By: Ariana Aguero
If we’re being real self-love can be hella intimidating. It’s always been way easier for me to send my energy outward- school, friends, boyfriends. But channeling some of that inward? That wasn’t exactly top of the to-do list and I didn’t always know where to start.
Newly single in a pandemic while balancing school and work has made the past few months a self-love boot camp. I’m still in basic training and it’s kicking my butt, but here are a few things I remind myself of when I notice I’m bringing myself down instead of hyping myself up.
Small wins can feel big-celebrate them.
When your energy levels are low and you’ve worn the same pajama pants for the past couple of days it’s easy to feel like you’ve wasted time, even if you’ve completed what you set out to for the day. To help with that, I started ending my nights by thinking about everything I had done that day-meetings, assignments, emails. It helped remind me that despite everything, I was still making moves. It also helped me realize that while I was doing a lot, I wasn’t doing anything that was just for me. So now with each day blurring into the other, I like to take stock of my small wins too. In my planner, I’ll jot stuff down like “Drank 8 glasses of water!” or “Made it outside for a nice walk!”. At the end of the week, I can look back and see all the little acts of love I showed myself which, however cheesy all that sounds, has made a huge difference. Giving myself credit for things I’m getting right puts things in perspective. After all, it’s ok if I wear my pajamas all day- I look cute in them anyway.
I am more than my productivity.
As someone who used to (and let’s be honest still can) judge my days by my productivity, the struggle to adjust has been real. When I’ve felt less productive I haven’t felt like myself, but maybe that’s a good thing. I choose to believe I’m just meeting a new side of myself. She knows how to chill out more and I love her for it. Yes, I’ll admit it, I am the kind of person with a color-coded planner and I love nothing more than the sweet satisfaction of crossing things off my list. But can’t I also be the type of person who’s proud of herself when she settles into bed with a good show and a box of chocolate? Some days it’s hard to think that way. On those days I have to remind myself that sometimes ignoring my to-do list is exactly what I need and that rest is productive.
I will thank my body for what it is instead of judging it for what it’s not.
I’ll come right out and say it, my skin and I have beef. We are in a vicious cycle: it acts up, I get stressed, my stress makes it worse, then rinse and repeat. I’ve tried a bunch of things to break the cycle. Drinking more water, switching to all-natural products, and taking a probiotic have definitely started to help but through all the trial and error I began to resent my body. I resented it for holding me back, for damaging my confidence, for taking up so much of my mental energy, and trust me there are moments where I can’t help but still feel that way. Now words of affirmation are most definitely not my top love language but in this case, they’ve been game-changing. This is exactly the kind of exercise I would’ve rolled my eyes at before but stay with me. Whenever I’m going through the worst of it, I take as many deep breaths as I need to and I thank my body for all the things that it allows me to do. Because of my body, I can go on walks around the neighborhood, hug my parents, and have a dance party. Replacing frustration with gratitude is an easy way to get your glow back.
Self-love might feel far away some days and that’s ok.
Sometimes self-love feels like an ambitious goal and sometimes self-love doesn’t always feel good right away- hot take I know. Fresh off a break-up, I know that self-love can mean making hard choices and putting yourself first even when all of your people-pleasing tendencies are telling you not to. Self-love takes practice and some days I will settle for self-like and you know what, that’s a start. Maybe today self-love feels far away, but I’ll set it as my intention and I will do the same tomorrow because I’m the only thing I’m gonna have forever, and even if I don’t quite hit self-love every day I will damn sure choose to try.