Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Love yourself this Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I’m here to say DO NOT LET IT GET YOU DOWN. Whether you are single, broken hearted, or waiting for a match on Tinder, don't let a day about grand romantic gestures and loving another human dictate your self-worth.

Instead, show some love to yourself this Valentine's Day.

One thing I learned during my two years of singledom was that I'd never have a healthy relationship unless I loved myself first, rather than allowing another person's love define me. I had built my mental health around relationships and male approval. In school I felt like a failure for not having kissed a boy, and then for not having a boyfriend, and then for not having sex. When I finally got male attention, I dived straight in.

I had two break ups in my late teens, both leading to breakdowns resulting in self-harm and suicide attempts. While I had depression before and during these relationships, being with someone was the only thing keeping me alive. I had thought my mental illness made me unlovable. And so I felt worthless without a partner because I hadn’t yet learned to love myself.

Three years later and two years of being single and I learned that I was never going to have a truly happy, healthy relationship without learning to like myself when I didn't have a partner around. Over those years I invested time and energy in self-care and building self-esteem. When I finally met someone new, it was because I felt ready to invite someone else into my life. Although I knew I'd still need a lot of self-care and me-time.

Now here I am — 25, in a healthy relationship and happy.

So this Valentine's Day why not work on self-love rather than validation from another person?
Take the time to re-build yourself, feel empowered and loved.

It's time to get cheesy and love yourself.

Here's some of my suggestions for treating yourself this Valentine's Day.

Write yourself a letter
You know how your parents (or grandparents if you're younger than me...) used to write each other love letters when they were courting? Well I think it's adorable and a lost art. Write yourself a love letter this Valentines full of self-praise, encouragement and compliments. Because you are awesome and you deserve to be told so.

Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers
One summer's day a few years ago as I walked past a flower stall on the street, I realised I had always wanted someone to by me flowers. But so far, no one ever had. So I decided to buy myself a sun flower and it felt so good to have a beautiful flower to take home and display. Make a splurge and treat yourself to the bouquet of flowers you've always wanted.

Jar of why you love you
Need a pick-me-up? Why not make a jar of positive reasons you love yourself to look at on your bad days? I washed out and decoupaged an old jam jar (and made it look suitably cheesy), and printed and cut out strips of paper saying 'I love you because....'. Write down as many reasons you love yourself for you (your eyes, how you cope under pressure etc.) that it takes to fill up the jar. And you'll always have them when the going gets tough.

Pamper session
I'm talking fresh sheets on your bed, a bubble bath, face masks, do your nails. Whatever it is that makes you feel more confident in how you look, do it. Body positivity affects mental health, and cultivating a healthy body image is so important. Treat yourself and do what makes you feel good and comfortable in you.

Create a self-care box
A self-care box can be anything you want it to be. All you need is a box, and all the things that bring you comfort and make you feel better. My self-care box contains a journal, some of my favourite herbal teas, a packet of nerds, hot chocolate, a small colouring book and a letter to my future self to read on hard days. Not only is it cute and pretty, but it’s just a relief to know you have a safe place to turn when you’re feeling down. See more on creating a self care box here.

Get an early night
Sleep is underrated. You deserve the best, so get into bed early and catch up on your rest. 

Until next time,

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