10 Ways to Show Yourself Some Love, Because You Deserve It

We put a lot of energy into caring for others but struggle to do something special for ourselves or even accept a compliment.
Ladies, it’s time for a lesson in self-love.

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Spend time with others

Whether you spend an evening at a soup kitchen or become a Big Sister, volunteering has the unintended effect of improving how you feel about yourself. “When we have low self-esteem, we’re extremely focused on ourselves, like what we can or can’t do and how we look,” says Katya Sivak, a registered clinical counsellor with a private practice in Vancouver. “Doing something for others switches the focus. You feel that you’re being of service and contributing to the world.”

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Go For a Walk

Sometimes the simplest things make the greatest gifts. Give yourself some time – whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour – to walk through a favourite park or neighbourhood and just be with your thoughts. Leave your fitness tracker at home – it’s OK for some things to be about enjoyment, not goals.

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Change Your Posture

Sivak knows when clients are feeling low simply by their posture. The telltale sign? They slouch in their seats or let their heads hang.

To boost her client’s moods, she asks them to pose like Superwoman, standing with their chests raised and hands on their hips. “It changes how your body feels,” she says. “It changes how you feel about yourself.”

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Promote Positive Talk

We’ve all heard negative voices in our heads, but Jill Andrew, a body image advocate and co-founder of the Body Confidence Canada Awards, came up with a plan to quiet hers. It starts with a daily positive message: “I have a personal mantra: ‘I am a big, bright shining star and I’m going to shine forever,’” she says. “It sounds silly, but the importance of creating positive self-talk in a society where we’re encouraged to have a lot of negative talk is very important.”

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Buy Yourself a Gift

That cute pair of workout pants you’ve been eyeing? Buy them! And yes, you would like them gift-wrapped, thank you very much. After all, charity begins at home.

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Give Yourself a Massage

Regular massage is good for the skin and for the soul. Julie Clark, founder of the organic skincare brand Province Apothecary, treats herself to a nightly facial massage with a serum. It doesn’t just benefit the skin; it feels good, too. “It’s an act of kindness that can radiate through your body,” says Clark, “and people will notice that your skin looks brighter, healthier and more hydrated.”

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Clean Out Your Closet

Okay, cleaning may not seem like the most self-celebratory act, but Andrew takes a sort of Marie Kondo approach. Just as the Japanese organizing consultant and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up suggests that we purge items that don’t bring us joy, Andrew rids her home of things that bring her down. This includes those clothes we’re hoping to fit into again when we lose those last 10 pounds.

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Cook Something Special

“Experiment with a dish that you’ve been dreaming of creating, and do it for yourself,” says Andrew. “Don’t save it for a dinner party because then it’s for someone else.”

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Let It All Hang Out

Andrew says that one of the best – and most fun – ways to celebrate yourself and your body is to dance naked. “When you see your body move and find your own humour in dancing around naked, it really allows you to build a closer connection with who you are,” she says. Whether you do your own version of the Risky Business dance or bust a move in the shower, you’ll feel the joy of being in your body, not critiquing it.

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Turn Off Your Phone

Unplug from social media and you’ll love yourself for it. A 2016 study found that regularly looking at others’ selfies lowers self-esteem and life satisfaction.

Originally Published in Best Health Canada