Ayushi Khandelwal ·

by Shanice Miranda, Cora Health. 

What is Self-Love? 

When it comes to self-love there is one main thing it boils down to – Self Acceptance. With the advent of social media, we are exposed to unrealistic standards of beauty and lifestyles that can make us feel inadequate. In particular, women are constantly placed under a magnifying glass for the world to pick apart. Sometimes, it seems like you are damned if you do and you are damned if you don't. Why must we propagate this toxic cycle against anyone, much less ourselves? This is exactly why self-love practices are so important for everyone, especially women. Self-love is the appreciation of all your good qualities while acknowledging where you fall short. It is valuing your worth enough to prioritize your happiness. We have to love ourselves first before we can give our love to anyone else, so investing in yourself will never go unwarranted. Here are some of the ways you can celebrate who you are: 

1. Quieten Your Mind

To love yourself, you must know who 'you' is and one of the best ways to do that is to sit with yourself. We must be present with ourselves, detaching ourselves from the negative thoughts and feelings that arise. We can acknowledge them without judging them – yes, even the bad things. Once you understand the root cause of these feelings, they will no longer have a hold on you. Spend as little as 5 minutes a day, breathe deeply and return to this breath when you feel your mind wander. This is one of the most effective tools against that awful overthinking! 

2. Honour Your Temple

Your exterior appearance always reflects what you put into your body. Invest time into making healthy meals with superfoods. Wake up with a fruity smoothie garnished with nuts and some honey. Make yourself a delicious salad, filled with leafy greens and seeds. You can make it look aesthetically pleasing so you can snap a memorable shot! 

3. Get The Blood Pumping

Movement can look different for everybody –Dance, weight-lifting, yoga all achieve the same purpose. They enhance the natural release of hormones like serotonin and dopamine which can uplift your overall emotional well-being. Witnessing your progress is also a satisfying feeling that will leave you physically and mentally stronger. 

4. Show Your Body Some Love

We are constantly comparing our features to other women we see in the media. We label ourselves according to our flaws and exert so much energy into trying to fix them that ultimately, it can end up worse. This temple we have been given has seen us through all the hardships in our lives and yet we chastise it. Stop comparing! Look into the mirror and tell yourself that it is all our differences that make us stunning! 

5. Positive Affirmations 

This is a powerful stress management tool that takes minimal effort. Researchers have found that this practice can improve your self-worth, productivity and general mental health. You can use a mirror or get comfortable in a seated position and audibly speak out- You could say something like 'You are a strong, confident woman!' and it will rewire your brain in a way that your negative self-talk will start to fade. 

6. Take A Cold Shower 

As dreadful as it sounds, especially on chilly mornings, it has been proven that hydrotherapy can have wonderful impacts on our physical and emotional health (1). Cold water can stimulate the release of 'happy' endorphins that reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It also boosts the circulation of blood in the body and is good for your skin and hair. Even just 30 seconds can have positive effects. 

7. Talk About Your Feelings

Putting your innermost beliefs into words can help us separate fact from fiction. Talking to someone who cares about us like a friend or even better, a professional may help us gain a perspective we wouldn't have otherwise considered. 

8. Take A Day To Yourself 

Put on a cute outfit and go on a date with yourself. Switch off your phone, clear out all distractions and spend some time doing the things that make you happy. Find love in the little things- like making yourself a hot cup of your favourite herbal tea baking a dish or going out to do something fun! 

9. It's OK To Indulge 

Balance is the key to a healthy lifestyle. It is okay to eat that cheesy pizza or the box of cookies you have been craving once in a while, as long as it is coming from the right place. When you are unsure about how to manage this, think about how you would speak to your best friend and allow yourself the same privilege. 

10. Start a Journal

Pen down the demotivating feelings you are too afraid to share with other people. Recognize what they are rooted in without scrutiny and believe they will pass. After this, write down the things in your life that you are grateful for. This can help ease the weight of the bad so you can enjoy the things that make life worth living! 

11. Be Kind To Yourself 

Allow yourself to make mistakes, but be honest about where you are in your growth journey without judgement. Growth is not linear, it is a back-and-forth process that takes time. Be kind to yourself and honour your place in this beautiful journey of life right now! 

As we work on self-love, we can humble ourselves to appreciate the whole of womankind. We will start to see how similar our distinctions make us. Celebrate yourself and all women by having a lovely International Women's Day!



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