Ladies, love yourself. It sounds like a simple request but it can be hard to fulfill when life hits you. Working, taking care of a home and trying to find time for yourself can seem nearly impossible. Not to mention outside pressures from the world that compel even the most beautiful women to focus on flaws instead of how beautiful they are – inside and out.
“If you can’t love yourself, how in the [world] are you gonna love someone else?” – RuPaul
It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of life and begin to compare yourself to others, don’t you think? But, I challenge you during the month of May to take time to appreciate and love yourself just the way you are! Be good to yourself. Why? Because you deserve it! In the long run, the benefits of loving yourself and saying YES to yourself will transcend into other areas of your life.
“You teach people how to treat you.” – Dr. Maya Angelou
- Maintaining energy
- Positive body image
- Obtaining the perfect work-life balance.
- Usually when we talk about exercising, it is in regards to living a fit lifestyle and improving body composition, but exercising also has other benefits like boosting your mood and increasing energy levels.
- Vigorous exercise like weight lifting or running elicits the release of endorphins which are responsible for giving you a euphoric feeling when you exercise. Endorphins are endogenous peptides (a small component of a protein) found especially in the brain that bind chiefly to opiate receptors (“feel good receptors”) and produce a calming emotional state.
- Exercising can indirectly increase energy levels by improving cardiovascular health, blood oxygenation and sleep quality. Improving heart health supports endurance throughout the day and improves circulation which helps ensure your muscles and organs are getting oxygen and nutrients they need. The Journal of Sleep Research published an article describing how sleep can reduce sleeplessness and elevate mood.
2) Eat like you love yourself.
- Choose healthy foods. Eating mushrooms packed with Vitamin D, chickpeas which have large amounts of Vitamin B6 or granola and pumpkin seeds which have high levels of Vitamin B9 are great options for supporting cognitive health.
- Don’t rush – enjoy your meal. When you rush your meal, you increase the chances of consuming excess calories. Take time to enjoy your food so that your body has time to hormonally tell you that it has had enough. The body subconsciously helps manage portion control.
- Set the mood – eat meals with family and friends. Although we may take it for granted, eating a meal with others is very beneficial and it’s not just about the social aspects. Studies have shown that frequent family dining is associated with greater problem solving, increased self-esteem, and a lower rate of drinking, smoking and recreational drug use.
3) Sleep for at least 7 – 9 hours per night.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults (including older adults) get at least 7-9 hours of sleep. Sleep affects the way your body responds to stress as well as metabolism (among other things). Lack of sleep may negatively influence your weight loss journey, energy levels and mood. Sleep allows your brain to consolidate memories (store long term) and helps your body prepare for the upcoming day. 1
4) Find ways to de-stress.
Experiencing daily stress is completely normal. Prolonged periods of stress can lead to unwanted effects in our body, such as elevated levels of cortisol. Cortisol is one of our body’s key stress hormones involved in the flight or fight response. Stress and inadequate sleep can affect the circadian cycle of cortisol production. Elevated levels of cortisol can lead to changes in blood pressure, metabolism as well as altered sleep patterns. 2
- It is important to have a support system. Having a support system gives you an outlet to talk out issues and problem solve.
- Preserve your happy place. Occasionally, we may take a detour from the road towards happiness but when at all possible, find ways to get back on the main road. This may mean enlisting the help of a counselor or therapist. Remember, a happy you, is a healthy you.
- Create a calming environment. Give yourself permission to have quiet time. Set a calming atmosphere with aromatherapy oils like lemon, lavender, rose and/or eucalyptus. Studies have shown extended use of aromatherapy can alleviate stress and improve sleep quality.3, 4
5) Have fun and schedule free time.
Enjoy your life. Create opportunities to discover new ways to have fun and enjoy life. Maybe it’s snorkeling or paragliding. Whatever it is, try stepping out of your comfort zone and find your next adventure. If you are into competitive sports, try joining a local co-ed sports team!
6) Drink Water.
The human body is over 60 percent water. The average adult female needs 4.5 16-ounce bottles of water per day. Drinking water can positively affect the physiology of your skin as well as help to lubricate and cushion joints, remove waste through urination, perspiration and bowel movements as well as help protect the brain and spinal cord. 2,5
7) Appreciate who you are.
Positively affirming who you are and who you want to become can help motivate you and increase your self-awareness. Studies have shown that self-affirmation can help buffer the effects of naturalistic stressors.6 So the next time you look in the mirror, remind yourself that you look phenomenal and no one can be a better you than YOU!
Tang, Shuk Kwan, and M. Y. Mimi Tse. “Aromatherapy: Does It Help to Relieve Pain, Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in Community-Dwelling Older Persons?” BioMed Research International 2014 (2014): 430195.=
Cho, Eun Hee, Mi-Young Lee, and Myung-Haeng Hur. “The Effects of Aromatherapy on Intensive Care Unit Patients’ Stress and Sleep Quality: A Nonrandomised Controlled Trial.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2017 (2017): 2856592
Palma, Lídia et al. “Dietary Water Affects Human Skin Hydration and Biomechanics.” Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 8 (2015): 413–421.
Sherman, David et al., “Psychological vulnerability and stress: the effects of self-affirmation on sympathetic nervous system response to naturalistic stressors.” Health Psychology (2009): 554-62.