Why we all need to practice self love exercises. It struck me when we were packing up to leave the house and travel the world for a year that not only did I feel physically exhausted, I also felt mentally drained beyond belief. It was as though there was a treadmill set to maximum speed in the front of my brain. Airbnb is great.
I would wake up in the morning, and the first thing I thought about was where I needed to be, who I needed to be there for and how much time did I have to make it all happen. It was only when the packing of the house to rent was over that it occurred to me that although I had given everything I had to make the transition as smooth as possible, the only thing I had given myself over the past few months was neglect. It wasn’t until I stopped to read a post by one of my favourite bloggers that I remembered the necessity of the self love exercise.
How to Spot When It’s Time for Some Self Love Exercises.
Self-love. I don’t want to sound all woo and freak you out. Its something that we practice for others on a regular basis yet when applied to ourselves we start to get uncomfortable and try to make a joke out of it.
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If you are anything like the rest of us, you will dish self-neglect out to yourself on a regular basis. And usually, it goes unnoticed. Swept under the rug that you’ve just vacuumed or down into the waste disposal with the vegetable lasagne that you’ve just made (and that the kids didn’t eat).
But be warned. Ignore self-love for too long and you will start to hear a little voice. It will whisper: What about you? Who’s asking if you’re alright? Who’s setting your timetable for the day? Who’s asking if you want belly pork or salmon for dinner? Who’s taking you out for a walk? Who’s making sure you’ve had enough fibre? Who’s arranging a riding lesson for you so that you feel as though you’ve had enough fresh air?
And as tempting as it may be to stamp your feet up and down and demand that someone make you a cup of tea, this will only give you relief for a short period. Ultimately, the only person that can apply the necessary self-love exercise is you. Remember you? She’s the one that’s standing right there but who you tend to ignore. She’s your best friend. She will never leave your side. Stop neglecting you.
When You See The Lack of Self Love in Someone Else.
I was having a chat with someone I know last week. This person is a sixty-three-year-old, stunning woman. She was brimming with enthusiasm for her new idea that she is longing to pursue. I could feel the energy and success cascading from her as she told me about her plans. But she said she wasn’t going to be on putting them into action anytime soon because it would affect her family. And her husband said she was a little too long in the tooth for starting new ventures.So, she’s not going to bother.
I wanted to hold a mirror up to this lovely lady’s face. Show her what I could see. Tell her to put herself a little closer to the front of the line. To start practising a smidgen of self-love. But I didn’t. Because it has to come from her. People can nudge you in the right direction but ultimately, it’s down to you.
It’s Easy To Neglect Yourself When You Are Planning a Trip Away
It’s so easy to get lost in all the preparation that comes with planning a world trip. You have to be the mum. You have to be the teacher. You must be the cleaner the baker, the candlestick maker. It’s too easy to put everyone else first. To make sure you book a particular place because that’s where the kids will want to go. Only go for a few days to that city as it might not be what the rest of the family were hoping for. And even though you love meditation and the idea of spending a week being silent (is that even possible with two teenagers?) and wandering around Buddhist temples, you push it to the back of the list and look instead at what theme parks there are in the vicinity.
We often use our families as an excuse to push our dreams to one side, but in reality, they are not the hindrance, we are. We seem to be able to make everyone else’s wishes come true but drop the magic wand when it comes to our own fairytale.
By Neglecting Yourself You Will Find That:
- There is only so long that you can keep pushing your own needs to one side.
- Trying to accommodate others needs continuously results in them either being spoilt brats or unable to think for themselves. Leaving you feeling cheated and wondering why you bothered.
- Whoever said that you have to get to the back of the queue? Who made that stupid rule?
- You will eventually start to feel resentful and might run away with the milkman
- You only have one shot at life. If you spend it continually putting yourself last, you will grow old and wonder why on earth you didn’t give yourself the recognition you deserved.
- What example are you setting to your sons or daughters if you always put yourself last? Be a positive example.
- Nobody will ever thank you anyway. They will just start to expect more.
- You imagine that by putting yourself first, you are selfish. But no. You are not.
7 Self-love exercises That You Need To Practice Right Now.
I have practised every one of the following exercises so I know that they work. If you can’t do all of them pick one that will work for you. Keep at it for a minimum of thirty days. It has been proven that if you stick at something for a month, the habit will stick.
1: Set the alarm clock for twenty minutes earlier than you would usually get up. Make yourself a cup of your favourite drink and sit and do something you love. Mine is writing. I am happy if I can spend some time in the morning before I begin my day and the rest of the family are awake writing my ‘morning pages’. It’s three pages of just mind dump, but I love it.
