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10 Easy Self-Care Practices for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

This holiday is usually all about celebrating those that you love, but what if we flipped it and made this holiday all about you? The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself. Self-love and self-care are concepts I find myself talking about all the time with my clients, especially as they relate to food!

So what can you do today to take care of yourself? Show yourself love and kindness this Valentine’s Day.

1. Learn something new! One way to boost self-worth is to gain a new skill set. Been wanting to learn how to woodwork, crochet, or bake the best Valentine’s Day cake? Take a local class or even an e-course.

2. Start a journaling practice. Taking even 5 minutes out of your day to reflect, jot down ideas, or even vent by writing in a journal has been shown to have tremendous benefits for mental health.

3.Disconnect from the internet for 2 hours. In our digital world, this is a tough one. We have become increasingly dependent on our computers and phones. However, this can often feel like we are forced to constantly check in. Taking a 2 hour break from all technology daily and instead taking a walk, an exercise class, or reading can do wonders for your self-care.

4. Act like a kid – or play with a kid. Get a coloring book, a puzzle, or do some crafts. If you have kids or nieces and nephews, take some time to just play pretend with them. Let your mind travel to far away places, like Narnia or Oz. This gives your “adult brain” a much needed rest.

5. Join a book club. Not only will this force you to take time out of your day to disconnect and read a book for fun, but you will have a built-in social activity to look forward to at least once a month. You will also start to built new friendships who share common interests.

6. Be a tourist in your own town. Plan a whole day of activities in your very own town, as if you were visiting. Or, just head out for the day and let yourself wander. Who knows what you’ll stumble across – it could be your new favorite restaurant or spa spot.

7. Declutter! Decluttering your home is a powerful way to practice self care. We meet a lot of our needs at home: sleep, relaxation, nourishment, support, solitude and reflection. By cleaning up and decluttering, you make your space a place of sanctuary instead a place of chaos and stress.

8. Treat yourself to a spa day. This is something we rarely think to do for ourselves because it seems like too much of a luxury. But it’s important to treat yourself to luxurious things too. Book a spa day for yourself, or just get a manicure or a massage. It doesn’t have to be for a special occasion – it can be just because it’s part of your self care practice.

9. Edit your social media feeds. It’s sometimes helpful to go through your social media profiles and unfollow people who routinely make you angry, anxious, or upset. This can be a friend or even a celebrity who you have been following. If you realize that someone’s posts regularly make you annoyed, you can simply unfollow them. This “mutes” them even if you don’t want to un-friend the person.

10. Move around or stay still. Sometimes it’s incredibly healing to put on some music and dance in your living room for 15 minutes straight. Other days, it’s rejuvenating to lay down on your yoga mat in complete stillness and silence for 15 minutes. Ask yourself which one of these your body and spirit is craving regularly and let yourself do either – or BOTH!

Body Shaming

Over the past years, “body-shaming” has become a hot topic, not just online but in everyday life. Unfortunately, body-shaming can happen to almost anyone — regardless of gender, ethnicity, social class, or age. Celebrities, pregnant women, thin people, curvy people, fit people, athletic people, young people, old people — the list of who’s become a target for body-shaming is endless. We also have a tendency to talk negatively about our own bodies, not only to one another, but to ourselves.  As a culture, we’ve become obsessed about body size, shape, and weight.

What is body-shaming?

  • Inappropriate negative statements and attitudes about another person’s or your own weight or size.
  • Criticizing yourself or others because of physical appearance

Body-shaming can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but usually it will usually appear as:

    • Self-criticism of yourself and your appearance through comparison to another person.
    • Criticizing another person in front of them.
    • Criticizing others behind their back.

Examples of body-shaming:

    • Look at my ____ (body part).
    • I can’t wear that… because ____ (reason)!
    • I am such a “insert negative feeling” for eating that.
    • You shouldn’t wear that because of the way you look.
    • You’re so thin that you look like a skeleton.
    • You’re the kind of person who needs to exercise.
    • Did you see what she’s wearing today? (said in a negative tone)

Regardless of how or why body-shaming happens, it most often will lead to comparison and shame, reinforcing the idea that outward appearances are essential for human worth and love. The result — an unhealthy relationship with food, exercise, and especially an unhealthy relationship with yourself.  This just continues the cycle of shame, comparison, and never feeling like you’re “good enough”.

