As Valentine’s Day approaches, make it about more than just demonstrating your love for the someone special in your life. Celebrate it as an opportunity to send some love where you need it the most—straight into the agitations and pressures you experience in your own nervous system. We talked to New York City yoga teacher Kat Fowler to get her favorite ideas on how to cultivate self-love.
Don’t skimp on your own well-being. “One of my favorite self-care rituals is to set up my personal space at home so that I feel like I am stepping into my own personal sanctuary,” she says. “Through beautiful lighting and diffusing my favorite combination of lavender with citrus oils, it gives me the ability to relax comfortably and take the time and space for myself to cozy up and read, meditate or just simply relax at home. If I’m on the go, essential oil roll-ons give me the feeling of having a mobile sanctuary experience wherever I am.”
2. Make a self-love vision board
A visual collage of what sparks joy in you can remind you of your deeper purpose. Or experiment with a digital version. “I really love making Pinterest boards of powerful quotes that inspire and move me,” says Fowler. “It’s always so great to keep that as reference to read when needed.”
3. DIY date night
Just as you make it a goal to spend time with your partner, schedule some one-on–one time with yourself. Take yourself on a date, doing exactly what turns you on: a yoga class followed by a massage, a museum visit, a movie. “Occasionally I’ll take one of my favorite books, and head to one of my favorite restaurants here in NYC, and enjoy a solo dinner and dessert, just to recharge and relax,” says Kat.
4. Incorporate mindfulness
Our biggest critics are the ones we hear in our own head. “A big part of incorporating mindfulness is becoming truly aware of your inner dialogue/self-talk,” says Kat. “I’ve noticed that simply becoming mindful of my internal dialogue gives me the space to reflect before I respond, or moderate and change my mood in a positive way. Sometimes it’s the simple little things that can lift moods as well; like listening to some of my favorite music or a gentle mist of my favorite essential oils.”
5. Stake out a tech-free zone
Multitasking is not good for our brains—or our nervous systems. Studies show that switching tasks back and forth makes us feel more depleted than sustaining our attention on one thing. “One of the hardest, but best feelings is when I take the first 20 minutes of my morning to take care of myself by reading, or doing a quick meditation, having some coffee and letting the emails and texts wait until I’ve settled in and started my day on my own accord,” says Kat.
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