Valentine's day is on the horizon and instead of feeding into this exclusive and ironically un-loving machine, let's focus on ourselves. The most important person to love, above everybody else, is you. The journey to self-love is a distressing life-time relationship. Be warned, you will break up with yourself over and over again. However, there are small efforts on your part that can banish the demon on your shoulder. To begin with start genuinely liking yourself, the love will soon follow.
1) Begin your day by setting morning intentions. Compile a small list of what you want to achieve that morning and actually achieve them. Avoid the chance of guilt and make sure your list is realistic. For example, my morning intention for today was to have a proper breakfast and take the slightly longer walk to the station. Remember, the emphasis isn't on what you do but how it makes you feel.
2) Charity is an under-subscribed activity in our society. Charity begins within, so in theory we are all completely capable. Charity could be seen as small pockets of opportunity rather than grand-scale plans, we don't all have to be Mother Teresa. Charity can begin by just being more conscious of others around you; helping someone cross the street, giving that pound to the musicians on the underground, buying a big issue. The true meaning of charity is looking out for others; who wants to be the person who turns a blind eye?
3) Exercise is incredibly important for our mental health. It is a common misconception that exercise is for the body when it is equally as important for our mental wellbeing. Exercise gives us a natural high and can re-alter our entire mood.
4) Pampering ourselves can be a luxurious treat and a monthly treatment is the perfect dosage for adding a moment of calm to your month. Oils are great for tapping into a meditative state and enhancing tranquillity. Bergamot oil works on self-love and self-acceptance. Clove oil establishes healing boundaries whilst Cypress oil clears emotions. Geranium is the oil of feminine and motherly love. Sandalwood is applied for meditation and spiritual practice.
5) Us British are extremely good at dwelling on the negative; our bad weather, our capital that is bursting at its seams or the daily grind but if you wanted to behave like an old woman, then you may as well start dressing like one too. Replace frowning like an old biddy with laughter. Things get you down, that's life, but if you can find humour in all situations, however obscure the humour is, you will be laughing every day. Throw yourself into and embrace your laugh. After all, it is infectious and you are sharing those positive vibes.
6) Something else I have noticed about us Brits is that we cannot take a compliment. We are all full of 'Oh god no, you must be mad, is he talking to me?' The next time someone compliments you just smile and thank them, they wouldn't have said it if they didn't mean it. If it is a lie then there is no way of you ever knowing and shame on your for harbouring such negativity!
7) Music is an incredible motivator and healer. A song can alter our mood in the first few beats. Play your power song and let it soak in. If someone is blaring their song on the tube, let them, maybe they are having their power moment!
8) February fashions flowers more frequently than any other time of the year. In the labyrinth that is London's tube, February is in full bloom. This miscommunication lies in that there doesn't need to be an occasion. Flowers instantly make someone feel special and loved. So whether they are from the garage or not, pick up a bunch and give them to someone in your life. My friends and family have never complained about my garage flowers! It is less about the flowers themselves but the thought. Next time you see someone receive flowers, see how initially they hardly look at them because they are overcome with shock! All about the thought. Or shock yourself by buying a bunch just for you.
9) Call me narcissistic but I think writing yourself a love letter is worthwhile. The purpose is to remind yourself of your assets and why you are so loved. Framing it is compulsory. Writing it down on a scrap bit of paper will result it going in the bin. Framing it is almost an act of self-declaring; you are embracing a re-defined you. It will have a ripple effect and encourage your friends or family to do the same. Making others feel good goes full circle and feeds its way back to you.
10) Travel is the best medicine for the soul and I am its biggest advocate. Travelling feeds your soul like no other and expands your mind in ways you couldn't have previously imagined. If time is not on your hands and you can only escape for a few days every few months, it is a whole lot better than no exploring at all. Travelling leaves you feeling culturally fed and spiritually spoilt. Getting out of your comfort zone is vital to your growth as a person and it is guaranteed that travelling will change you, and only for the better.