In my previous blog post, I discussed the importance of self-love as it relates to our fertility and overall health and happiness. Now for the fun part. As a Fertility Coach, I’m all about taking action in order to achieve inspiring goals. If your goal is to cultivate greater self-love, then you’ll definitely want to check out my top ten strategies below.
Top 10 Tried and True Self-Love Strategies
1) Daily affirmations
A couple months ago, I made myself an affirmations board. Every time I found an affirmation that inspired me, I wrote it on an index card and put it on a bulletin board. As part of my morning routine, I take five minutes to read each one. Some of my favorites include, “I love myself wholeheartedly and unconditionally,” “I accept the beauty within me as who I really am,” “Keep choosing joy,” and “I expand in abundance, success, and love, every day as I inspire those around me to do the same.” Throughout the day, whenever my mind begins to wander off to the land of negative thinking, I repeat one of these affirmations to myself and return to the positive attitude that I’m looking for.
This was a hard one for me at first, but now I can’t imagine my life without it. You’d be amazed at what a difference just ten minutes can make when it comes to quieting your inner demons. I aim for thirty minutes every morning, either in silence or with music, depending on what feels right at the time. Recently, I’ve started using mala beads and affirmations as well which I find especially useful when I’m feeling a bit frantic and overwhelmed. Meditation teaches you how to just be–with yourself, with your thoughts, with the inner peace that is yours for the taking with each mindful breath.
I’ve mentioned the importance of gratitude on this blog before, but there’s a reason why it keeps coming up. Practicing gratitude is an essential tool for increasing your self-love because it puts you in touch with those parts of yourself and your life that you’re most likely taking for granted. If you find yourself speaking negatively about your body, make a list of all the body parts that you’re grateful for. For example, I’m grateful for my eyes that see the world around me; I’m grateful for my brain that is constantly learning new things; I’m grateful for my legs for taking me where I need to go.” Try for at least ten and see how it changes your whole self-image.
4) Setting limits
Establishing boundaries and sticking to them is a huge piece of the self-love puzzle. It goes right along with saying “no” without the guilt. Have you ever found yourself giving away your best time to everyone else and not keeping any to yourself? Do you say “yes” to things you don’t actually like doing because you want people to like you? Do you allow people to take advantage of your kindness because you’re afraid of what would happen if you stood up for yourself? When you set limits, you make your expectations clear to yourself and others, which allows for a greater level of respect on both sides.
Self-care doesn’t mean taking bubble baths every night and going to the spa in the middle of the afternoon, although on some days it could. Self-care is really about making a commitment to treating yourself like a V.I.P. because, guess what, you are! Here are some examples of what self-care looks like for me: taking a few extra minutes to put on makeup in the morning, treating myself to high-quality non-toxic cosmetics, keeping my regular appointements at the salon, making time to go to my favorite classes at the gym, allowing myself to rest when I need it, eating foods that make me feel fantastic, accepting help and support when it’s offered . . . and the list goes on.
Need more inspiration? Check out this article with 45 simple self-care practices.
6) Smiling in the mirror
The next time you’re looking in the mirror, take a minute to notice the expression on your face. I always used to frown at myself, usually while meticulously inspecting my pores. Is it any wonder that I wasn’t generating positive feelings about my reflection? Little did I know that simply smiling at myself could completely change my mood. Every time you smile, your brain releases the feel-good neurotransmitters dopamine and seratonin as well as endorphins. Why reserve those good feelings for everyone else? You deserve them too!
7) Choosing foods wisely
Eating a diet bursting with whole, nutrient dense foods is another way to show yourself some love. Know what you’re putting in your body and become familiar with how different foods affect not only your fertility, but your general health overall. What’s your biggest food demon? Sugar? Potato chips? Chocolate-covered anything? If you know exactly what sugar is doing to your body, from decreased fertility to increased ageing to lower vitamin D levels, the candy bar suddenly loses its allure. Every time you choose the apple over the apple turnover, you’re telling yourself that you deserve to feel your best. Also, food and mood go hand in hand, and it’s a lot easier to love yourself when you’re feeling vital and strong, instead of cranky and bloated.
8) Love letters
Yes, you read that correctly. I write myself love letters. I’ve always been good at telling other people how great they are but never felt comfortable doing it for myself. It eventually dawned on me that I deserve my own kind words. How often do we wait around for someone else to notice the good that we’re doing when, in reality, nothing is stopping us from acknowledging it ourselves. “You’re making such amazing progress. I’m so proud of you. Good job following through with your commitments this week and getting everything done that you wanted to. I know that you’re capable of so much.” If you like reading words like those, take out your pen and paper and get writing!
I confess that even my self-love tank can get a bit low. That’s why having a trusted group of girlfriends is so important. Sometimes all it takes is one positive friend to remind you of what a wonderful woman you are. I’ll never forget one day last year when I was on my way to an event hosted by my university’s alumni association. I was still nervous about promoting myself as a Fertility Coach and knew that of the thirty attendees I would probably be one of two without an M.B.A. Just before entering, my friend Gemma sent me a WhatsApp message saying, “Don’t forget you’re intelligent, cultured and always have something interesting to say. Have a great time tonight!” That simple message gave me the little confidence boost I needed to introduce myself with my head held high.
10) Good old books
a reader. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the books listed below:
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein
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