2: If you have young children at home establish a fifteen-minute routine where you can escape and either read, write. Listen to music or meditate. It might be when they go for their nap or when they are watching their favourite tv programme. Don’t use this time to check emails or social media. Do something that you love. Walk around the garden and look at the plants. Sit and stroke the cat. Give yourself a manicure.
3: Once 5oclock hits you never seem to stop. There’s the dinner, the homework, the washing up, the listening, the sympathising. The advising. It’s usually not until you flake out on the sofa at around 10 pm that you finally take a deep breath. Again. 20 minutes. That’s all you are going to need. If your house is as chaotic as mine and you feel as though you would have to go to the moon to get away from the constant needing of your attention, do what I do. Grab the dog and walk. Do not take your phone with you. If they need you, they will have to wait. If you don’t have a dog or you hate walking, get in the car, drive to the end of the road and sit. Again. Don’t take your phone. A book, yes. A magazine. Yes. The phone, no.
Watch what happens when you get home. The kids won’t even have noticed that you were gone. But you will feel a zillion times better for having that moment.
4: Pour yourself a glass of wine and go into the garden fifteen minutes before dinner is due. Find a spot. Anywhere that you think is beautiful. Your garden shed your rose garden, on your front wall. If it’s raining, sit in your bedroom.
5: We homeschool so finding time for myself has been a considerable obstacle. Three years ago I established a routine that has stood by me and has saved my sanity. Both my kids play instruments so everytime they practised (which in our case was 9 am until 9.30) I would put a ‘do not disturb’ sign outside my bedroom door, and I would go and meditate for half an hour. They know NEVER to disturb me. I can’t quite remember what I initially threatened them with if they did, I think I probably told them that I was in there floating up to the ceiling and the fear of ever witnessing such a disturbing sight was enough to keep them away from the door for thirty minutes. Whatever you choose to do, or however you choose to police it, if you have kids at home like me, do it now. Establish the routine, and within two weeks they will know that that is what you do.
6: Make a date with yourself. Not with your husband and not with your kids. Yes, I know its important to have date nights so that you can keep the relationship alive, and yes, we all know how beneficial it is to eat meals with the kids and listen wholeheartedly to every single solitary word that they say (all the while your dinner is going cold) But. This is a date for you. Just you. Look at it as though you have a dentist appointment. Or you are picking up an aunt from the airport. Any of those arrangements that you would never think of cancelling. Write it on your calendar. Coffee with M. Arrange for someone to have the kids. Tell your boss that you have somewhere you have to be. Then take yourself off to your favourite café, get a table in the corner where you will be able to people watch and sit and enjoy your drink, or, if you’re feeling plush, lunch. All by yourself. Take your time to appreciate what it is you are having. DON’T get your phone out. You will let me down if you do. Take a magazine or a book or some note paper. Sit with yourself and write down all the things you are good at and that you love about yourself.
7: The smallest things that you do for yourself will make the biggest of difference. That magazine that you love – the one you only ever get the chance to read when you’re sitting in the doctors waiting room. Treat yourself to it. Imagine that it’s your daughter or your son that wants it. Buy it and take all month to read it. The hand cream that your friend uses. The one that always smells so delicious. Order yourself some. Pretend that you are buying it for your daughters birthday. Take your time rubbing it into your hands – remember how special you are. Spend the extra bit of money on a nice bottle of wine or the more expensive tea. When you are sipping it tonight, you will remember how special you are.
8: Find a little time to work out. I dont know what floats your boat, mine is a walk on the beach with my dog Maggie or a bike ride (a gentle one!) I go with Brian but to be honest prefer it when I go ahead of him and ride alone. For the past month or so we have started a morning workout routine and I LOVE it. Not for the health part in particular but because it means I have some time on my own! We made a VLOG of it, take a look!
It is so important that we do these things, that we look after ourselves as we would others. That sometimes, we put ourselves first. I’m not saying everyone else can take a hike. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I just want you to remember that you count too. You are the one that makes it all happen. You are the one that everyone relies upon. It is you that makes the impossible seem possible. So start treating yourself with the same self-love and priority that you lavish upon everyone else.
For years I have longed to see India. I have been fascinated with the place. The colours, the smells, the craziness of the cities. The culture, the trains, the food. The poverty, the extravagance.
I have never been.
No other member of my family has ever wanted to go. Too dirty, too poor, too far, too cheap. Always an excuse to go somewhere else.
This year I will be spending my 47th birthday in India. Brian and I decided that although both of our teenagers would be wailing and whining about visiting this fascinating country, this time, we would be listening to the wishes of someone else in the family. She’s only had to wait thirty years, but now it’s her turn.
What will you do for yourself today?
I have recommended this book before but I needed to remind you again.That’s how much I love it. If this post struck a chord with you, read this book. It is something of a life changer – especially if you suffer from putting yourself last.