by Jessica Wilkerson CPT, PN-1

Me walking past a mirror in the mall… 

“Oh heyyyyyyy! I’m totally feeling myself today!”

The hair is laying just right, the outfit I chose is giving me vibes of love for myself!
I can tell the work I’ve been putting in in the gym and in the kitchen are paying off, and I know that I can hit that goal if I just stick to it!

I feel light and bouncy amidst the world’s craziness. Sometimes I even get funny looks because I am smiling for no reason. 

SMILES SPREAD LOVE! 

And because I take the time to love every bit of myself, I feel like I have a slight advantage… not in a cocky or arrogant sense, but in the fact that I can pour into others. I can take care of my family, of my friends and even those I may not know very well.

What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others. 

You say, well I take care of myself! But here are some things to consider when it comes to that self care, and taking the time to do the self care really implements that loving yourself aspect!

Ask…

Am I getting enough sleep at night? Is it a restful sleep?

How has my nutrition and exercise been? Do I need to sweat it out or stretch it out?

Am I taking time to reflect in a positive way on my day and ask myself what I can learn?

Am I saying yes to too many people/commitments?

When was the last time I laughed, I mean really belly laughed?

Do I need to have some time socializing? Or some quiet time by myself?

What actions/ tasks could I possibly delegate to someone else for a while?

Is it time to ask for help? (This could be at home, medically, spiritually, psychologically, etc.)

Do I need a change of pace or change of scenery? 

Are there unresolved issues that could be getting in the way of me living my best life?

If by chance you answered yes to any one of these, it might be time to pause and look at what you need to do in order to love yourself the best.

When I feel like I need a pause, I take some time to sit in my thoughts. I realize this may be hard for some of you, but give it a chance. 

Sit with nature if possible and just close your eyes. Start by tuning into your breath. Notice that audible inhale and exhale… feel your chest rise and fall and maybe even start to count your breath. Inhale, 1. Exhale, 2. Inhale, 3. Exhale, 4… all the way to ten and then start over if you need to. But if you get to ten and you feel calm and your thoughts feel free then this is where you want to be.

Once you get to your calm, take time to think about the questions above. If one particularly resonates with you, then stay there a while. Work through the feelings that come up, give yourself permission to FEEL the emotions to their depth.

Then ask yourself, “If I could resolve this issue and have the outcome be exactly what I desire, what would that look like? How would it feel? What things would I hear from others about this new outcome?” And then envision it happening. Not just once, but feel it and see it over and over again until it’s ingrained in your mind.

The very first step to loving yourself is to recognize that there is something that can be improved upon. It doesn’t mean you are flawed, no not by any means! It means you see that you have weaknesses. It means you can learn to use those weaknesses to your advantage. I encourage you, if you don’t know much about your personality to take the time to get to know yourself a little deeper. 

I know finding out my weaknesses helped me to also realize that there were a couple of places I needed to make changes in my life! It’s so important to spend time alone. It’s so important to love yourself, because most of all it will help you pour into others and allow you to guide those you love most into loving you at their best as well!