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Feb 14, 2018 OHIOHEALTH
The Gift of Self-Care: How to Be Your Own Best Valentine

Valentine’s Day is all about love. Traditionally, it’s a time to show the special people in our lives how much we care. But most of us forget to show some love to one very important person — ourselves!

Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day

Self-care is an art form. It requires you to take notice of what you really need or crave in that specific moment. What nourishes you one minute may deplete you the next. That’s why the first step to truly taking care of yourself is simply to listen — to your body, to your mind and to your spirit.

Ideas for Self-Care

You deserve to treat yourself well. And it doesn’t just benefit you. It helps you be the best version of yourself, which — of course — is a gift to everyone around you. So, start on Valentine’s Day and then continue the whole year through. Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Catch Some Extra ZZZs

Go to bed early, sleep in late or take a nap. Being well-rested gives you a boost in every possible way — clear mind, more energy and better mood.

2. Eat Something Wonderful

Give your mind and body a burst of energy with nourishing food. Or if you’re someone who typically eats healthfully, maybe you’d like a little treat?

3. Be Responsible for No One and No Thing

If you’re a mom, this one may sound like a fairytale. But can you imagine anything sweeter than having even an hour of NO responsibilities? No guilt. No worries. Find a time when the kids are taken care of and let yourself off the hook. No housework, no errands, order dinner out … whatever it takes.

4. Check Off a “Nagging Item” from Your To-Do List

As great as it can feel to do nothing, sometimes it can feel just as great to be productive. If you’ve had something hanging over your head, finally getting it done can feel like a huge relief.

5. Unplug

Always being “connected” is exhausting. Take an hour, or more, away from your phone, TV and computer. You may be surprised at what you notice when your attention isn’t being drawn away from what’s around you.

6. Binge

Again, self-care is a highly personalized thing. While “unplugging” can feel great, sometimes binging on a favorite TV show, watching ridiculous YouTube videos or getting lost in the world of Pinterest is just the escape you need.

7. Listen to Your Favorite Music

The great thing about music is that you can listen to it pretty much anywhere. Blast it in your car. Pop on some headphones while the kids are sleeping. Play it while you’re cooking. It can be upbeat or relaxing. Just choose what your body is craving.

8. Spend Time with a Friend

Not all self-care has to be done alone. Humans are social beings. We need to connect with people and feel like we belong. Spending time with someone you enjoy is invigorating.

9. Buy Yourself a Gift

When it comes to gifts, we always hear, “It’s the thought that counts.” But sometimes it’s the GIFT that counts! Don’t wait around for someone else to do it; treat yourself. Buy the flowers. Schedule the massage. Pick up that beautiful bracelet you’ve been eyeing. I’m not recommending “shopping therapy,” but a little treat once in a while can really brighten your day.

10. Glam It Up (or Down)

Wear an outfit that makes you feel great. Fix up your hair. Get a little fancy with your makeup. Whatever makes you feel beautiful. Just make sure you’re doing it for you! Or, if your job demands a professional look all week, do just the opposite: spend the whole day in your jammies!

11. Do an At-Home Spa Treatment

You don’t have to shell out big bucks to feel pampered. Take a long, hot bath or shower. Spend a little extra time putting on lotion. Paint your nails. You’ll look great and feel even better.

12. Cuddle with Fido

Spending time with pets is a proven stress reducer. So, get comfy and snuggle up with your best bud.

13. Grow Your Gratitude

Gratitude is an interesting thing. The more you notice it, the more you feel it. Take some time to think about all the ways you’re blessed. Maybe write them down so you have something to look back on during the times you forget just how lucky you are.

14. Get Spiritual

There’s more to life than meets the eye. Do something that nourishes your soul. Read a spiritual book. Pray. Meditate. Attend a religious service, or convene with nature — whatever helps you feel connected with something bigger than yourself.

15. Do What You Love

This one’s pretty obvious, but a little reminder never hurts. What makes you happy? Do you love to read? Work out? Bake? Whatever it is that makes you feel your best, do it!

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