We’ve all dealt with quarantine differently; some better than others admittedly. Mix in the holidays, and it’s a recipe for the perfect anxiety-storm for many. Slowing down, refocusing energy, and reflecting on what is important in life may help ease the immense anxiety some are dealing with during the pandemic. During this stressful time, it is pertinent to take care of your mental and physical health, and maybe even learn to love yourself.

What is Self Love?

Love Actually is all around, or so Hugh Grant tells us in the movie by the same name. But with all of this love being thrown around, we should try to keep some love for ourselves. Loving yourself doesn’t mean you are selfish or narcissistic. It just means that you can acknowledge that you have limits, need time for yourself and that you appreciate your own individual talents and strengths. It also means taking steps in your daily life to grow emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

In Maslow’s hierarchy, to reach self-actualization, we first have to love ourselves. After all, having self-love and compassion boosts happiness, improves body image, reduces physiological stress, and helps you become a more successful person.

Treat Yo' Self

You don't have to wait until October 13, the official Treat Yo' Self Day, for some TLC. You don't have to be as extravagant as Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec, but couldn't we all use a little pampering? Even if we can’t afford three big diamonds surrounded by tiny diamonds at least we can treat ourselves to an extra scoop of ice cream on occasion.

Taking care of yourself is super important because if your needs aren't being met, you can’t meet other's needs properly. There’s no reason not to indulge yourself a little as long as your children and pets are being looked after.

Find a Hobby You Enjoy

Not only is taking time for yourself a few times a week to do something you enjoy a great way to practice self-love, but it also improves your mental health and sense of well-being. Taking a hike, upcycling, and journaling are all budget-friendly hobbies to try, while crocheting, cross-stitching, practicing the ukulele, and honing your photography skills are some ways to stay entertained that require a little capital upfront.

Find a Work-Life Balance

game of thrones meme  Daenerys Targaryen "I said 'I'm able to work under pressure,' not that I will die for your company."

Walking the fine line between work and personal life may be easier to conceptualize than to put into practice. A recent study (and ya know life) shows that especially for women, a healthy work-life balance is difficult to achieve. With so many things vying for our attention it can be difficult not to feel like a hamster on a wheel. If the lines between home and work-life are especially blurred while working remotely, set specific work time and wind-down time. This will help delineate the end of the workday.

Burnout is likely to be a result if the computer stays open and work continues into the evening hours. Work will be there tomorrow! Make a list each morning and prioritize what needs to get done each day. Decline additional assignments or tasks if needed. What if everything doesn't get done? Cut yourself some slack.

Brighten Someone Else’s Day

It may seem counterintuitive, but taking care of others can be a form of self-love. Of course, taking care of yourself, engaging in positive self-talk, and maintaining your mental health are all ways to love yourself. But, sometimes, getting out of your head and taking care of others can be a form of self-love. Send someone an encouraging note, reach out to an old friend, or send a family member a bright, cheery bouquet. Love begets love, after all.

Let Go of Toxic Habits

Habitual behaviors like smoking and drinking aren’t just bad for your health, they can actually decrease your overall happiness. However, quitting these habits can result in quite the opposite, as studies show that smoking cessation can benefit well being. This Naked Mind, the book or podcast, explores the role of alcohol in society and gives one woman's account of how quitting alcohol changed her life for the better.

Get Organized

"A place for everything and everything in its place" is a great mantra to have. A disorganized living or workspace and being surrounded by stuff can increase anxiety and stress. Studies show that people living in cluttered environments reported higher levels of depression than those with tidier homes. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo will give you lots of space-saving, simplifying, and joy-sparking ideas so that you’ll enjoy your living space again.

Rest Well

Getting enough sleep and improving the quality of your sleep may have a positive effect on daily mood. Getting enough bright light exposure during the day can help keep your circadian rhythm in sync, which can improve the quality and duration of sleep. Wearing blue light blocking glasses while working or playing on screens, can also improve your quality of sleep. Mindful meditation before bed won’t just increase your overall mood, but it too will help you get some much-needed zzz's.

Gratitude

Loving yourself can be easier when you focus on the positive things in your life. Developing and recognizing gratitude can improve your mood and make you happier. Keeping a journal, writing a thank you note, volunteering, and making a gratitude jar for the year to open on New Year’s Day can all help you cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

Ditch Diets for Healthier Choices

Hopefully, by now we all know that crash dieting will not help you be healthier or happier. You’ll likely be worse off than when you started. You may experience dehydration, brain fog, and decreased mood when you deny your body of nutrients. On the other hand, integrating healthy food choices into your diet can improve your mood and keep potential health problems at bay. Eating as you live on a Mediterranean island incorporating foods like fish, veggies, and legumes can reduce inflammation, control blood glucose levels, and reduce the likelihood of heart disease.

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