How To Love Yourself

Self-love doesn’t have to be cheesy

 

Self-love is a real buzz word these days. It’s thrown around so much on social media and in women’s magazines, but what does it really mean? I’m no expert, but I’m a Gen-Y female that understands the pressures and expectations placed on modern women. I myself have had many moments of felling like it’s all too much and I just want to cave in. Prioritising time for yourself as a busy working woman is hard! For many of us it’s the last thing on our lists to do. If we are mothers or partners or career women we often put other’s needs and wants above our own. I’m not here to tell you that you need to change, but I do understand the benefits of putting yourself first every once in a while.

We’ve been told our whole lives that it’s wrong to be selfish. But in reality if we don’t take care of ourselves first, how can we help anyone else? I believe that self love is all about acknowledging that you are the most important person in your life. Why shouldn’t you show yourself as much kindness, respect and affection as you would to those you love the most? It’s important to treat yourself gently and not have unrealistic expectations of yourself. It’s easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself with others and wishing you were younger, thinner, prettier, smarter, richer or more successful. But accepting and embracing yourself just as you are is the first step towards true self-love.

 

So how can you learn to love yourself more?

 

Learning how to love yourself can be easier said than done. Making time for yourself so you can remember just how special and important you are is a great first step. Once I started putting time aside to take care of my needs before others my self-image improved greatly. In this post I’m going to share some of the key things that I do to keep me happy and confident. I would also love to hear from any of you to know how you show yourself care and prioritise your needs.

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1. Exercise

Yeah, yeah. I know. Totally obvious, right? I’m just repeating what every other self-help or health guru has ever said about looking after yourself. But I’m not here to tell you that you need to exercise to lose weight and tone up so you can look good in a bikini. I’m not even here to tell you that you need to do it for your health and fitness. I’m just here to let you know from my own experience that moving your body just makes you feel so damn good. All the other benefits are just bonuses.

However, I gotta say I’m not a gym goer. The idea of being surrounded by mirrors and watching myself sweating away while I attempt to lift heavy weights in front of a room full of muscle bound men just doesn’t appeal to me at all. And I couldn’t think of anything more torturous than a cross fit class or a beach boot camp session. I would prefer to get out and about doing the kind of exercise that fills my lungs with fresh air and leaves me with a smile on my face. I’m talking things like roller skating, dancing, bushwalking, bike riding or swimming in the ocean.

 

Exercises to help you learn to love yourself more

 

These days because the weather is so cold I’ve been doing my workouts in front of the TV in my lounge room at home.I  can catch up on my favourite shows whilst working on my booty! But there are a few different exercise groups based in Newcastle that I’ve been watching closely after the last few months.

  • This women’s only gym in Carrington looks like a beautiful uplifting environment to be in! Check out Lissome’s Instagram page and just see if you can resist their positivity!
  • Rollerskating is my absolute favourite. This group meets every Friday night for 80’s style skating at Speers Point Park. One day soon I will get there to have a go.
  • I’ve been wanting to learn Samba dancing for years and have been following the ladies at Pivot for a while. They have a great range of classes for all levels of dancers.

What about you? Feel free to comment with your exercise routines and favourite activities.

 

2. Take time out for Leisure

 

Ok so this is pretty obvious. If you want to feel happier about life in general, spend more time doing the things you love! Makes sense right? The thing is, we live in an era where we are constantly bombarded with the message to be more productive because laziness is evil. Women are expected to be amazing mothers, lovers, wives, cooks, housekeepers, career women and friends. The ‘wonder woman’ phrase gets thrown around a lot, so does ‘yummy mummy’ and ‘super mum’. We have high expectations placed upon us to appear as though we are always acheiving things. But I’ve learned that living a life that’s focused on external approval does very little to add to my own self-esteem. Extrinsic motivation only leads so far, eventually it becomes a burden. Finding motivation from within to keep going and live my life my own way was what brought me true happiness and self satisfaction. For me that means taking time out to do things that are selfish, lazy and unproductive because it brings me joy and relaxation. That means laying in my hammock for an hour strumming my ukulele, reading a book in the bath tub, binge watching a TV series in bed or lying on the beach for hours between leisurely swims. 

