My newsfeed and email are filling up nicely with a million and one posts about Valentines Day. Gift guides for him, How to Seduce Your Partner …hmmmn. I love a bit of romance, don’t get me wrong. But when I want a scented candle, bunch of flowers or some frilly knickers I buy them myself – at any time of the year! (NOTE FOR HUBBY: THIS DOES NOT ABSOLVE YOU OF THE NEED TO STILL SUPRISE ME WITH LOVELY THINGS!) But if I waited paitently for my hubby to fill my life with romance …I’d die waiting! But all this talk of love has got me thinking. Why do so many people feel that hunger for a display of love?
Speaking to most friends I have found one common problem. We all put ourselves at the bottom of the pile. We have so much love to give to our partners, children, family and friends. Yet we fail to stock up the love reserves for us. I am going to look at ways to change that.
Most of us feel like we have to lose weight/get the job/get a boyfriend/work harder/make more money, to be happy with ourselves. Let’s stop putting conditions on our self worth! We need to work on self esteem, we need to put energy into our relationship with ourselves. It’s common to see people having a large wine at the end of the day or pigging out on a take away, this can sometimes be a way of distracting yourself from feelings (it also can just be because you want a large wine and a takeaway though!)
Lets have a look at the main problems and some easy ways to overcome them.
• Obsessing over mistakes, re-living embarassing moments?
We put much greater emphasis on our negative qualities than on our good. Many of our mistakes are amplified and anxiety takes hold. Acknowledge the Devil! Don’t deny your shortcomings. We tend to police ourselves and what we say to others because we are terrified of being rejected and of people not liking us. The first thing to do it to think about the situation that’s repeating itself in your head, forgive yourself for whatever small misdemeanor/social faux pas you commited and try to shift the humour in the situation. Laugh about yourself. Tell it as a story to someone. Then forgive yourself. Remember we are all human and there is no-one out there that is confident in every social situation.
That woman in the office who looks like she is all over it? Probably just gave herself a pep talk in the toilets (while she was checking that she didn’t have sweat patches) about how unfunny her joke had been to the hot receptionist! That mum breezing into the room with her kids, like a mix of Victoria Beckam and Supernanny? She’s probably just had a meltdown getting them into the car and has given them a severe warning through gritted teeth to behave. She’s just baby wiped weetabix out of her gorgeous jeans and is wearing that lovely scarf to hide her leaky boobs!
• Placing unreasonable expectations on yourself.
So you work 3 – 5 days a week, you have hobbies, you have kids, you also have to fit in friends, family. You know? The housework, the car maintenance, houehold crap. Oh, as well as haircuts, appointments, childcare, paperwork. Being the best Mary Berry in the kitchen whilst making Instagram worthy pics, Pinterest crafty shit and maintaining the appearance of calm ...Fuck this shit!
We expect so much from ourselves every single day. If a friend, brother or sister were to tell you what they were expected to do you would tell them to take a step back. If your employer suddenly hands you 80 hours worth of work but says you only have 12 to complete it you would laugh right into your union reps office!
No man is an island and all that. So what can you do?
Well for a start you can cut back on all non-essentials. Cut yourself some slack. So what if the kids aren’t eating homecooked meals every night? So what if your ironing pile has become to a mountain, and there may be clothes at the bottom from a past decade for all you know? So what if you spend the day in your pjs watchin Netflix even though there are a million things to be done? It’s ok. Time for yourself is just as important.(*parents, for Netflix you know I mean endless repeats of Peppa Pig right? But if it means peace then get on board!)
Tackle things bit by bit. Fed up of being the only one to do anything? Make a list for your partner. I kid you not, even if you feel like their mother it works. If I leave a list then hubby will do what’s on the list. No, I shouldn’t have to write the damn list he should get off his ass and help! But … it works, so just do it! Try to lower your standards too (no-one elses way will be as good as yours but at least you’re not doing it all!)
Give yourself a pat on the back. Really. It’s important to recognise what you have and what you do everyday and be proud!
Start putting some energy into your relationship with yourself. Acknowledge your failings. Are you prone to jealousy, gluttony or melancholy? Look at what triggers these emotions. Is there a particular occassion or person that makes your feelings worse? Set boundaries for these situations and people. Anything that detracts more joy than it gives need to be questioned, and if you continue to see a pattern then remove yourself from it. Every day cannot be filled with roses. Don’t pretend to be ok. Let someone in.
Mindfulness can be a powerful aid. Be honest and understand that it is not a failing to need help or advice. When you can look at these things then you can forgive yourself and will feel closer to those who are around you.
Remember it is your right to be happy. These following things have been shown to really boost your mood.
•More sleep – stop laughing! Of course this one is not easy, I know firsthand. But head to bed early a few nights a week, prioritise sleep once in a while and you get some benefit. Lush do a moisturiser called ‘sleepy’ that I have found really helps me chill at night.
• Exercise -still laughing? Because of my shifts and hubbys working away I haven’t been running or to an exercise class in almost 5 years! But there are simpler ways of incorporating exercise for fun. Anytime I’m with the kids we try to stick some tunes on for 15 min and have a dance party! Blinds tilted so no-one sees you can let loose in a way you couldn’t with anyone else watching. Dance like you’re 17 and I promise you will have a smile on your face.
• Get outdoors! Even a ten minute walk to the shop gives you some daylight and fresh air and it’s proven to be beneficial to your mood.
•Plan a holiday – always makes me happy!
•Listen to music. Transports you to wherever you were when you first heard it. Empowering tunes can really get you going and a sing along never hurt anyone! A bit of sad music and tears isn’t a bad thing either. Sometimes a good cry is just what you need, weirdly, to make you feel better. It’s like it clears you out.
• Give back. Offer to help someone and the benefits to both of you are bountiful. Joy is contagious.
• Challenge yourself. Can be anything from learning something new to completing something you have had planned for ages. The brain is stimulated by suprise and by coping with new challenges. It can calm your mind and provide massive satisfaction.
• Have sex! It reduces stress, makes you happy 😂
When you put the effort into loving yourself then it shows. Because, if you don’t love yourself how can you expect other to?
So look at what you have achieved in your life (doesn’t have to be a huge thing, not all of us have done anything astonishing!) Look at what you have gone through and where you are today (again not all of us have a life changing story) Look at how much life you still have left to live. Look for the positives and try not to get bogged down in the negatives.
My most important piece of advice is to surround yourself with like minded people. Giving love to those around you pays itself back tenfold. It’s great to have a wide circle of friends but keep the ones close who put a smile on your face. The ones who would be there in a heartbeat with a homemade chocolate orange cake even when they can’t bake and live miles away! Who send you a photo album out of the blue with pictures of your years together. Who call you up because they saw a message and thought you sounded like you needed to talk.
I asked some gorgeous mum friends to send me some harrassed face selfies and they are featured above! Thanks to the lovely ladies who volunteered their faces for me! I love you all 😍
Let’s see some solidarity – send me snaps of you holding up a sign with #LoveYourself I would love to see some of my global followers!! I will share all pictures!
Do you like Valentines Day? Are you a romantic at heart or do you hate it all?
Let me know either way I love hearing your thoughts as always!