With Valentine’s Day on the way, many of us are looking for fun ways to shower our loved ones with affection, but is there someone who keeps slipping off your lists? Yes! Yourself!
This year, we invite you to join us in adding self-love to the list of loves we celebrate this Valentine’s Day. To make it extra easy, we’re giving you ten healthy and beautiful ways to express your love, and affection, for yourself!
1. Regular massage
At Elements Massage® studios, massage therapy is (of course!) at the top of our list. Would it surprise you to learn that even those who give therapeutic massages professionally sometimes need a reminder to book appointments for massages themselves? It’s true! We love massage therapy and know it can benefit your physical, mental, and emotional wellness, but when life gets busy, it can fall off your to-do list.
Showing yourselves some love means putting your body, mind, and feeling at the top of your priority list, giving yourselves the support you deserve.
Science supports what your body knows: massage therapy comes with big benefits! The internationally acclaimed Mayo Clinic published the following as some of the benefits of making massage therapy a part of your wellness routine:
Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
Reducing pain and muscle soreness and tension
Improving circulation, energy and alertness
Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
Improving immune function
In addition to acknowledging the benefits of massage therapy for specific physical and medical conditions, they conclude, "some people enjoy massage because it often produces feelings of caring, comfort, and connection." Isn’t that what Valentine’s Day is all about? Book yourself a series of massage sessions today.
2. Practice gratitude
At its heart, Valentine’s Day is about showing gratitude to, and for, the people you love. Including yourself on this list is a great way to grow gratitude in your own life. Gratitude practices like writing thank you notes, keeping a gratitude journal, and taking note of reasons to be grateful during the day can help give you the attitude of gratitude, and all the benefits that come with it. Positive Psychology sites mental, physical, and emotional strength in addition to improved sleep and resilience as gifts of practicing gratitude.
3. Eat well
Champagne and chocolates are traditional Valentine’s Day treats, but they might not be the gifts your body appreciates most. Why not treat yourself to a beautiful, healthy treat instead?
Indulge in beautifully arranged fresh fruit
Add edible flowers to your salad or rice bowl
Make tea with rose petals
Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut fruit or vegetables and make your favorite recipes more lovely
Take yourself to a restaurant that specializes in healthy cuisine
4. Have fun
Gifts don’t have to be complicated or expensive; they can just be fun! Treat yourself to some good soul-filling fun, even if it’s as simple as reading a book or getting your groove on to your favorite song. If you have a long list of things you would like to do, jot them down in your planner and refer to them when you have a few extra minutes.
5. Make time for yourself
You make time for the people you love, so include yourself on this list! Sit down with your planner (or Google Calendar®) and block out a time that’s for you and you only! Commit to keeping this time free no matter what. It can give you the chance to rest, recharge and even have some fun. Lifehack’s list of ways to make time for yourself includes buying tickets (in advance) to events you’d enjoy, joining a group, taking an adult education class, exercising and walking, or taking public transportation to work. We’d like to add our favorite, getting massages, to this list of ways to get some “me time”.
6. Sing in the car
Kristin Fuller, a physician recently interviewed by Huffington Post, applauds the benefits of singing in the car by explaining that it releases dopamine and can improve your mood and reduce your road rage. “Dopamine boosts your motivation and drive,” she says. “Turning up the music and singing as loud as humanly possible can improve the situation and make individuals happier when they arrive home or walk into work, which creates more positive environments around them for others.”
Need more proof? If you want a little pick-me-up, watch a little of this. Watch more here (you know you want to). Want to try this for yourself? Add a playlist to your phone and crank it the next time you’re in traffic. (Bonus points if it embarrasses your kids.)
7. Engage in Community
Give yourself the gift of community, especially if you’ve felt disconnected in recent years. Volunteering for a cause you believe in, joining a choir, running with a group, or coaching a team can be great ways to find your people.
Look for classes, events, and groups in your area. That way you’ll have the option to connect in real life, as well as online. In addition to the joy of spending time with new people, you may find yourself adding to your support system. Both are important to your health and happiness, as well as the health of your community, city, and ultimately our world!
Need a little extra nudge to get out there and get going? Jump in with a friend. It’ll be double the fun!
Need more inspiration? Try this.
8. Surprise someone
Sometimes the best way to make yourself happy is to make someone else happy! Think about the people in your life who might be without a valentine this Valentine’s Day. Send them flowers, invite them to join you for a walk or meet up for dinner. You’ll have the fun of getting together with them and the joy of knowing you brightened someone else’s day.
Love the feeling? Make it a regular thing. Get together with this person more often, or make it a habit to reach out to new people on the regular. Programs like Meals on Wheels and Big Brother, Big Sister make it possible to take this a step further and are great ways to make significant differences in both your life and someone else’s life.
9. Create a ritual or routine
Is there something satisfying you can add to your daily routine? Give yourself the gift of adding it to your day. If you’re adding a beautiful cup of tea to your afternoon routine, indulge in a new mug and teapot. If you’re adding morning yoga, consider a new mat or workout clothes. If you’re adding reading to your mornings, consider a subscription to a publication you believe in.
Also, consider the option of adding a ritual and not buying anything. Living (mindfully) with less can be a gift that keeps giving!
The best thing you can do for yourself on Valentine’s Day may be nothing at all! Put on your jammies, dim the lights, and get yourself some quality sleep! It’s an absolute necessity that feels like a luxury and can do you a world of good!
According to the Sleep Foundation, half of all Americans report feeling sleepy during the day on most days. In fact, 35.2% of all adults in the U.S.report sleeping less than seven hours per night on average! Be the exception to this rule. Commit to 7 or more hours of sleep a night and be on the lookout for benefits like happiness, effectiveness, increase in physical and emotional wellness, and maybe even a boosted immune system.
For a good night’s sleep the CDC recommends:
Be consistent with bedtimes and waking times
Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature
Ban electronic devices (TVs, computers, and phones) from the bedroom
Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, smoking, and alcohol before bed
Keep physically active during the day!
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we recommend comfy pajamas that make you feel attractive, aromatherapy, and winding down with self-care options like a facial, meditation, or a comforting read.
We hope this inspires you to show yourself a little extra love this Valentine’s Day. Whatever you choose, we hope you love it. We want you to know that at Elements Massage® studios, we love serving you and appreciate you not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year.