Someone asked me recently what have I been doing with respect to my Quest for Self-Love and I thought I shared a list of things I have been doing that have helped me feel good or better every day. Hopefully, it will also spark off some ideas for you of where or how to begin in your journey with Self-Love.
- Exercise 2-3 times a week. Re-starting my exercise regime was one of the best things that I have done for myself in the recent months. From feeling breathless within 10 minutes at the start to feeling fine after 60 minutes of a gym class now, I feel much healthier and also better about myself. I love a good sweat and waking up the next day with body aches. Outside of the gym, I also go for nature walks, cycling and swimming. And in case you have not heard, it has been scientifically proven that regular exercising does actually help relieves stress or reduce the risk of depression.
- Daily 15-20 minutes meditation. I have been doing this for over 30 days now with Headspace and I surprised myself that I am even still doing it. I see it as a temporary retreat for my ever restless mind and it helps somewhat to not be starting out my day in a fluster. Sometimes the most random thoughts come up to mind when it’s awfully quiet inside, and writing out this list was one of them. There were also moments I found myself spiralling downhill after being triggered emotionally and I sought relief from meditation and deep breathing. I guess they did not say ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ for no good reason.
- Read and listen to experts on Self-Love. We are so accustomed and rooted in certain set beliefs about ourselves (mostly negative really) that it is helpful to open up our minds to new perspectives or beliefs about who we really are and can be, so that we can start to think and feel differently about us. Meditation helps to clear space for clarity and with that clarity, we can start to embrace more positive ideas about our most authentic selves. Interestingly, I find myself in increasing exchanges of words or positive encouragements that have been helpful in my (their) own self-love journey with others. The more I tell someone that they need to focus on loving themselves and their best interests, the more I find myself moving towards that too. The best advice for ourselves is sometimes the best advice we give someone else. For starters, a random google search on ‘Self-Love’ will bring you substantial amount of goodness. Some of the stuff you read or hear might sound strange or uncomfortable at first, but you will gradually be able to sift out the things that resonates most with you.
- Explore interests and hobbies. I love cycling and exploring old and new places with my bicycle. There’s just something so carefree about having the wind in your face. As I enjoy being in nature, I signed up to volunteer with the National Parks to lead guided walks in Coney Island (Singapore). A few of us from the volunteers’ group are already making plans to cycle back there again later this week! I challenged myself recently to try out a dance class at my gym and fell in love with Sh’bam – a latin-inspired dance workout. I never thought I would enjoy dancing but there’s something so freeing in the movement that makes me want to keep doing more of it. I like watching drama series and movies because they take me into a different reality for an hour or more. One night after crying in my bed, I decided to watch the movie Wild and I felt better after that. And of course, writing is something I enjoy doing and so here I am doing more of it.
- Go on a retreat or indulge in solitude time. Watch a movie alone. Have a meal alone. Go shopping alone. Read a book. Go enjoy life and time alone. Occasionally, I go for mini Self-Love retreats out of town. During my retreats, I get to decide how I want to spend my time, who I want to spend my time with (alone or otherwise), and discover that I can be my best and worst company. You will know that you are truly in touch with yourself, when you can appreciate and embrace the space without feeling lonely. I am super stoked that I will be going for another mini Self-Love silent retreat at a rustic rainforest tree house soon and plan to leave all my digital distractions aside.
- Make time for family and friends who matter. Good, endearing relationships are hard to come by especially with people who genuinely care and take an interest in each other. I am making it a point to spend more time with people who accept and love me as I am, people who made it a point to be there for me and checked in on me when they knew I was not in the best place. I am also realising that when I put my digital devices aside and allow myself to be fully present with others, the connection deepens and bond strengthens. In addition, the time spent together becomes more meaningful and enjoyable! It’s a decision every day to Look Up and I strongly encourage you to do so.
- Be open to new connections and friendships. You would be as amazed as I am to find that as your energy changes from a negative to a more positive one, you will also start to attract or draw more like-minded people with similar energy your way. Two weeks ago, I had a 7-hour long conversation with someone I just met about life, passion and all the things that matter to me. I feel so alive and it excites me to be engaged in conversations or exchanges with people who share similar values, ideals or interests. Last week, I threw out a random video idea and some other ‘crazy’ fella from the Live Your Legend community group caught on it with the same excitement and determination to make it happen. I finally get why it’s so important to hang out with the right people to make your spontaneous ideas come to life, no matter how small or silly. Join a Meet-Up if you find it very difficult to meet or get to know new people.
- Create a Vision Board for how you want your life to be. I find pictures or write Post-Its of what I want to be and do in my ideal life, what I would love to have in my life (including objects) to places I would like to go and I paste them all on a board. Make it pretty. Make it bold. Add more or change it up when you change your mind. The process of doing this is therapeutic. Every morning when I get out of bed, my Vision Board t is the first thing I stare at when I am about to open my door. And I spend a few seconds just looking at every single item that is on the board and reminding myself that this is the life I want to wake up to every day. Now I am ready to get out there and make some magic happen.
- Give thanks and appreciate every day. I am making it a point to practise gratitude by finding at least one thing to give thanks for every day. It’s definitely great if you can find more, but it is more meaningful to make it consistent until it becomes a natural habit in your life. I find that when I shift the focus away from the negatives, I start to see the positives in every day living. Even the most nasty person you meet today could be teaching you something about yourself. Or the relationship that did not work out could also be a learning point of what is important for you in your next relationship. Thank the waiter for attending to you. Thank the next person who holds the lift for you. Nobody needs to do anything for anyone else. Everything is a choice, and the very least we can do is to say ‘Thank you’.
- Keep doing more of what makes you happy. Pay attention to how you are feeling at every moment. Take note of how doing something makes you feel. If you start to feel unhappy, allow yourself to indulge in whatever that is for only a brief amount of time, then stop. If you find it painfully difficult to snap out of that unhappiness, try sleeping on it. Then the next morning, make the choice to do something that makes you happy and keep finding that ‘happy’. I am learning to trust my feelings again, because sometimes we do think or over-analyse too much till we forget what really matters most in life. Every moment is golden. Make it count. Do more of what makes you feel good and you will start to feel better and better.
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