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Mental Wellness

February Is the Month of (Self) Love

Pexels/Engin Akyurt

Is love only for relationships? Discover new ways to be in relationship with yourself this February by committing to self-love.

It’s that time of year again when we’re bombarded with ads for heart-shaped candies, plush teddy bears hugging heart-shaped pillows, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, heart-shaped trinkets, heart-shaped everything touting heart-shaped sweet nothings, and heart-shaped confessions. For all intents and purposes, February is heart-shaped. Yes, it’s true, February is, in fact, the month of Love. And that’s with a capital L.

But is Love really something we can only celebrate in pairs? Since when did a heart (and all it entails with the blood pumping, the oxygen processing) become such plural imagery? Since when did Love become such a plural word?

Let’s try a little exercise. Place your hand over your chest. Okay, a little to the left. A little more. No—wait, no, back a bit. Okay. Right there. Feel that steady drumming? That’s your heart. Singularly, completely, emphatically yours. It lives within the chest, the muscles, tissue, and skin, the body that is also yours. Your singular vessel, at its center, this symbol of Love.

With that said, I’d like to informally declare that February is the month of self-Love. A whole month to celebrate the singular heart-shaped YOU—no heartstrings attached. This month is a time for you to define what it means to Love yourself, to recalibrate your self-nourishing practices, and push yourself to say “I love you …” to the one person who deserves it more than anyone—that’s you.

There are a lot of ways to do this—after all, it’s all about you. So this month might look a little different for everyone. Some people might only choose to celebrate for a day, while others may choose to dedicate their whole month to their practice. That’s the best part about our February of self-Love: we get to make the rules.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few suggestions.

Nourish With Love

This month choose to fill your body with the foods that make you feel good. For some of us this might mean infusing a kale smoothie into our diet once a week, for others this may mean splurging on take-out from our favorite restaurant, and even others might find strength in committing to three square meals a day. Each of these forms of celebration is valid and beautiful.

Bathe With Love

If you have a bath this might be a bit easier, but a shower will also do. While you bathe, immerse yourself in your favorite soap, take time to massage your scalp, and carefully wash all the places that may not always get your best attention (I’m looking at you, toes). Take an extra minute (or five) before you finish your bathing ritual to commit to complete relaxation.

[Also read: “How to Ground and Refresh With a Bathtime Ritual”]

Move With Love

Movement is how we get our blood pumping, coursing through our veins and flooding through our heart. Movement tells us we are alive and supplies us with endorphins that boost our mood. Take a few minutes each day to commit to movement, it doesn’t have to be anything too complex. Implementing a yoga practice (or even just stretching) into your routine can help you recalibrate and balance your mind and body (and heart). If that sounds too intimidating, maybe try putting on your favorite playlist and dancing around your bedroom. The key here is not to force movement, but to relish in it.

Meditate With Love

If you’re like me, you might be a little skeptical about the whole meditation thing. The concept of sitting in complete silence, mind blank, while totally enticing, also seems totally impossible if you have a very active mind. The reality is, meditation doesn’t have to be this whole ordeal—you don’t need a fancy cushion, tea lights, incense, the whole shebang. Really, all you need is you and a couple of minutes (or seconds) of your day (or night) to sit (or stand) and breath. Let’s do a trial run. Close your eyes and breath in and out, evenly and slowly. Try to do this for 30 seconds. Don’t peek!

Your February of self-Love starts now. This is your time to treat yourself. And it can last just a few hours, days, a whole week, or even months. It’s totally up to you. Though, “year of self-Love” certainly has a nice ring to it.

This article was originally published by Survivor Strong.

Read more about self-love practices: “Self-Love Meditation.”