 

Hobbies make you feel accomplished!

 

If you have trouble doing things that feel unproductive then I would recommend taking up a hobby in an area that would be useful in your life. For example sewing, knitting, craft, woodwork, pottery or cooking are all hobbies that you and your loved ones could benefit from. The feeling of acheivement that comes from learning new skills can help build your self-confidence. I started learning the ukulele a few years ago and although I’ve never been particularly musical, I surprised myself by learning a few songs very quickly. It felt so good to be able to tell people that I could play an instrument! I’m no protege but it’s fun to be able to play music with others now.

 

If you’re looking for a new hobby around Newcastle I have some suggestions for you:

 

  • These guys ignited my interested in the ukulele and got me out of my shell when it came to singing in public. They offer workshops, group activities and fun community events. I recommend checking them out if you’re a music lover
  • I just discovered these pottery and ceramics workshops in Maryville. They look like a lot of fun
  • Hudson Street Hum is a great space in Hamilton that offers a variety of workshops and group activities.

 

 

3. Surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you

 

Humans are social animals, but that doesn’t mean we need to be constantly out and about socialising with just anyone. In this age of technology we are more connected than ever. If you’re not a particularly outgoing person you can still find and communicate with your ‘tribe’ without leaving your home.

Social media has opened up our lives to so many new people and ideas and can make some of us feel like we aren’t alone, even when there’s no one around us. However, not all social media is good for our wellbeing. If you’re feeling a lack of positivity in your life then I suggest taking a good look at the pages and people you follow online. Following a lot of influencers who’s main aim is to make their lives look as idyllic as possible is not good for the soul. I always feel inadequate and empty if I spend too much time looking at that kind of content. My advice is to follow pages that are real, authentic, uplifting and accepting.

If you struggle with your looks or weight then don’t follow the fitness gurus and fashion pages. Try searching for body positive posts and influencers and fill your feed with real bodies! And instead of following the lifestyle bloggers who get paid to travel the world and deck themselves in designer wear, follow the everyday women who are honest about their day to day struggles.

 

 

Here’s some suggested social media pages to follow to help you learn to love yourself:

 

 

 

If you are the type that wants to get out into the world and meet with some real life people then the internet is also great for finding those elusive creatures. I recommend Meetup to search for groups by interest in your area. I myself have attended meetup events and have met some awesome people that way. You could also try looking for community, sporting and charity groups based on your interests or beliefs.

 

Here’s a couple of Meetup groups in Newcastle that I’ve personally interacted with:

 

 

4. Treat Yourself

 

So here’s the part where I’m going to recommend that you go out and spoil yourself. Treat yourself to special things some times. I know healthy eating and saving money are priorities for many of us but we all deserve dinner out and a bottle of nice wine occasionally. Or what about a night out with your girlfriends or a trip to the day spa? A new dress or pair of shoes? Or maybe a trip to the bookstore and a few hours to yourself with a cup of coffee and dozens of books to flick though?

Whatever your version of a treat is, I believe it’s important to indulge in it occasionally. Most of us would give gifts to our loved ones to show our appreciation for them so why not treat ourselves the same way?

Here’s the bit where I say that having a photoshoot is a great way to treat yourself. You’ll be pampered by our hair and makeup artist and made to feel beautiful and special. After your shoot you’ll see photos of yourself that you never dreamed possible and that kind of gift lasts for your whole life. After all, don’t we all want that moment where you can look back on yourself in later life and remember just how dishy you were?

 

 

 

Ready to show yourself some love?

 

So if you feel like it’s time to treat yourself to something life changing and everlasting, here’s the link to my booking page. Shoots start from $395 with hair and makeup included, and you can see the full price list here.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Love, Michelle

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