A few thoughts on self love (care) a week after Valentines Day.

Truly loving and respecting yourself is a process. At the age of 37 I a part way through the journey, but now as a mother of two little girls, I can see the importance of self-love flashing brightly in front of me like an illuminated traffic signal.

When we love someone else we are naturally attentive to their needs. Their happiness gives us great reward. We learn their likes and dislikes and are constantly on the look out for ways to help, spoil, encourage and support them. Why is it that when it comes to ourselves we do not follow these same patterns?

Have you ever truly slowed down and taken the time to re-evaluate how you could love and nourish your own self better?

Everyone is different and “self-care” is so much more than eating healthy, exercising, managing stress, self-esteem and mindfulness. A good self-care practice is 100% individual. There is no one size fits all self-care guide. To find what works for you there are no short cuts or miracle programs. Self-care is about taking some regular moments of peace to slow down and truly listen to your own body (and mind). Observe what makes you feel good and what makes you feel less than good.

When you feel your heart open, your shoulders relax, your stomach satisfied, your mind clear, your skin glowing, your eyes bright and your energy levels high, stop and take stock.

Try and narrow down what factors allowed for the stars to align and for you to feel your best and work towards repeating. Keep a little notebook to record when you are feeling your best if that helps you. A food and mood diary can be a really helpful tool to discover what factors are important for your own self-care arsenal.

What we eat is one of the largest and most important factors in self-care.

When we are hungry our body is craving nutrients not calories.

And you guessed it… the highest nutrient per calorie food on the planet is plants (veggies, fruits, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds).

A great first step towards developing a regular self-care plan is looking at increasing your intake of veggies and other plant based foods each day. This doesn’t have to be expensive, exotic, complicated, tasteless or labour intensive. Keep it simple by adding fruit to your breakfast, greens to your smoothie, salad to your lunch, veggie sticks or cherry tomatoes to your snacks or steamed veggies to your dinner.

Up your intake… then sit back and observe what you enjoyed and made your feel good. Then try adding something else. Before you know it you are on the path to a genuine and individual self-care routine.