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  • Writer's pictureSara Marsden-Shreeve

Forget Valentines, Give Yourself Some Love!

Ok ladies so here’s the thing, how many times have you found yourself feeling a little peeved and probably a little undervalued come February 14th?

Valentines day can make us feel excited, disappointed, loved up or lonely because of all the retail focus on the giving of hearts and flowers, or indeed the lack of it depending on how your other half values the whole being romantic thing. I’ve been married nearly twenty years and I just get a card now; the flowers went years ago. Apparently, it’s because they die or I’ll think he’s done something wrong. Who says romance is dead!! Bless!

The Gift of Flowers, Forget Valentines, Love Yourself. The Image Tree Blog
Are they from someone's garden?

Well, I’m here to remind you ladies that you shouldn’t have to rely on others to bring you love when you can give it to yourself and as often as you like.

It’s so important to top up the self-love as often as you can so that you feel grounded and firing on all cylinders emotionally and spiritually.

You cannot give from an empty cup as they say and with all the additional hurdles we currently must contend with, it’s even more important to make sure that YOU give yourself extra love and extra care.

For anyone that’s not sure what self-love is then I can share… It’s about accepting and loving yourself both inside and out and accepting all the things that make us who we are so that we can attend to our needs. No one’s perfect and that’s how humanity works… being unique. Everyone is valuable and worthy and if we see that in others then we should recognize it in ourselves too.

It is not narcissism nor is it selfishness or indulgence.

As for self-care, well it isn’t just about getting your nails done, though that’s a perk. It’s more about taking care of yourself and actioning ways to stay fit and maintain good physical and mental health.

I for one intend to tweak a few things because if this past year has taught me anything... it’s that I am resilient, I am capable, and I am grateful for the small stuff (which is usually the big stuff).

Heart Hands, Forget Valentines, Love Yourself, The Image Tree Blog
Time To Put Yourself In Perspective

Giving yourself time to reflect, breathe and just be in the moment is a powerful thing and if we can squeeze some more of that into the months ahead then we will feel more like fricken goddesses and less like disheveled dogs’ bodies.

So, if I may, I would like to share with you the top 5 things I will be doing to give myself a sprinkling of glitter and a warm hug so that I can enjoy some love even if I don’t get diddly squat from the rest of the family when I need it most. Valentines or no Valentines, you’ve got you!

Let’s do this….

#1 Wear the love.

I’m inviting you to wear your best stuff. Wear that sexy dress, those glamorous shoes, or sentimental jewels. No, I haven’t lost my marbles, I want you to understand that just because you might not be out living it large does not mean you can’t do it inside and for your own satisfaction.

Favourite Blouse, Forget Valentines, Love Yourself, the image tree blog
Feel Better, Wear Your Happy

Dress up and bathe in that warm fuzzy glow of ‘gorgeous’, I guarantee you will feel the million dollars you deserve.

Clothes can help boost your mindset, and colour and pattern can lift your mood, so wear your happy and ditch the pj’s for at least one day in the week. There is a thing called Enclothed Cognition you know and I for one practice clothing therapy and do bang on about it often. See here.

It's also fitting for me, since we’re talking about love, because I am obsessed with hearts. I have them scattered around the house in one form or another and I’m drawn to any fabric or jewellery that dons them. I even sell them in my Style Additions here

Maybe you have something you love or are always drawn to… sequins, a certain colour, stripey tights or fluffy jumpers? Whatever it is wear them and enjoy them.

Sexy underwear, Forget Valentines Give Yourself Some Love
Don't Save Your Best For Special Occasions

Better still, if you have some really nice undies then get them on. You shouldn’t have to wait til Valentines to feel sexy or attention grabbing. A good bra and pants are like under armour for us gals because they give us confidence as well as providing shape and support.

#2 Speak the Love.

No, I’m not talking about making you or your partner hang out the bedroom window and shout out verses from Romeo and Juliet at each other, instead I’m thinking more of the internal dialogue we have with ourselves.

Maybe tweaking the usual pattern of sighing in the mirror or listening to the bitchy voice in your head banging on about weight, thigh gaps and eye bags. It couldn’t hurt to smile once in a while through the misted glass or tell the voice to do one.

Cleaning a mirror, Forget Valentines Give Yourself Some Love, The image tree blog
Even When You're Cleaning The Mirror ;)

Tittering aside here.... Permission is granted to give yourself a break and realise that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have at this very moment in time. Yes, the hairdresser will be back, yes you will be able to enjoy a meal out, have a facial or get your eyebrows back under control soon. The end is nigh.

However, if you feel that you are starting to go down that self-berating path, then pause, take a breath, and give yourself time to put things into context and challenge that inner critic. Be kinder with yourself and with your words. If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.

Plus, if you’re struggling to speak words of support or can’t see the good stuff before you, then check out the affirmations blog post. Consistency is key with these and doing them properly helps. Check out the post here.

Trying to focus on the positives and give them gratitude, no matter how small, does help ease your inner critic and after all you have breath in your chest so learn to be present in the moment.

