There’s little time left over on hectic days: You’re stretched thin tying your kid’s shoelaces, remembering to bring in treats for your co-worker’s birthday, and volunteering to join another committee. But if it’s been awhile since you did something nice for yourself, it’s time to prioritize some self-love!
Self-love influences everything from who you date, to how you are perceived at work, to how well you cope when the kids test your limits at home. It’s beneficial to your mental health, so there’s no need to feel guilty about taking some time for yourself. Plan to give some time, attention, and affection to the most important person in your life. Indulge in some serious self-care and get to know yourself even better. Here are nine creative ideas for how to get started.
1. Hit the road alone
Solo travel is trendy right now for a good reason. The benefits of solo travel are huge! Not only do you get to do exactly what you want to do without negotiating with a travel buddy (sweet freedom!), but you can also take the trip at your own pace. A solo trip may be just what you need to get outside of your comfort zone. It also gives you space to explore the world and yourself. You never know what you might discover. Whether you can manage one night away or three months abroad by yourself, it’s sure to be an amazing adventure.
2. Candlelit dinner for 1
Pull out the nice dishes and your favorite candles — it’s time to go all out. And it’s just for you. Whether you go out or stay home, revel in your favorite foods and savor each bite. There’s no need to rush. It’s all about you, which means no screens or distractions. Instead, try to reconnect with yourself and stay in the moment.
3. Silent retreat
If being alone with yourself is terrifying, or if you can’t stop talking about how hard it would be to not talk, a silent retreat might be for you. Most retreats guide you through meditation and other exercises to sort through the chaos in your mind. There’s no pressure to perform or make friends — this retreat is all about decluttering your mind.
If a guided retreat isn’t in the cards, you can do your own. Go camping overnight somewhere without cell service, or turn off all of your devices for a silent staycation. No matter what you do, bring a journal and get ready to spend some serious time looking inward.
4. Digital detox
Dislike! Studies show your Facebook and Instagram scrolling is actually depressing you. It’s all too common to compare ourselves to the filter-perfect pictures we see. We spend almost 11 hours a day staring at a screen, and it’s not making us any happier.
It’s time to step away and spend some time IRL (in real life). Try going from sunrise to sundown without looking at a single screen. Turn your phone off and put it in a drawer. Hide the remote. Instead of mindlessly scrolling or bingeing on Stranger Things, try out the following:
- read a book
- clean out your closet
- leisurely sip a fancy coffee
- get outside
- spend some tech-free time with friends
You’ll be surprised how refreshed and relaxed you’ll feel at the end of the day. Even better, set aside an hour or two of screen-free time every night before bed. You’ll sleep better and finally have some time for yourself.
The best way to get to know yourself is to get inside your mind. Contrary to popular belief, meditation is not about silencing your thoughts, but rather learning to sift through them and rise above the noise. Meditation can help you gain a new perspective, manage stress, and even improve your mood. A simple mindfulness practice can help to reduce inflammation and improve some conditions like high blood pressure and chronic pain. There are plenty of great apps to help you get started.
6. Go wild
You don’t have to set out to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail on your own like Cheryl Strayed. A short hike, an overnight camping trip, or a full-blown backpacking adventure can get you into the world and experiencing new adventures. Try to go it alone to get the most out of your trek into the outdoors.
7. Embrace fear
It might freak you out a little at first, but try to be brave and do something that’s physically challenging or outside your comfort zone. Some options include:
- take the exercise class that intimidates you
- learn how to trapeze
- zip line
- play at open mic night
- embrace the stage at the local karaoke joint
It doesn’t matter what you do, just that you push yourself. Not only will you have a powerful memory, you’ll also realize that you are capable of so much more than you think!
8. Live your favorite day
What does the perfect day look like for you? From waking up to the last thing you do before bed, pamper yourself with a full day of all of your favorite things. Go all out on the foods you love, the movie that makes your heart full, and the hobbies that make you downright gleeful. Today is your day. As Donna and Tom would say, “treat yo’self!”
9. Make time for pleasure
You don’t need a partner to benefit from pleasure. Masturbation can help build self-esteem, make it easier to fall asleep, and boost your sex life. Getting to know your body and what you like can make sex with a partner even more enjoyable.
Just like every other kind of love, self-love has to be nurtured. You take care of others all the time, so you shouldn’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself every once in a while. If none of the above ideas interest you, at least try to soak in a relaxing tub, get a massage, or take a yoga class. Buy yourself your favorite bouquet of flowers or dessert. You deserve it!