5 Tips for Valentine's Self Love
Next week we will celebrate Valentine’s Day. So many of us put ourselves last as we are so busy giving to others, our kids, spouses, friends. This Valentine’s Day consider how you might be able to nurture yourself. How can you practice self-love by giving yourself a little extra warmth and nurturing this year? Yoga and nutrition are body centered ways to care for yourself and here are five tips to practice self-love:
1. Valentine’s Sweets for Health – We all need a little bit of sweetness in life and chocolate is a classic Valentine’s Day treat, which can actually support our long-term health. Dark chocolate is loaded with anti-oxidants and is good for the brain, lowering blood pressure, and cancer prevention. Here is one of my favorite recipes for a chocolate treat. (Protip: Make a batch and store them in the freezer to have on hand for those days when you need a little extra boost.)
Chocolate Nut Butter Energy Balls
1 cup dates, pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain well)
3 Tbsp all-natural salted peanut or almond butter
1/4 cup 70% or greater dark chocolate chips
1 Tbsp chia seeds
2/3 cup rolled oats
¼ cup honey if additional sweetness desired
1T coconut oil
1T – 3T almond milk as needed to stick together
Finely puree dates in food processor. Add in additional ingredients except chocolate chips and process until smooth and sticks together. Mix in chocolate chips. Roll into balls and store in refrigerator or freezer.
2. Sip on Tea – Just think about how good it feels when someone offers you a warm cup of tea on a cold blistery day. Drinking a cup of tea is a loving ritual. You can make it extra special by slowing down and fully embracing the tradition of tea by making a pot and serving it in a delicate china cup. Some herbs you can use to make a Valentine’s tea include:
My go to herbal tea is Tulsi Basil. One of my professors called it “Love in a Cup”. Tulsi Basil is an Ayurvedic adaptogenic herb which helps restore balance in the body and reduce the effects of stress.
3. Heart Opening Restorative Yoga – Our physical yoga practice can uplift our spirits and nurture our soul. Sometimes the front of the chest around the heart gets tight and constricted and through opening this area, we can see a corresponding lightening of our emotions. A great way to feel this opening is with a restorative heart opening pose like Supta Baddha Konasana. Grab pillows from your bed or couch and prop them up under your back. Position the pillows so that your head is higher than your heart. Then bring your feet together and let your knees open into a butterfly position. You can place some more pillows under your knees for support. Notice your chest area and bring a deep breath into the heart area and as you exhale allow your shoulders to fall open and your emotions to soften. Set a timer on your phone for 5 or ten minutes and just stay here with these releasing breaths. The physical release through the chest with each breath will leave you feeling more positive and nurtured after your practice.
4. Embrace Creativity – The chakra associated with Valentine’s Day is our second chakra, Svadhishthana, the Sacral Chakra. This chakra deals not only with our sensuality but also our creativity. Finding a creative outlet can bring you back into connection with yourself and is a form of self-love. Allowing yourself the opportunity for full expression is offering yourself self-acceptance and love. It doesn’t have to be a big artistic project, but could be a little redecorating, doing an adult coloring book, arranging some flowers, or drawing a mandala. One of my favorite outlets is The Kindness Rocks Project. I enjoy painting these rocks with thoughtful messages of gratitude, affirmations, encouragement, and hope. I love the thought of brightening someone’s day, when they take a pebble from the “rock garden” at my studio.
5. Positive Self Talk – This is a big one! The words we say to ourselves in our heads really matter. Talk to yourself like you would to your best friend or child. Build yourself up by saying nice things to yourself. If this is challenging for you, start with a mantra practice just for the day on Valentine’s Day. A mantra is a short positive saying and starts with “I am……” Here are some examples:
I am kind.
I am loving.
I am beautiful.
I am capable.
The possibilities for mantras are limitless. Throughout the day breath in saying to yourself “I am” and as you exhale say to yourself the positive affirmation. Let the positive affirmation sink into your open heart and feel it in your being. Know it is true.
So, this Valentine’s Day use these five tips to practice self-love. Decide on a positive mantra to repeat during the day. Then make yourself a nurturing cup of tea to have with your healthy sweet. While you are sipping on your tea do a little doodling or other artwork and then finish your day with a restorative heart opening yoga pose. This is a wonderful way to treat yourself with all the kindness you deserve. You can do it.