I’ve always been pretty open about my mental health, over here. From chatting about things people with depression wish you knew to discussing some of my personal mental health conditions, I’d daresay the people I know online know more about what’s going on in my head than the people who know me IRL. But there’s one thing I don’t always find easy to talk or write about; how little I’ve been able to commit to self-love, ever. Not for lack of wanting to, of course, but because self-love is…well, terrifying.
I’m learning, though, and here’s how I intend to start loving myself a little better in the new year. Maybe you could, too.
1. SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO CARE
For some of us, self-love simply isn’t natural. It is natural to love the people we care about, though, and to treat them well – and it works the other way around. Looking at yourself through the eyes of someone who cares about you is one of the most uplifting things you can do, so do it more often. Go for a mate date and rant about everything you need to, watch a movie in your PJs, try on fabulous dresses that you can’t afford, whatever makes you laugh with someone who thinks the sun shines out of your rear end. Or, hey, even if they don’t, it’s a fun mental picture.
2. BE IMPOLITE
Bear with me on this one: how many times have you taken on too much work, committed to a social event you have no interest in, or found yourself frazzled because you’ve been interrupted mid-flow by an unexpected phone call or question? And how many of those could’ve been avoided if you’d dropped the paranoia you’d had that someone would secretly hate you forever if you hadn’t helped them? Chances are, they won’t, any more than you’d secretly resent someone who was just too swamped to help you out. Self-love has to focus on self-care, too. As for the social events? Just be honest if it’s not your kind of thing. Life’s too short.
3. UNFOLLOW, UNSUBSCRIBE, UNFRIEND, BLOCK, DELETE
I’ve been a real stickler for this one, lately, and it’s genuinely improved my wellbeing. I’ve unfriended those people I never really liked from jobs I detested, unfollowed bloggers whose Instagram posts make me feel rubbish, unsubscribed from YouTubers who say damaging things, and deleted people whose reactions to what I choose to share fill me with anxiety. Social media is, for a lot of us, a daily thing; for some of us, it’s a job, too. With that much time spent around it, seeing content that makes you unhappy the whole time? It’s not worth it.
4. BE HONEST…
…with yourself. Are you going through a tough patch, or is there something going on with you that’s making you feel so much worse? I tend to keep a journal, or just try to write one or two lines in my planner about how I’m feeling every so often, because sometimes it’s hard to see a pattern in your day-to-day life. And yes, that can hurt your self-worth. This year, I was stuck in a job I hated, that cost me all my extra hours, gave me no free time, and made me question everything I’d thought I liked about myself…and it took me a while to see it. Now, in a job I like and feel good at? I’m mending, slowly.
5. GIVE BACK
6. SWITCH IT UP
I’m a pretty firm believer that we’ve all got that one ‘thing’ – the change in hair colour, the tattoo we’ve been wanting, the dating profile we’ve been meaning to make, the trip we’ve been planning but couldn’t quite find the time. Do it. Just go. You have just as much right as everyone else to occupy space, to do something for yourself. You might just like the change.
What about you? How are you going about loving yourself a little more for 2018 & beyond?