining experience. There is even research that shows how mindful eating can lead to greater psychological well-being.

14. Express Yourself Creatively

Finally, find a creative outlet to express your thoughts and eotions. This could be through writing, drawing, or any form of artistic expression. Society teaches us to focus on giving to others on Valentine’s Day, but what if we gave to ourselves too? Creativity can be a powerful tool for self-discovery and emotional release, and a great way to reconnect with our true selves.

Surrendering to Self-Love

This Valentine’s Day, make a commitment to prioritize your mental and physical well-being 365 days a year. These 14 strategies are just a starting point – the key is to find what works best for you.

Remember that taking care of yourself is not selfish. It’s a vital aspect of maintaining good physical and mental health. Embrace the journey of self-discovery, and celebrate the unique and wonderful individual that you are. Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

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