This Valentine’s Day, whether you are single or in a relationship, it’s very important to remember to love YOU. According to Science Daily, acceptance is the attribute most closely tied to self satisfaction and happiness; yet, we find it hardest to accept ourselves. As a person who has learned the value of self-acceptance, I am here to tell you that loving yourself is the only pathway to truly loving your life—and everyone in it. Here are some tips to inspire and help you to stay on track this Valentine’s Day season.
Sure, have a chocolate.
Life is not meant for limiting yourself. Caring about what you’re putting into your body is important, but denying yourself without establishing rewards can deplete your willpower and make it harder to stay healthy. Cynthia Sass, New York Times best selling author and sports nutrition consultant to the New York Yankees explains, “Not finding a way to build-in indulgences is the primary reason many people ride the weight rollercoaster—lose 20 pounds, gain back 25, lose 30, gain back 40. Trying to be ‘perfect’ week after week typically leads to feelings of deprivation, resentment, even anger or depression, and culminates in either binge eating, or diet abandonment.”
So, don’t deprive yourself of the festivities that Valentine’s Day might bring. Instead of waging a day-long battle to grab that orange instead of the Valentine’s Day candy, you may be better off simply enjoying a piece as a reward and moving on.
Spice it up.
Routines are great, but boredom can derail you. Have you ever found yourself on track all day—a smoothie for breakfast, maybe a salad for lunch— by 2PM you think, “Man, I can do this, I am doing so good!” Then you get home and surprise—you’re hangry. You realize that if you have to eat the same grilled chicken breast for dinner, you just might lose it. If you find yourself at risk of eating everything in your kitchen to satisfy your craving for something new, the Better Health Channel suggests choosing a variety of foods that “will help to make your meals interesting, so that you don’t get bored with your diet.”
There are many tools out there that can help you stay on track to a better and healthier version of yourself. I’m not the most experienced cook, so Yummly is my go-to to for flavorful, easy-to-make recipes. I can log the meals I make in the UP App, and I still love what I am eating.
Selfie time is key.
No matter what your story is, you likely have people in your life who rely on you. While it’s beneficial to build strong relationships with peers, friends and family, it is equally important to make some time for yourself. Balance is not just focusing on your physical health, but your mental and psychological health as well. Psychology Today lists many benefits of finding solitude in your day, such as giving you the time you need to find your own voice. No matter what your plans are this Valentine’s Day, remember who you are, and take the time to do something that you love. Join a pickup basketball game, take a stroll, or relive your glory days with a high-energy dance class.
Have some fun in the bedroom.
At Jawbone, sleep is very important to us. Sleep deprivation affects your mood, motivation, judgement and perception of events. It can also physically slow you down. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. You might find yourself doing all the right things, including eating healthy, logging your food, and working out, however, if you do not prioritize sleep, you will never fully reach your health goals. Just as you put time and effort into creating a healthier diet, you have to put time and effort into preparing your body to have a good night’s sleep. Yoga is proven to help those who fight insomnia. If that doesn’t fit into your nightly routine right away, make a conscious effort to try a week with no screens before bedtime. Yes, that means no Instagram, no emails, and no texting. Make it a point to set your smart alarm on your UP band and then put your phone on the opposite side of the room from you. It makes a difference in your sleep, I know from experience.
Create a love circle.
“Show me your friends, and I will tell you who you are.” When I was in high school, I volunteered at a nearby middle school. They gave a demonstration that shined a light on the importance of people you allow in your circle. They had one student stand on a chair and another on the ground next to them. The teacher said to the student on the ground, “Lightly take your friends hand and pull them off the chair.” And they did—easily. Then they switched spots and the teacher said, “Gently take your friends hand and pull them up on the chair with you.” It was nearly impossible. The message was clear. Chose who you surround yourself wisely. It doesn’t matter how much of an optimist you may be, if you surround yourself with negative people, you will be fighting an uphill battle. Forbes provided three simple checkpoints to help rid yourself from those pulling you down and replace them with those you will lift you up. First, analyze your crew. Next, filter out the negativity. Lastly, dedicate time to the remaining relationships. Energy is contagious. When you chose to love yourself, and surround yourself with people who will do the same, it will impact your entire life.