Valentine’s Day is THE day to celebrate love, right? But does it have to be romantic love that we celebrate? And no, I’m not about to extol the virtues of Galentine’s Day, though I do LOVE that whole thang, I’m talking about the love that isn’t external, the love that doesn’t need declaring, the love that is, arguably, the most important and that, my friends, is the love of thine own self.

Everyone is talking about self-love these days and honestly using the words “self-love” is kinda icky. It seems to imply a certain selfishness, a pandering to one’s own needs and an “I love myself (in the egotistical sense)” vibe.

Looking beyond the semantics and social constructs of what love is i.e. something always directed externally, I put it to you, that self-love is simply showing yourself the same love, respect and care you show others.

It’s acknowledging your own desires, needs and wants and honouring those. It’s being clear on your non-negotiables. It’s standing your ground, kindly but firmly. It’s laying down, and maintaining, boundaries. It’s saying “no” and not caving in moments later. It’s doing what makes you happy, free of guilt.  It’s putting your oxygen mask on first. It’s being kind to yourself and not listening to that harsh inner voice (she can be a right B-I-T-C-H).

It’s also putting off the ironing to wash your hair. It’s skipping TV for a long soak in the bath, candles and all. It’s taking the time to make a meal for yourself rather than sticking some bread in the toaster. It’s going for that long walk and getting some fresh air when your inbox is full and incessantly calling you. It’s all of these things and more. My point is, whatever form it takes, it’s kinda important, this self-love (rolls eyes) thing.

So now I’ve made myself out to be some kind of self-love expert (trust me, I’m not), you’ll be wondering how I practise self-love (yes, self-love is to be “practised”, trust me it takes time and no, I’m not an expert).

The truth is I’m better now than I’ve ever been at honouring the things that make me happy and pushing back on the things that don’t which, to me, is so key to self-love. However there is always work to be done. We are, after all, all journey(wo)men, and for all my fan-girl feelings towards self-love, I find it downright difficult making time for myself. There are always a million other things vying for my time and attention and hell, I just don’t give myself the love and attention I damn well deserve. So I’m working on it by creating space in my day for little rituals that let me take a step back and just breathe. Insight Timer is great for micro-meditations that can be easily slotted into your schedule. Their selection of music is fantastic too. I’ll often lay down, close my eyes and listen to some soothing music and a 10 minute stint is as good, if not better, than a power nap for reinvigorating me. I’ve also recently discovered jade rollers and gua sha and find it such a great way to start my day. Podcasts are great too at keeping me company during mundane tasks that just need to be done. My Sahara Rose Oracle Deck (my first and fricking beautiful they are too) also really helps me to connect with myself and take a time out. There’s more but it’s far more fun discovering your own self-love rituals, so what are you waiting for?

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