#3 The Food of Love

As a body positive advocate, it’s so important for me to also ask you to be more accepting of yourself, just as you are and even more so whilst we’re still stuck indoors. I want you to savor the taste of good food, guilt free, without punishing yourself about what you’re eating because that piece of chocolate you really want to eat but are trying so desperately to resist is not “naughty”, it’s fuel. Oh and it has chemicals in it that stimulates all kinds of loved up feelings.. Google it.

chocolate truffles, Forget Valentines, Give Yourself Some Love, the image tree blog
Chocolate contains love drugs

Just remember, if you did work in a chocolate factory you wouldn’t eat chocolate all day every day… I don’t care what you say. Your mind and body wouldn’t let you. It’d be hankering for a vegetable I can assure you. We forget to trust our bodies sometimes and pick up eating habits that are more to do with emotion than actual hunger.

Worrying about ‘being thinner’ or ‘not sticking to diets’ crops up a lot, especially as we’re not being as active and we’re feeling bored or miserable and when this happens, we then berate ourselves and/or promise to pound the pavement or start the diet tomorrow to rectify our so-called flaws and bad eating behavior.

Don’t be so hard on yourselves, exercise shouldn’t be a punishment for something you ate, and you shouldn’t punish your body’s mechanics by restricting your diet to a bare minimum.

Self Love, Forget Valentines, Give Yourself Some Love, the image tree blog
Embrace The Skin You're In Today

It’s healthy to want to develop yourself further in some way, but the end result you seek does not happen instantly because you have to learn first, so I find it useful to add the word ‘yet’ onto most abrupt negative thoughts that I feel brewing.

It helps because it doesn’t feel so absolute or detrimental. For example, “Argh, I’m not very fit” becomes, “I’m not very fit…yet!” or to put this notion into my favourite context, “I haven’t met Tom Hardy”! becomes “I haven’t met Tom Hardy. yet”! There’s still time to make things happen girlfriend!

So, eat and enjoy those Thornton choccies and sip that glass of bubbles you’ve received, or bought your fricken self, with a smile because you are indeed worth it. Better still get someone to cook you dinner and do the washing up. Now that’s my kinda love gesture right there.

#4 Feel the Love.

Being mindful of things in this busy and distracting life can be hard but I welcome you to take the time to use your senses. Whether that’s the touchy feely kind or the waft of an essential oil or scented candle kind.

Downtime, Forget Valentines, Give Yourself Some Love, the image tree blog
Do What Makes You Happy Alone

However, ‘me time’ looks to you it is still an important factor in the whole arena of self-care, and it doesn’t matter what it is that makes you happy. It could be quiet time with a book, a nanny nap, slapping on that face mask you bought, playing good music, or watching your favourite chick flick.

By doing the things we love, we give ourselves time for self-reflection and contentment, which also validates our sense of worth and personality. Even reminiscing with loved ones about good times and funny events kindles the warm fuzzy feelings that connects us and makes us feel connected and cared for.

Touch is an essential component of being a happy human and the actual act of a hug releases serotonin, a neurotransmitter known as the "feel good" hormone which helps us feel happy, calm, and confident. so, if there’s no one around to oblige, then do what I do and give yourself a cuddle.

Hand on your heart, Forget Valentines, Give yourself some love, the image tree blog
Feel The Love - Ho'oponopono style - Look it up!

If that sounds too weird, then just place your hand on your heart and literally feel the love beating in your chest and say something nice to yourself.

Oh and don't forget your pets, if you have them, as they are great to cuddle and usually very welcoming. Though my son's hamster, Waffle Bob, is not always grateful and I guess a goldfish wouldn't be either.

Seriously though, if you want to feel truly at one with yourself, you could write a love letter to yourself. Hear me out… You don’t need to write a sonnet. All you need do is identify your most valued qualities; pick say 5 that you like most about yourself. Then list five ways in which these attributes have helped you in life and lastly, think about 5 ways in which you could honour those qualities in some way. Nice eh?

Try it!

#5 Share the Love.

Raise your hand if you ‘do’ most of the home stuff. I’m guessing you're one of the many that work and then sort the washing, ironing, cleaning up, cooking the meals as well.

I think we should ask for more help. If we're happier , then so is everyone else and there's more time to spend with others or being in your own company. Win Win.

Hugging rocks, Forget Valentines, Give yourself some love, the image tree blog
Hugs Galore

We can also share the love too by giving our household a good squeeze and expressing our love and thanks without reason, even though we're probably sick of the sight of them at times. Spontaneous compliments are the best kind.

Compliments are the gifts that keep on giving and totally make someone’s day, even if it’s telling a stranger they’re wearing a gorgeous coat. Think about all of those you’ve had in the past and how they made you feel. Talk about lifting your spirits. Plus, they’re even better if they’ve come from someone you adore, admire or deem a bit of a hotty (they count as double).

All of this is not rocket science, granted, but it does warrant a thought when you’re mooching around in your unwashed pjs for the 3rd day in a row, sitting in zoom meetings with only your top half dressed or losing the will to live with homeschooling. After all, this year is still a challenging one and puts many things into perspective. You, being one of them, I hope. So make the time.

Thanks for reading. Sara x

Are you mind, body and wardrobe happy?, The Image Tree Derby
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