While some may argue that Valentine’s day is simply a Hallmark consumerist holiday, I believe it is all about intention. I love how certain dates can foster reflection and re-alignment.
Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as a day of love since the 14th century. Celebrating love can happen in every day moments of making meaningful connections, appreciating life, and caring for oneself. We all have a deep-rooted need to show and share love. It is about both giving and receiving.
Like all things, it starts from within. Below I am sharing with you practices to cultivate self-love. Taking care of yourself fills your inner well. When you are filled from within you will have the inner resources to give your presence to the people in your life, in big and small ways, and to be of greater service in the world.
For the next nine days, carve out a little time for you, guilt free. There are no hidden cameras watching you. It’s okay to tend to your own needs. You need not be perfect to make a difference. Think practice, not perfect. If taking on one new self-care ritual a day feels overwhelming, pick one practice for each week or choose as it feels resonant to you. Most importantly be gentle, be compassionate, be loving.
DAY 1 | JOURNAL
What does self-love and self-care mean to you? Not all acts are one-size-fits-all. Cultivating self-love and incorporating self-care is a discovery of what resonates with you and fills your inner well. Take time to write about what feels true for you during this season of your life.
DAY 2 | MEDITATE
Meditation is a profound practice to ground, center and come back to yourself in a world that seems to pull you every which way. Contrary to popular belief, meditation isn’t about emptying your mind of all thoughts. Thoughts will arise, you simply choose to place your attention on an object of meditation such as your breathing. Begin with ten minutes each day, increasing over time. If you are new to meditation, schedule a 1:1 meditation lesson with me or use the Insight Timer.
DAY 3 | REST
What are your resting rituals? Couch time, a mind-body break, sipping a cup of tea or soaking in the bath? Take a 5-20 minute break from whatever you have been filling your day with to refocus and replenish. Rather then leaving you feeling depleted at the end of the day, these little breaks will help you be more effective, present and relaxed.
DAY 4 | UNPLUG
A day devoted to silence. It’s a great day to unplug from the internet. Emails and social media can wait until tomorrow. Rather then grabbing a device, how about reading a book or going for a walk in nature. Give your senses a break from technology to restore.
DAY 5 | NOURISH
Make yourself a home cooked meal and eat without distraction. Rather then eating out of obligation, enjoy a meal with intention – eat to nourish and replenish.
DAY 6 | MOVE
Movement is essential for the health of the body, mind and soul. What movement feels good to you? Opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator, go on a walk, dance, swim, or take a yoga class or movement class.
DAY 7 | SELF-MASSAGE
Traditionally known as abhyanga in Ayurvedic medicine, self-massage is the ultimate in self-love. Heat up organic sesame, almond or herbalized oil, then massage your body from head to toe, rest for a few minutes, and follow with a warm shower or bath. My favorite oils are from Sarada.
DAY 8 | LOVING KINDNESS
Loving-kindness meditation is a practice of developing compassion for ourselves and others. It comes from the Buddhist tradition, though it can be adapted and practiced by anyone. Loving-kindness meditation is essentially about cultivating love. Here is a guided loving-kindness practice for you.
DAY 9 | GRATITUDE
Gratitude practice increases well-being, satisfaction and contentment in life while turning your attention toward the positive. When you wake up in the morning, think of three things you are grateful for. After you nestle into bed, think of three more things you are grateful for. If you want to create a formal practice, try the Five Minute Journal. It is a daily process I have come to love as have many others I have shared it with. You can get your copy from Intelligent Change.
If you join me, don’t forget to share your progress on Instagram stories & your feed with the #9daysofselflove hashtag so we can all support each other.