This month, I challenge you to become more aware of your relationship with body-shaming. Is this something you do on a regular basis? Is this a way you cope with being uncomfortable in new situations? Do you surround yourself with people who are body-shamers? What can you do to reduce and eliminate body-shaming?

Remove the Body Shame

Stop commenting on other people’s body shape and size. Find something else to talk about. End of story.

Enough with the negative thoughts and words. Instead of criticizing yourself, come up with ideas on how you’re going to move forward on your journey. For example, when you’re buying a dress and have tried it on, only to find it’s too tight, say to yourself, ‘I’ll get the larger size so it hangs better” rather than saying “My legs are so big and I’m so fat.” Acknowledge not being comfortable and embrace your body and self for who you are and where you are on your journey. All bodies fit.

Fuel your body with foods that empower you to live mindfully. Choose foods that make you feel good, energizing you to live the way you want. Keeping a food and symptom journal and working with a dietitian can help you identify what foods work well for your body, helping you achieve your goals.

Appreciate your body with a neutral approach. Instead of focusing energy on what your body is not, try to think of your body as a vehicle for your life– and that’s it! This simple shift into “neutrality” can make a big difference in the way you perceive yourself and your capabilities. In time, self-love and appreciation will in return result in a healthier body and mind.

Recognize that negative self-talk and body-shaming are not productive. Negative self-talk and body-bashing only sinks you into a deeper depression, leading to a cycle of self-loathing, emotional eating, and more body-bashing.

Practice self-love. Practicing self love means practicing self care. Nourish yourself with good food, movement, hydration, and rest. Remember to lift yourself and others up with positive words, thoughts, and actions.

3 Things to Do in January Besides “Diet”

Ugg… January is here! It really is “national dieting month” and even though I’ve tried to avoid “diet talk” as much as possible, I still hear friends, family, and clients talking about how they are going to be “good”, “eat clean”, “lose weight”, and “finally take control back”.

So if you know me, you know I’m all about creating a happy and healthy lifestyle. No diets needed! Dieting can increase disordered eating behaviors and habits, and also send you down a destructive relationship with food. So rather than diet, what can you do? Here are some ideas so you don’t have to diet and feel deprived. Rather live your life and feel fabulous about food!

1. Practice Your Intuitive Eating Skills. One of the best things you can do for yourself when everyone around you is trying to detox or go on the latest “New Years Resolution Diet” is practice your intuitive eating skills. Intuitive Eating is comprised of 10 principles that help you reject the diet mentality, honor your hunger and fullness signals, and improve your relationship with food and body image. Instead of removing foods from your diet this month, try adding in more healthful options and remind yourself that there is space for both apples and ice cream. Practice eating mindfully instead of restrictively by truly tuning into your body’s hunger and fullness signals. Finally, one of my favorite principles is “Challenge The Food Police” – which means that you practice saying ‘No’ to that voice in your head that tells you that you’re bad for not doing the detox that everyone at your office is doing, or good for skipping dessert at that party. Food is neither good or bad; food is just food and all foods fit into a healthy lifestyle!

2. Go for a daily walk. Gyms are notorious for their New Years Resolution marketing campaigns. If a gym is not for you, try the cheapest exercise on earth: WALKING. Taking a daily stroll for even just a few minutes/day can do wonders for your health. Start with 5 minutes and slowly work your way up! This is also a great way to manage stress levels. You can find a walking buddy in your neighborhood or at your office, walk your dog, or listen to your favorite podcast or music, all while improving your health and well-being.

3. Start a gratitude practice instead of “trying to change”. Unfortunately we connect “losing weight” to “being happier” when this simply isn’t true. Try to focus on what you have, right now! Actively thinking about what you are grateful for has been shown to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. Practice saying out loud one thing you are grateful for each day. Bonus if you can write it down or post on social media! Spread the word 🙂

Non-Diet Ideas for Health

I love these ideas to focus on health and well-being for the new year. All of these sound so much healthier than a diet!

  1. Go to a yoga class. Even better if you sign up for a class package!
  2. Try a new recipe and cook with your family
  3. Go grocery shopping and pick some new food items
  4. Eat out at a new restaurant
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Plan and BOOK a vacation!
  7. Go to bed 1 hour earlier tonight and get more rest
  8. Diffuse essential oils throughout your house or office
  9. Pick up a new book and read for 20 minutes each day
  10. Volunteer and give back to your community

Want to ditch dieting and feel fabulous about food?

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