Magic 8-ball says ‘yes’ to self-care on Feb. 14

Monday is Valentine’s Day. Traditionally, we spend money on cards, flowers, chocolates, gifts, and perhaps a night out to show someone special that we love them. I’m not saying that showing love to your significant other isn’t important, but some people don’t have that in their lives, and even if they do, ideally, they’re showing their love daily. This year I’m looking at Valentine’s Day a bit differently. What if instead of lavishing kindness and gifts on others, we used it as a day of self-care, self-compassion, and self-love?

Years back, I wrote: “Choose to love. Start with yourself. Others may follow.” So, I have to ask: do we love ourselves enough? Properly? Do we take the time for the things that are important to us?

I’ll be the first to admit that when I’ve been in relationships, I’ve lost myself in trying to be what they wanted me to be. As a mother, I lost myself in trying to be who they needed me to be. The magic 8-ball is still settling on whether I’ve found someone to love me for who I am, unconditionally, for the long-term, but that’s not the point. More importantly, the magic 8-ball might also give me a “reply hazy, try again” if I asked if I loved myself fully and well.

What if we put ourselves first this year? What if for the whole day, we pampered ourselves by practicing emotional and physical self-care? I’ve heard it said that if we don’t take time for our wellness, we will have to find time for our illness. Let’s get ahead of that.

In planning out a day of physical and mental self-care for myself, I definitely want to mimic the ideas of the standard Valentine’s presents, but I want to tailor them. I’ll buy myself flowers; not the mixed bag of multicoloured grocery store checkout register flowers. I will hand select the blooms that bring me the most joy and greens to accompany them that won’t leave me sweeping up bits of baby’s breath for days.

For food, I will treat myself with not only healthy, delicious foods, but also with something a bit decadent. Perhaps I’ll even farm out the cooking so I don’t have to clean up either.

Instead of a card I write to someone else professing how deeply I love them and why, I will write one to myself. I’ll focus on all the good I’ve done and remind myself of how very “enough” I am. If I start straying, I’ll move to a list of things that I am grateful for.

I will treat my body properly on Valentine’s Day, remembering to find time for the little things like flossing and moisturizing my elbows (thanks for the reminder, Ethan). I will stretch and enjoy my body moving. I’ll get out in nature and soak up the beauty that surrounds me. I’ll take a few deep meditative breaths, holding them in, and exhaling them, each for a longer time. I’ll revel in a hot shower with excellent water pressure. I’ll make time for laughter. I’ll look for the wonder and beauty in everything. I’ll plan a decent bedtime.

I’ll focus on positive words and thoughts to and about myself; and will be compassionate with myself for past mistakes. I’ll set myself a couple of new goals; one of which will be to ask myself to be my own Valentine, at least once a quarter.

Whether you’re alone on Feb. 14 or not, consider joining me in practising some self-care, self-compassion, and self-love.

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