Finally, self-love and self-care have started to be normalised as everyone becomes more aware of their significance during these difficult times. They helps us healthily manoeuvre through life – taking care of our mind, body, and soul. But what exactly is self-love? It’s loving ourselves by genuinely appreciating our strengths; accepting our weaknesses; and showing ourselves kindness and compassion, unconditionally.
Human beings are complex social animals – there is no average human, we are all different in our own ways. However, due to sociocultural pressures and expectations of the ‘ideal’ individual, we often succumb to the anxieties of idealism instead of acceptance.
Self-love is accepting all parts of yourself – especially the darkest parts, which is your shadow side. It is knowing when to walk away, setting boundaries, honouring your worth, allowing room for mistakes and working your way towards being the best version of yourself (not someone else). It is remembering that you are, indeed, human – not a robot.
But fully accepting who you are does not equate to enabling your problematic behaviours.
You may have had a tough week and want to take some time to relax – which is fine, go ahead and do it! However, it does not mean that you should stray away from reality for too long and ignore all your responsibilities. Abandoning your workstation to binge watch movies for days on end (while being well aware that you have deadlines to meet) because you feel stressed is not what self-love is – it’s actually the opposite!
Protecting ourselves from the stressors of harsh realities may seem like the easiest way to deal with things because it makes us feel safe and comfortable. In turn, we get used to this and call it self-love – when it is actually a form of ego-love.
Choosing the path of achieving instant satisfaction and indulging in denial may seem like the next best thing we know for ourselves. Yet, this path does not help us grow into the person we want for ourselves. In hindsight, you’ll start to realise that this just might be the cause of your own suffering and lead to self-deprecating thoughts; feelings of inadequacy; expectations of perfection; and the root of your lack of self-love.
Taking accountability for our actions may seem difficult, but it is essential for taking the first step in fully accepting ourselves for who we are. Understanding the difference between self-love and ego love is vital to build the life we want to live in. When we love ourselves, we want what’s best for ourselves, and we do things that make us happy (even if it’s not immediate).
We know self-love isn’t as simple as it seems – we all struggle to give ourselves the love, compassion, and kindness we give others on the daily due to a myriad of factors and past experiences. But despite the complexities of it, self-awareness is key to shifting our mindsets in accepting the self as it is – whilst working towards being a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday <3
At the start of 2020, you probably thought it was going to be a good year, right? New decade, new me. Yet here we are, still living through a pandemic, stuck in our homes – feeling unmotivated, unaccomplished, and dealing with uncertainty. Coming to terms with reality and accepting the new normal hasn’t been an easy feat for any of us. Although some days may seem normal, what we’re going through right now is still so far from it.
But we shouldn’t spend the holidays beating ourselves up over unprecedented situations – we’re only human! We can still continue our year-end gratitude, even though it’ll look different, and reflect on ways to be thankful. Our priorities have shifted, so focus on the silver linings and show yourself the kindness you deserve – celebrate the fact that you’ve survived the madness of it all!
Here are 6 things to be thankful for in 2020:
- Family, friends and partners
Even if you weren’t living alone, the lockdown was a lonely time, but it helped us realized the importance of our relationships. Celebrate the people you surrounded yourself with, physically or virtually, and provided you with emotional and social support.
- Food, shelter and basic necessities
We all know the struggles many are facing during a time like this. Appreciate and acknowledge what you have instead of dwelling on what you don’t as not everyone has had the privilege of mere basic necessities.
- Acts of kindness
As devastating as this year has been, kindness has still existed everywhere – which is something worth celebrating! The stronger-than-ever community spirit has seen people all over the world helping each other out from raising funds for groceries and surgeries to donating masks, gloves and hand sanitisers.
With movement restrictions and social distancing measures, we often overlook how technology has provided us with the convenience of connecting with one another, as well as the entertainment, recipes and workout routines that kept us busy and got us through being stuck at home.
Find gratitude towards the hobbies, old and new, that you indulged in as a healthy distraction. These allowed us to enjoy ourselves, and even made us feel just the slightest bit better amidst the cancelled plans and uncertainty.
- Making it to the end of each day
Some days are much harder to go through, while some days seems like a breeze. Practice self-compassion and give yourself credit for making it to the end of each day! It’s okay if all you did some days was survive.
This list acts as a mere reminder of the things we can still celebrate this year-end, but it doesn’t mean you should minimize your own suffering and compare what you have with everyone else. Whatever you may be feeling at this point of time is valid – yet, practicing gratitude is a great way to focus on the things we so often overlook. It also helps us feel more at peace with our lives and improves our mental state.
We hope you can find gratitude in your days and celebrate them!
At times, our busy lifestyles can be too overbearing for our mental health – leaving us feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Instead of indulging in unhealthy habits, a safer way to cope with stress is by meditating.
Popular for its therapeutic purposes, studies have shown that meditation is effective when it comes to reducing stress, lowering anxiety levels and improving overall mental health.
But what exactly is meditation?
The word ‘meditation’ derives from the Latin term meditari, which means “to ponder or reflect”. This makes the act of meditation as simple as being present and coming into awareness with your thoughts.
Do I have to sit cross-legged with my eyes closed?
It’s not the only way to meditate. Plus, let’s face it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, so here are a few meditation techniques you can try instead:
- Take a meditative walk
No, it’s not aimlessly walking around and bumping into things with your eyes closed – it’s the opposite really. Find a pace that suits you and pay attention to your surroundings (with your eyes wide open). Start observing how your body feels and become more aware of your thoughts – don’t forget your posture. For even more therapeutic relief, head outdoors and enjoy the beauty of nature!
- Use writing as a meditation tool
It’s not easy to consciously focus on the present and be aware of your thoughts, some might even find it overwhelming to do so. By writing, you’ll be able to clear your mind and write down any thoughts circulating in your head. It’s similar to journaling, but the key here is to write without any form of judgement. It can also be helpful when you need to self-reflect.
- Meditative breathing exercises
Many meditation techniques use the breath as a focal point. When you inhale and exhale through your nose, notice how your diaphragm moves with each breath. Continue focusing on your breath and shift your awareness to how your body feels, and before you know it – you’re in a meditative space! The best part of it all is that you can literally do it anywhere at any time – be it during a morning shower, waiting for the LRT or even at your office desk.
- Lying down guided meditations
If the conventional meditation style feels too restricted, or you just don’t have the energy to be concerned about your posture, try lying down! Lie back flat on the floor, hands rested to your side (or on your stomach) and gaze towards the ceiling. Then, gently close your eyes and focus on your breath. If this feels too comfortable, and you feel like you’re about to dose off, put on your earphones and listen to any guided meditation audio.
If you’re still unsure and don’t know where to start, check out these short and simple guided meditations and incorporate them into your day. A little goes a long way, and before you know it, you’ll be a meditation guru!