Ah February. The month that we celebrate love. We focus on romantic love, family love, and friendship love by showering those around us with cards, flowers, and candy. We plan special dinners, romantic evenings, and decorate shoe boxes for our kids to take to school for their Valentine’s parties.
But when do you stop and take time to show YOURSELF a little love?
If you’re like most people, you don’t. Many of us are so busy taking care of those around us that we forget to take care of ourselves. I’m not talking about basic hygiene. I’m talking about taking time to do things that truly nourish every part of your being; body, mind, and soul.
So often we do things out of habit or obligation. We eat food because we want to survive. We shower and brush our teeth so that we don’t smell. We sleep because have to, but often never as much as our bodies actually need. We do all of these “self-care” rituals out of routine, but we leave out the most important ingredient: L-O-V-E.
If we truly loved and respected our bodies for all they do for us, we would place so much more importance on HOW we care for ourselves. When we view our habits through the lens of love, then food becomes fuel, hygiene becomes an opportunity to pamper and admire, and sleep moves from necessity to a sacred time of renewal not to be missed.
Self-care is not selfish, and ultimately, consistent and mindful self-care leads to greater self-love.
Think of the way you shower or bathe currently. It’s usually very rushed and utilitarian. You quickly soap, rinse, shave, wash your hair, etc. without much thought. After 10,000+ showers in your life, you’re on autopilot. You’re in and out in just a few minutes and on to more important tasks.
Now, think of the way you help/helped your child bathe. You make sure the water is just the right temperature. You let them soak in the warm water and enjoy some toys or bubbles. You gently lather soap on their bodies and tenderly scrub their scalps. You carefully rinse them, making sure to avoid getting soap in their eyes. And as you help them out of the tub, you lovingly wrap them up in a towel, snuggle them close, and breathe in that freshly washed toddler smell.
There’s a big difference between how you treat your child and how your treat yourself, isn’t there? Yet taking an extra 3-4 minutes in the bath or shower to treat your body with “kid-gloves” wouldn’t take away from all the other things you have to do. It might, though, make you feel a little more calm, cared for, and appreciative of all your body does for you.
You must focus on being more than a care taker for your body; you must be caring toward it as well. It is ok to love yourself and show yourself love. In fact, it is necessary to love yourself in order to fully love others. As the famed 17th centrury French dramatist, Pierre Corneille so eloqunetly wrote, “Self-love is the source of all our other loves.”
How do you take time to show YOUR body, mind, and soul some love? Share in the comments below or take a picture and share with us on Facebook or Instagram (tag @withloveandveggies)!