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Valentine’s Day has come and gone and you may have spent it with friends, family, a partner or alone – all completely normal and valid options! I also want to honor and recognize if it was a holiday that brought up painful memories, heartbreak or sadness. You are not alone. 

If you’re like me, you may have also taken advantage of the February 15th discounted chocolate. And now you’re staring down the second half of February thinking…what next? I found myself wondering what if we scooped up some of the love that we hyper-fixate on for a single day of the year and try to start offering that care to ourselves, year round? What would that look like? 

For some people, loving yourself can feel impossible, cringey and disingenuous. That doesn’t mean you’re bad or beyond help. It’s just your unique starting point from which each kind thing you do for yourself, may help you fall more in love with your life. If the idea of running through positive affirmations or listing the things you love about you feels out of reach, you can still do one kind thing for yourself. And this doesn’t have to be grandiose, expensive or a “treat yourself” to count – it can be the simple, practical acts of taking care of yourself as a human on this earth. Short on ideas? Maybe some of these could serve as a good starting point: 

  • Take a hot shower or warm bath
  • Light a candle
  • Check one item off your to do list
  • Wash your sheets
  • Read a book
  • Spend a day screen-free
  • Go for a walk in nature 
  • Call a friend (yes, call not text) 
  • Plan a night in your week to stay in, just for yourself, and treat is as a personal “date night” 

If you want to continue to dig deeper into what love for yourself looks like for you and how to cultivate it, these journaling prompts may help: 

  1. What do the ideas of self-love and self-care bring up for me? 
  2. Why might I have a hard time accepting or showing myself compassion?
  3. What’s one small way I can show myself compassion this week? 

Even though the holiday is passed, I hope each of you find small ways to show yourself the love you so dearly deserve. Cheering you on, always.

By: Maddy Weingast, Assistant for Therapy for Eating Disorders and Body Image