By Sarah Logan
The following article was printed in the February 2020 edition of The Campus.
Whether you are currently in a relationship or you are single, practicing self-care is essential for a fulfilling and happy life. It can be difficult for many singles to love themselves when our society prioritizes the idea of “settling down” with one person. The practice of self-caring can become seemingly impossible with Valentine’s Day on the horizon. When the celebratory day of love finally arrives, will you be grateful for what you do have rather than what you don’t?
Here are some ways to practice self-care during the Valentine’s Day season:
- Indulge in activities that stretch your mind. Whether it be reading a book, picking up an old instrument that you may have played in your younger years, walking around NYC while tuning into your favorite podcast, or piecing together a difficult puzzle. These activities allow you to break up your routine thoughts. By participating in these activities, you have the chance to take a break from society’s views on love and enter into a different thought pattern.
- Make a date with yourself or a good friend. Friendship gives you the chance to become intimate with others around you that aren’t your family members or significant other. Spending time with good friends allows you to take a break from individuals you see every day. In this case, that could be your close family members or a significant other. By spending quality time with a friend, you are avoiding loneliness and isolation. However, your most valuable friend can be found within yourself. No matter who walks in or out of your life, one aspect will always remain constant: you always can rely on yourself. By spending time with yourself, you’re strengthening the mindset that you attribute with yourself.
- Train your body and mind healthily. Although meditation can seem cliché and over-hyped at first, your mind will thank you with time. The practice of meditation forces you to sit with your thoughts and gently push them aside. Instead of a distraction like the activities mentioned in #1, meditation gives you the opportunity to be with your thoughts. By training your body, you can stay with your thoughts as well. Whatever your favorite form of exercise is, any form of movement will benefit you; it could be riding a bike, doing a quick yoga routine, running a 5K, or weightlifting.
- Write down your progress and problems. Journaling is seen as a form of meditation for many people, me included. Breaking down your thoughts with a pen and paper can be very satisfying for many. You can see journaling as a way of therapy between you and the paper. Be sure to document your successes as well. Went for your first mile run? Gloat about it in your journal! Took yourself out to the movies? Don’t forget to jot it down in your notebook! The transformative triumphs of your life are equally important as your failures.
- Meet up with a licensed professional. If you believe that you still need assistance in the self-love department of life, do not be afraid to call up a therapist near you. Reaching out can be hard enough, let alone opening up to a stranger. However, you will most likely feel like a weight has lifted from your shoulders once you express the feelings that you were too afraid to say to an individual that you’re close to.
As human beings, we are taught that being surrounded by others guarantees comfort and security. Many of us may enjoy constant company around us, while others appreciate and relish in alone time. Practicing a good balance of the two is important for growth and happiness. By taking little steps towards an existence where you’re both comfortable spending time with a loved one and spending time by yourself, you are practicing self-love. Loving yourself before anyone else makes it easier to love those around you more and more.