It’s the time of love, Valentine’s Day and romance, but so often we moms leave our own love and self care out of the equation. Or we wait for someone else (husband, lover) to lavish us with love and affection.
Admittedly the word self-love is vague and general. What does it really mean to demonstrate love to yourself anyway?
Well I like to think of love as a verb (speaking of, there is a nifty little podcast called Love Is A Verb that teaches all of us how to love on ourselves every week. You can check out that podcast here).
Anyway, if love is a verb, then it means we must take ACTION in order to demonstrate this love to ourselves– right?
But, you’re a mom and I know you don’t have all day long to love on yourself, so I’ve come up with 14 super practical ways that any mom can show herself some love this Valentine’s Day season.
1.Read a good book just for the joy of reading it
I get it. You have to read for work. You have to read to your kids. You have to read directions to bake those cookies you promised the PTA. But reading can be fun! Yes even more fun that watching reality TV. A good book has the power to take us out of our “daily grind reality” and put us on a beautiful beach with the hottest man we can imagine. And it’s perfectly legit! We’re only imagining after all!.
2.Write a story. Like a creative one with characters and dialogue.
I use to have so much fun writing stories when I was a kid. But as I got older I started to take it so seriously. I started to care about what other people thought about my creative story. But I’m here to encourage you (and me) that it’s all for fun. Write something that makes no sense. Write something that is so incredibly out there and far fetched that maybe even your kiddos will love the adventure you’ve penned. Just write for the sheer joy of it!
3.Get your hands dirty in another creative project. Try painting, adult coloring books, or cooking something new.
My husband absolutely hates that I use my bare hands as mixing tools in the kitchen. I mix dough and meat loaf with my hands and it gives me such pleasure to touch and feel my soon to be dinner. We get these kinds of experiences from fully engaging in the things we do. Not just with one sense, but with as many of our 5 senses as we can. Creative things like painting or coloring has the same effect. Because ALL of your senses are engaged, you don’t have the mental capacity to think about anything else that may be stressing you out! So try it. See if I doesn’t reduce your stress and feel good!
4.Take a class on a subject that you always wanted to learn more about.
If you wanted to learn about healing stones, take a class on that. Want to learn how to salsa dance, then take a few classes. And one of my favorites, if you want to learn about wine, take a wine class or go to a wine tasting. There are many places that offer these kinds of things absolutely free! The best part is you get to learn something new AND spend a little quality time by yourself or with a good friend that you invite along!
5.Drink a glass of wine slowly. Not in front of the TV. Just sit, sip and enjoy.
Rituals of pleasure, is what Dr. Christiane Northrup calls these kinds of things. When you engage with an activity fully just for the pleasure of it, she says doing these kinds of things make you happier and live longer. Go figure! Show yourself some love by savoring every moment of that wine.
6.Of course you can also eat something you love. Chocolate covered strawberries maybe?
The same idea above applies to this. Instead of just eating your favorite treat in front of the TV. Close your eyes and really taste it. Smell it. Feel it in your mouth. You may even find that you don’t need as much of it, since mindful eating is one very effective way to eat less.
7.Take a walk in nature. Be present and notice the surroundings.
If you use to like going outside as a kid but don’t often find time to do it now, go back to your childhood a bit. Whenever you have a few minutes head outdoors and just enjoy some fresh air. It doesn’t have to be an hour or even 30 minutes. Five minutes of fresh air and sunshine can go a long way to brightening up a long day.
8.Listen to some good music and sing out loud to it!
This is one of my favorite things to do (and my kids are embarrassed for it). Oh well can’t please everyone. But singing has been shown in research to improve your mood and decrease your stress. All of the deep inhales and long controlled exhales (think of how you have to manage your breath when singing a ballad), calms the nervous system and makes us feel more relaxed. The best part about singing is that it’s just so damn fun! So sing like nobody’s watching!
9.Dance around to loud music. Let the kids join in to!
Sometimes a family dance party is just the thing you need. Think about it. When you dance, especially with your kids, you are engaging with them. You’re looking at them. You are giving them the attention they need from their busy mama.
Likewise when you dance solo, you engage with YOU. With your body. You don’t have anyone telling you what to do so you only do the movements that please you. Oh I think we just found another ritual of pleasure! Dance it out sister!
10.Go window shopping.
You don’t have to buy anything but sometimes trying on clothes and sitting in sofas that (could) be yours is a lot of fun!
I’m not a big shopper but my mother was (and still is) the shopping queen. She always went window shopping all the while imagining what she would look like and feel like in her new stuff. Of course she also took it a step further and tried stuff on to get the full experience. When you go window shopping it’s like taking a test drive. You can always come back and buy exactly what you looked at later and “own” that experience forever. And if you’re thrifty like my mom, you’ll probably come back when those beautiful clothes are 50% off! It’s a win-win!
11.Go to the spa.
If you’re a woman, that’s busy a spa day probably sounds heavenly. And why shouldn’t it. It’s important that we take care of our hands and feet. It’s important that we take care of our skin and muscles. That’s one of the many ways that we demonstrate our love for ourselves. So go get a nice manicure and pedicure or treat yourself to a massage or facial.
12.Take a nice long bath at home.
No time for the spa? Turn on some music, turn the lights down low and just enjoy a nice hot bath at home. Wait for the kids to leave or have someone keep them occupied while you enjoy a nice long soak.
13.Make love to your partner.
I know you’re thinking “I thought this post was about ME loving ME!” Well it is.
In the midst of being a mother (and a good one) we often times forget that we have another person who also wants our time and attention. And more than likely that person wants their time and attention to be hot and sexy.
Keeping your primary relationship “healthy” goes a long way to keeping you mentally and emotionally healthy as well! So yes, you are loving yourself by giving HIM some good lovin’!
Take the time to set the scene for romance. Light candles, put on perfume, turn on some soft music. Really just enjoy one another. If you lost your groove and need to get it back, check out this post on 3 ways you can do that!
14.Make love to yourself…..
Um yeah, you can still set the scene it just will be a solo pursuit! Hey we are women and moms, but we are also sexual beings. And that’s nothing to be ashamed of. From a tantric yoga perspective sexual energy is THE most powerful and transformative energy there is. Oh and as a added bonus research shows that women that are more sexually satisfied (meaning they hit that “O” more often) are happier and healthier. So do it for you health!
Are you feeling inspired now! I’m sure you can fit at least of these into your schedule. If none of these ring a bell with you, then come up with some of your own that you know you’ll enjoy!
Come on into the Yoga Mamas Facebook group and share at least one thing you’re going to do to love on yourself this month!
Happy Valentine’s Day!