Miriam Powell, Jana Marie Foundation
Valentine’s Day is around the corner. Everywhere we look we are bombarded with suggestions for how to properly express our love to others. Options for externally conveying love are endless, and like we have seen throughout this pandemic, some people are getting very creative in how they show and share their love. But what if we craft a new approach and focus on self-love this Valentine’s Day? It just so happens that this holiday falls on a Sunday in 2021. Maybe this year you join the #SelfCareSunday movement (it is a real thing!) and embrace the art of slowing down and focusing on you. Jana Marie Foundation has seen an increase in requests for self-care programs over the last several months. While the concept of self-care is nothing new, it seems there is an increased need, or perhaps just a heightened awareness, for putting the concept into practice as a result of the world in which we currently find ourselves living. In its most basic form, self-care is simply the practice of managing your own health and well-being. So if it sounds this simple, then why is it often so hard? I once had a very unrealistic and indulgent vision of how I imagined self-care. I thought it meant reclining with cucumbers on your eyes and a mud mask on your face while inhaling the calming scent of lavender and listening to Tchaikovsky. While this may be a
wonderful form of self-care for some, there are simpler ways to bring this practice into your every-day life. We all have stress in our lives, and we all handle stress differently. How you respond to stressful situations is a key factor in determining self-care strategies that work specifically for you.
Some ideas that we share in our programs include practicing mindfulness, focusing on gratitude, going for a walk or just getting outside, drawing or creating art, taking a nap, hugging your pet…essentially self-care can be those simple actions that bring you into the present moment and remind you that you matter! It would be great if we could move toward creating a culture around self-care. We are likely all guilty of passing another person and asking the customary (and often empty) question, “How are you today”? Imagine if we changed that and instead made a habit of asking, “How are you caring for yourself today”? It sounds silly, but just think of the cycle of self-compassion this could ignite! Regardless of how you choose to incorporate self-care into your routine, it will take trial and error. What is important is that you do indeed try. When you do, you will find a form of love that reaches far beyond the confines of a date in the middle of February.