I have been under a lot of stress lately. It’s not the kind of stress I have to deal with on a daily basis. However, as a single mom-widow- I have plenty of that kind too. Right now, grieving is coming at me in waves. Lately I’ve been feeling that the waves are getting over my head and it‘s hard to stay afloat. Of course, my children are pulling me up to the surface every day, but the physical strength required to keep swimming and swimming against stronger and higher waves, can wreak havoc on my body. My inner child is constantly craving hugs and understanding which are so hard to receive when I am parenting alone. Don’t get me wrong, I hug my children every chance I get. However, an adult conversation with cuddling arms can bring reassurance and calm a rough sea.

I just came across this reading a couple of days ago on DailyOm. After my wise friend Amy Carpenter gave me the ultimate advice: “self-love is what you need to practice”, this writing popped out at me even louder. How do you love yourself? What sort of approach do you take? What are more tangible ways to practice self love?

“So often we are busy sending love and healing to others that we forget to send healing to ourself.

Most people, when given an opportunity to aid someone in need, are eager to do whatever they can to be of service. Those of us who have chosen to make healing the world a vocation are grateful for any occasion to send light and love to people in our immediate spheres of influence and beyond. As we apply our passion and our principles to this altruistic endeavor, we often forget to send ourselves the same bountiful gifts of wellness, though we ourselves may be in dire need of it. We overlook ourselves, not because we forget, but because we fear that focusing on the self is an indicator of selfishness. It is moreover much more difficult to heal oneself than to heal others because the seeds of uncertainty are more easily banished when we act on another’s behalf. When we send healing light to ourselves, it is important that our intentions and our self-trust be stronger than ever to counteract doubt.” ~BY MADISYN TAYLOR

What we’re not taught, is that taking care of yourself IS taking care of others. If you don’t work on yourself; if you don’t take time for rest and relaxation; if you don’t feed your soul, then you’ll be so burnt out and depleted you won’t be any help to anyone else — least of all yourself. So let’s see what we can do to practice self love:

  1. Eat mindfully, focusing only on your food.
  2. Organize your office, workplace and files.
  3. Clean your house or apartment.
  4. Start the day with two minutes of meditation.
  5. Take time for rest and relaxation.
  6. Treat yourself.
  7. Make a list of fun activities to do and choose one to check off every weekend.
  8. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself.
  9. Each night before bed write in your gratitude journal.
  10. Snuggle up with your kids or four-legged friend.
  11. Use the affirmation “I love and accept myself.”
  12. See a counselor.
  13. Compliment someone today.
  14. Give yourself a day off.
  15.  Volunteer, help a friend in need or just help anyone, etc.
  16. Commit to doing your hair and makeup for a week.
  17. Self-love affirmation: “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.”
  18. Make it a priority to get eight hours of sleep.
  19. Smile.
  20. Give yourself a massage with warm relaxing essential oils in the morning.

Get the idea? When we are creative, we will feel the difference in our mood and in our loved one’s mood around us.