We all know it that practicing self love is important to our mental health. Even if you find it a little cheesy or woo woo the science backs it up. (Don’t believe me check it out here!) And we all need some help with our mental health right now because the world is topsy turvy right now and that is hella scary.
I am a firm believer in the practicing self love. In that the relationship with myself is the one I need to work on and cultivate in order to be able to have positive, meaningful and impactful relationships with others. So much so that every month from May the first (the Celtic festival of love called Beltane) I dedicate the entire 7 weeks to self love practices. And what I have found over the years is that there are 3 layers to practicing self love.
- The surface level
- The heart level
- The deep soul level
The surface level is where we focus on the physical, using outer stimuli such as moving, healthy food, giving yourself a facepack, a spa day (when they open) or buying yourself some flowers. It can also be just getting things done we need to do. The surface level focuses on our senses, the practical tools and outer stimuli to feed our mind and body
The heart level is where we start to go a little deeper into our psyche. It is where you start to do self love directly on a heart level. Meditation, rest, affirmations, journaling. You are filling your heart with love for yourself, training your mind to be kind to yourself, to think positively about yourself, to love yourself internally.
The deep soul level is where the deeper healing and realisations happen. It is returning to the root of your self love issues, it is discovering and understanding yourself, your path in life, your life purpose, your shadow self, your life lessons. It is about acceptance, forgiveness and growth. It is deep soul love, which takes work and dedication. The root of the healing within self love practice. Importantly deep level self love practices are all about realisations to spur you into action and move you forwards in life.
No-one level is more important than the other; it is about what you need at the time. Where you are in life. And of course no-one says you only have to work on one level at once you can combine the 3 which does truly make for a powerful practice or you can switch it up depending on time in your life.
The key to self love practice is to be willing to dedicate the time to it EVEN if you don’t think you deserve it.
And for me that’s where the 3 layers come in because by looking at them I can assess what I need, which layer and block out the right amount of time to it accordingly. Self love does need time. But when you give yourself that time the practices enrich both your own life and others. Because when we show the world we are not afraid to love ourselves despite our flaws, in fact because of our flaws, it gives other people permission to do the same.
There is a lot of advice out there on Self love practices however in the current times they are not all available, especially if you are living in a shared space as most self love practice needs time out alone. However there are some great practices you can do at each and every level so here are some suggestions for you.
Surface Level Self Love Practices
Focus on your health:
When we do come out of lockdown we are going to need to be able to do the things we did before. And we are all moving less as we don’t have to walk or travel as much as before. So this is seriously important during lockdown. Moving your body, doing some exercise is an act of lockdown self love, or any self love for that matter. Yoga with Adriene does some great self love yoga practices for all levels of yogis check them out here
It might sound cliche but who doesn’t feel a little better after some pampering_ The world may have closed down but you can still feel amazing. A hair or face mask, extra moisturiser. A bubble bath with candles or a couples home massage night or even giving yourself a hand and foot massage for five minutes with some oil is a powerful act of self love. Stop yourself reaching for netflixs and go figure out how to make a homemade face mask or learn how to do a hand massage on youtube. (And yes you can fit in a 5 min hand massage when the kids have gone to bed or after a shower before vacating the bathroom)
Have a favourite night:
A little special self indulgence goes a long way. Have a night of your favourite food, drink, music, films, books or activity that you can do at home. This fun for a family because you can make it favourites friday and each friday one person shares their favourites with everyone else. A great self love practice and a fun way to discover more about the people you live with.
Heart level self love practices
Connecting with your heart often means you need to get past your negative self talk. Self love affirmations are an amazing tool for feeling better about yourself and shutting up negative Nancy. Affirmations help us to handle our negative feelings about ourselves. They help to and build self-confidence and self-esteem which is often what we need when we are working with heart level self love. Here are some of my favourite Self love affirmations for you to try
Meditation in general is a great tool But research has shown that when you focus regular meditation practice upon a specific theme then these emotions strengthen. So if you meditate upon love and kindness guess what you will be more loving and kinder! Of course its damn hard to sit down and say now I will meditate upon love and kindness. So here are some wonderful guided meditations to help you along the way. These are great to do first thing in the morning or last thing at night. So even if you have a lot of people around you in isolation you can let them know when your meditation time is and ask not to be interrupted (or get your partner to look after the kids).
Self love journaling:
Journal is a powerful tool to help talk to our unconscious. One of the best self love practices I have found is to celebrate my wins. AndI am really good at forgetting to do this but then again I am not alone. We all forget to celebrate the things we are good at and the things we love about ourselves. You can do this practice in two different ways. One is making a list of all the awesome things you love about yourself and then reading it every day. However I prefer to write down 3 things at the end of the day I am proud of myself for doing that day. This is pure positive self talk training my loves and if you do this as a daily practice it really does remind you how amazing you truly are. Another great tool is to write yourself a love letter and read it out loud to yourself when you need a reminder.
Deep level Self love practices
Create personal policies
This is a great tool as a practice of setting boundaries which is a huge tool in self love work. It basically makes you stop saying yes to things you hate or are not good for you. It helps boost your integrity and gets you to live a life in line with your integrity. An important ingredient that feeds self love. Your personal policies could be I won’t say yes to always studying with that friend that copies me. I won’t say yes to having my relations over every family birthday. Lockdown is a great time to do this as we are not surrounded by these things we feel obliged to do that take energy from us in an unhealthy way. So decide your personal policies and stick to them. (And if you are not sure how then try making a list of what gives you energy and what takes it away from you.)
Life blocks and patterns
While you have more time at home this is perfect for looking at the parts of your life you are unhappy with, the blocks you have and the recurring negative patterns you have in your life that are holding you back. This hibernation in the home time is the perfect time to go deep. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and I see reoccuring negative patterns adn blocks as the life lessons I need to learn in order to evolve. I made a whole post about listening to the lessons the universe is trying to tell you here which describes my whole process of doing this. Removing these blocks is an ultimate self love tool leading to you being able to bloom into your potential
A life of integrity
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing is at last sacred but the integrity of your own mind.”. And I agree. When we don’t keep to our truths and walk our talk it creates unbalance. We don’t respect ourselves. And if you don’t respect yourself then self love is out of the window. And don’t beat yourself up if you are not living a life of complete integrity. It is hard. However if lockdown isolation is giving you any kind of a gift it is the time to really look at your life. Discover where you are unhappy and rebalance that. Here is a post I made about how you can return to living a life of integrity. Aligning with you integrity is going to empower you and be a wonder act of deep self love.
There are of course many other self love practices. You can find some more of my favourites here!
So now I want to hear from you……
How are you practicing self love right now?
Let me know in the comments below
Remember you are uniquely beautiful and wonderful this week