We normally associate February with Valentine’s Day—in fact, we can’t seem to escape it as retailers and marketers remind us for weeks leading up to the big day. Sometimes it seems as though the entire world is paired up. But whether you do or don’t have a significant other in your life, you do have one ongoing relationship that needs constant and consistent nurturing: the relationship you have with yourself.
Yet that relationship is often the first to suffer as we neglect it by taking time for others in our lives. Regardless of your “coupledom” status, why not use this month of love to focus on yourself?
Maybe you think you don’t have time, but we have a few tips on how to incorporate some self-love into your daily routine
Sleep well. According to Statistics Canada, about one-third of Canadians aged 18 – 64 sleep less than the recommended 7 to 9 hours a night. Lack of sleep affects the brain the same way alcohol does: memory lapses, slow decision making, and slow physical reaction times were all discovered in a 2017 sleep deprivation study. And women seem to have a more difficult time falling asleep and staying asleep than do men. Everyone has the occasional night where sleep seems to evade them. But if you are feeling a constant state of exhaustion, perhaps it’s time to revisit your bedtime routine.
First, set yourself an actual bed time, just like you had when you were a child. As your bedtime approaches, begin winding down by turning off screens—the light from any and all screens signals the brain to wake up. Replace those activities with reading or taking a bath. For more ideas on setting up an ideal sleep routine, check out sleep.org. Once you’ve figured out what works for you, stick to it! Your brain will thank you for it.
Eat well. It can be tough to eat fresh fruit and veggies throughout the winter. And don’t the longer nights just heighten our craving for all those sugar- and fat-laden foods? But we are fortunate enough to live at a time when imported freshness is accessible, so try shopping the perimeter of your grocery store to purchase whole, healthy foods. Perhaps even trying something new.
If you aren’t currently following a plant-based diet, consider planning your weekly meals to incorporate “meatless Monday.” The latest Canada Food Guide provides recipes and tips. Also, there are plenty of online recipe sites where you can discover some new recipes. Increasing your intake of fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins is a healthy choice, a way of honoring your body for everything it does for you. And it honors the planet as well by decreasing the use of natural resources. It’s a double whammy for healthy living.
Move. Don’t these long winter nights just cry out for cozying up in pajamas, snuggling under a blanket, and watching movies? It’s pretty easy to sink into the couch at the end of a long day, and a little of that can be fun and a much-needed break. But if it becomes a habit, it can become difficult to break. And if you sit in traffic, sit at work, and sit to watch your kids’ activities. That sedentary lifestyle isn’t honoring your best self.
Research shows that moving three times a week for twenty minutes is good for your health. You need to move just enough to get your heart pumping. So how can you move more? Here are a few ideas.
First, schedule the time. Whether you belong to a gym, a yoga studio, or work out at home, put it on the calendar and follow through. If you work out at home, consider setting your alarm clock 20 to 30 minutes earlier than usual and do your favorite activity first thing in the morning. If you plan on attending a class, pack your gym bag with everything you’ll need the night before and keep it right beside the front door. You’ll have no excuse for missing class.
Next, consider a family fun time. Take advantage of the winter weather to go skating or tobogganing. If the weather is less than inviting, have a dance party instead.
Finally, find places throughout your day to move instead of ride: take the stairs, walk to a local store rather than ride, or take some laps around the arena or gym when your kids are involved in their activities.
What better way to say “I love you” than by honoring your mind and body. These three basic steps will set you on a right path to self-love. And if you’re ready to make a commitment, why not check out what’s available at The Yoga Conference and Show. Try a different style of yoga, learn more about the yoga you already practise. The opportunities to love yourself are endless.