Saying “thank you” to others is something you learn at an early age. But how often do you thank yourself?
Saying “thank you” to your body is one of the most important things you can do, especially when you’re pursuing a life of self-love and wellness. It’s not a habit that comes naturally because society is constantly telling us to change ourselves to fit a socially accepted standard.
I’ve committed my life to help change society's expectations and make self-love and body acceptance a mainstream concept.
Here are eight ways you can appreciate your body with simple rituals for self-love and wellness.
Meditation is a beautiful way to center yourself. When life is stressful or your mind is racing, you can always turn to meditation. It’s also accessible to everyone because you can do it anywhere. All you need to do is find a quiet, comfortable space, close your eyes, and simply breathe.
If you don’t know where to start, or you just prefer guided meditation, I would recommend downloading an app. There are lots of great ones out there! One of my favorites is called Insight Timer. It has 5- to 60-minute or longer meditations to help you relax and rebalance. When you dedicate yourself to easing your mind every day, you will reap the benefits of meditation as your own wellness advocate.
2. Mindful movement
Moving your body in a mindful way is much different than exercising or working out. This isn’t about forcing yourself to do something you hate. This is about tuning in to your body and asking yourself what you need. One of my favorite ways to move my body is walking outdoors with my dogs. I look at the sky, the flowers, the trees, and the beauty all around me. I become present and aware. I love the way my body feels.
Find a way to move that makes both your body and mind feel good. Maybe a hike or a yoga class is what you’re looking for? If you haven’t found your mindful movement of choice, keep looking. Because the best part about finding it, is that you get to choose something you enjoy!
3. A good read
When I first started exploring self-love, I really didn't know what it meant. I knew how to love someone else, but how the heck do I love myself? My personal self-love journey eventually began at a yoga class. As I walked into the studio, I turned to my left and saw a book that instantly sang to me. The title was, “The Mastery of Love” by Don Miguel Ruiz. I picked it up and purchased it right there. Little did I know my life would change forever.
Finding a book (or books!) that speak to you is an extremely important part to self-love and wellness for the mind. Go lose yourself in a bookstore. Walk through the self-love book aisle and see what chooses you.
3. Surround yourself with joy
Where do you spend most of your time? Is it your desk at work? Is it your car? When you look around your surroundings, do you feel a burst of joy? If not, the next step is to create an environment you absolutely love.
My favorite things to surround myself with are fresh flowers, positive messages, pictures of people I love, salt lamps, essential oils, and my favorite books. It’s an act of self-love when you are in a comfortable environment full of the things that bring you joy. When you can smile by just looking around, you’re practicing self-love!
4. Ask for help
Self-love is asking for help. When you’re having a hard time, you’ll be surprised that most people do want to be there for you. It may be hard to be vulnerable and ask for help, but one of the best ways to get through a tough time is getting the support you need.
It’s okay to not be okay. The point is, you don't have to go through it alone. Asking for the support you need is a gift that you get to give yourself.
5. Find your place of bliss
We should all have that one place we can go to and feel blissful. For example, when I need a pick-me-up or a place to rejuvenate my soul, I head to a coffee shop. Something about sitting down at a table, surrounded by the positive energy, working on my computer, and sipping on a latte fills my needs.
Think about where you love to go. Is it a walk along the beach? A hangout with friends? A workout class? An art class? Self-love is about filling up your own cup. When your cup is full, you can better serve others.
6. Slow down
We live in such a fast-paced environment. Give yourself permission to slow down, enjoy the special moments, and take care of yourself. Here are a few different ways to slow down in your daily life.
Eat slowly. Every time you eat, make it a point to sit down without distractions. Make sure you chew slowly and actually taste what you are eating. This simple practice is a game changer in how you feel in your body every day.
Breathe. During your day, take a couple minutes to just breathe. Take 10 deep breaths and check in with your body. Allow yourself to re-center and refocus before you move on with your daily tasks.
Rest. If you can tell that your body or your mind is overly exhausted, it’s important you allow yourself to give your body what it needs. Going to bed early without finishing the dishes is okay. Skipping your workout so you can get home early to veg out on the couch is okay. It’s okay to let your body rest. After all, it’s the vessel that carries us through every moment — it needs your attention and love. Resting in your own way will help you rejuvenate much faster and feel good in your body.
7. Mirror work
I’m sure you look in the mirror daily. This can be a very negative experience for many because of the unkind inner dialogue you hear. Don’t listen to those words. Instead, when you look in the mirror, look yourself in the eyes and say “I love you.” Do it, even if you feel silly!
Self-talk is proven to work. You can also put up a few notes on your mirror with positive, loving reminders. Waking up every day with a kind and loving message to yourself and your body will change the relationship you have with yourself in the most positive way.
Having a morning and nighttime routine that’s dedicated to gratitude is an amazing way to boost your self-love. And all you need is a journal to start.
When you wake up every morning and each night before you sleep, write down three things for which you’re grateful. It’s a beautiful way to honor yourself and your life. It’s a perfect time to say thank you to your body!
Remember, self-love is a multifaceted concept. Like any other relationship in your life, the one you have with yourself requires nurturing, patience, and kindness. There are many ways to practice self-love, and these are just a few. Explore different methods of caring for yourself, and find what makes you feel joyous and healthy — in your mind, body, and soul.
It can begin with a simple “thank you.”
Lauren McAulay is a body love healer, self-love advocate, and co-founder of The Body Love Society. She firmly believes that everyone should feel good in their own bodies and feel free around food. Keep up with her on Instagram.