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It’s February, the month of love, roses, and chocolates. This Valentine’s, why not do something special for the most important person in your life – you! It’s time for self-care.

We are all so busy trying to meet deadlines, taking care of our families, keeping our homes running, and staying in touch with our friends that we neglect to take care of our needs. What most of us don’t realize is that when we take care of ourselves, we become better equipped to handle anything life dishes out. We become more productive at work, and we can care for our loved ones better.

So how can we take care of ourselves better? Here are some self-care tips for Valentine’s Day:

1. Sign Yourself up for Some Pampering

We love to pamper our partners or parents, but we rarely spend time on ourselves. This Valentine’s, why not make a deal with yourself to start pampering yourself too. Indulge by spending the day at a spa or having a massage. If that’s not your thing, a long soak in the bath, deep-conditioning or your hair, or having a lie-in are affordable and straightforward ways of pampering yourself. Make this a  habit and show your body the love and care it deserves.

2. Konmari Your Space

Marie Kondo had the right idea in mind when she advocated for a streamlined and organized space. A cluttered office or home impacts your mood and leaves you with a chaotic feeling. It doesn’t mean that your home or office desk should always be nauseatingly clean. But making the time and effort to tidy things up regularly will go a long way in keeping things uncluttered. It will also make it easier to find the stuff you need. So even if it’s just a few hours a day or during the weekday, take stock of what you have, see if it sparks joy and get rid of those that don’t.

3. Call for Backup

We’re all guilty of wanting to do everything by ourselves. This goes double for career-minded people and mothers. Most of the time, we don’t utilize the resources that are available to us. Maybe it’s because we don’t trust others to do the work that we do or we’re not aware that help is available. Most of the time, this is due to us being afraid or shy about asking for help. There’s no shame in asking for help when we’re overwhelmed. Do you need more time in the morning to go to the gym? Ask your partner to take the kids to school every other day. Do you need assistance organizing your best friend’s bridal shower? Get other friends on board and make it a group effort. Calling for backup doesn’t mean you’re incompetent. It just shows that you understand the importance of not running yourself ragged.

4. Enjoy Your Meal

A lot more people are eating their meals while doing something else. You probably have eaten a breakfast burger while driving to work or munched on fries while finishing a report. Stop denying yourself the pleasure of enjoying a healthy meal with good company, even if that company is just you. Make it a point to have several meals a week where you eat without the distractions of work or your smartphone.  

5. Make a List of Your Accomplishments

People love making “to-do” lists but don’t recognize what they have successfully done. Make a habit of taking some time at the end of the day to make another record, but this time it’s about everything you’ve accomplished. Did you run faster or farther? Made a nice meal? Finally touched base with your best friend? It might seem like a small thing, but tiny things accumulate to something great.

6. Know What You Have

Aside from acknowledging what you have done, it’s also a good idea to be grateful for what you have. Keep your bullet journal beside your bed and jot down the things you’re happy to have, whether it’s a new book, spending time with a friend, or freshly laundered pillowcases.

7. Bust a Move

Endorphins are your friend, and they’ll only appear when you’re active. It’s why some people love going to the gym or become addicted to the runner’s high. You don’t have to run a marathon or sign up for a CrossFit class to achieve this though. Any form of physical activity will be good for you. Spend an hour or two gardening, take a walk with your dog, or learn a new dance. Just get out there and bust a move.

8. Retreat From Technology

Technology has insinuated itself into almost every corner of our lives. Thanks to smartphones, Facebook, and other social media sites, we’re bombarded with emails, calls, messages, and demands from friends and followers. Try to unplug and retreat from technology at least once a week. Even if it’s just for a few hours (a whole day would be better), switch off that smart device or stay away from your laptop. Don’t answer messages or look at any social media sites. You can also set a daily limit on your screen time. Check your smartphone if it has this feature.

9. Just Say No

A lot of us have a problem saying no. No to the friend who wants to have coffee, to colleagues who need to have a drink, or to take on that extra task at work. We have this image of being able to have (or do) it all. The sad reality is there are only 24 hours in a day, and you just run on a limited amount of power. Don’t overextend yourself by saying yes all the time. Say no to coffee and have a relaxing night in instead. Say no to staying later to finish a report and have an early night instead. Never forget that you’re more important than any list of “things to do.”

It’s time for you to stop existing and start living. Self-care is the first and most essential step to that. Love yourself and prioritize your self first. When you take good care of yourself, it will radiate outward and positively affect everyone around you. You’ll also be in a better place – mentally, emotionally, and physically – to handle anything life throws at you.

Now go ahead and have the greatest Valentine’s Day for your self!

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