What is Self Love?
More and more people are waking up to this idea of self love. Since we are not one dimensional beings, we can look at the concept of self love on every level of our being. There are four obvious aspects that we can learn to love ourselves on. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. Of course if we focus on one aspect, the other aspects have a greater chance of being called into balance. As the human race, we are awakening to our deeper selves and we are no longer having to give one aspect attention while we ignore other aspects. But what is self love?
Physical self love
Physical self love has to do with our physical body. Our health, our home and our finances. It’s about Self. It’s not just about taking ourselves off for a spa day although that is a really fun way in which we can practice loving ourselves, it’s about truly caring for our own wellbeing. When our bodies are healthy and whole, we are capable of enjoying and living our lives to the fullest. First and foremost physical self love is caring for our health. Without good health it is very difficult to care for anyone else.
Eat whole foods
Many people have asked on my retreats; What should I eat? This is the million dollar question but really it’s not about prescribing a one-size-fits-all diet for everyone because each of us are unique. Not just in our personality but literally in our physical make up. In Ayurveda the body is literally made up of the same stuff as the cosmos. Air, water, fire, earth and ether or space. The universe is made up of an interplay between these elements and each of us has a slightly different interplay between these elements. This is how an Ayurvedic doctor can diagnose your dosha or body type. For an idea of what your body type is take a look at Life Spa’s dosha test.
The answer to the great question is very simple. Eat a simple diet of fresh whole foods. Food that grows. A variety of fruits and vegetables. Of course if you have an imbalance in your body that is causing you to feel unwell, then the best approach is to first rebalance your body by, taking yourself off on a retreat like our Deep Cleansing Juice Detox Retreat and possibly seeking health from a naturopath like Hester Ladewig from Embrace Life or a doctor of integrative medicine. The important part of looking after your health is to eat healthy foods. This seems so obvious, yet we are in a world where it is very easy to satisfy cravings for processed foods. A diet of mainly processed foods is the natural enemy of our body as we literally starve it of nutrients. I have an 80/20 rule. That means that 80% of the time, I eat food that comes out of my own kitchen and 20% of the time I allow myself to enjoy social eating. In Cape Town we are lucky because there are several good eateries where I can get wholesome nutrient dense foods.
Get enough rest and relaxation
This seems like such an obvious way of loving oneself but so many people just don’t allow themselves to take the rest that they need. Work stress, family and social demands cause us to forget to stop and rest. Without proper rest, it doesn’t really matter if we get proper food into our bodies or not as we are unable to integrate the nutrient intake into our bodies as well as not being able to integrate life. We find that we are running from one place to another place just to get stuff done but really this has to change.
It’s ok to take time for yourself to sleep or daydream. I spend a lot of time on my sofa with my two cats just doing nothing. I realised a while back that trying to meet imagined demands of society was destroying me and giving myself time to stop and do nothing has served me well in the long run. It has allowed me time to rejuvenate after running each retreat, to introspect, contemplate and integrate life’s lessons. I don’t even do it with intentions these days, I just do it because it brings me back into alignment with myself. Everything comes out that space. Every project, every dream.
Besides the obvious manicures, pedicure and visits to the hairdresser there are a lot of ways that we can physically care for ourselves. Our bodies hold a lot of stress as they carry us around all day and keep us going. Physical health is fantastic but an incredible support to our physical wellbeing is body work such as massage or Body Stress Release. We often put our stress into our bodies and oftentimes need a release. We also store up emotional traumas in our body which do cause chronic diseases if ignored and body work can assist with clearing and releasing these traumas. This is why we offer body work on our retreats.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise we can get. We are designed to walk and walking on undulating surfaces like hiking on a mountain, gives us a lot in terms of movement of our bodies. It helps our digestive system to work optimally, bringing fresh oxygen to all our cells and giving us a deep sense of wellbeing. If walking is not possible, there are so many other forms of exercise as per our choice, but the main thing is that the body is designed to move. Movement stretches our muscles, gives space in the body where it is needed and helps us to release emotions and remove blockages be they physical or energetic. One cannot completely love oneself without doing some form of movement. See what the Mayo Clinic’s 7 benefits of exercise are.
Take care of your finances
We need money and financial abundance is now possible for more and more of us as we have long moved into the digital age. The fact that we need money can be a great stress in our lives. How much and what we do with it is as individual as our body types, but it is extremely important to care for our finances like we would care for our own body. It can be as simple as putting a budget in place in order to make sure that we have enough to eat well, sleep in a peaceful environment, exercise, rest and relax. Holidays or a wellness retreat all take money and the sooner we look after our money, the sooner we are able to truly look after ourselves. We can no longer separate our financial abundance from our physical wellbeing and all these self care practices can assist us to creating and/or maintaining our financial abundance. Perhaps this is a blog post for another day….
For me having a peaceful home is probably the fundamentally most important aspect of Self Love. The moment I walk in through the front door, I am greeted with a calm and peaceful atmosphere. Each piece of furniture has been carefully selected by my partner and I to serve our home life, the colours and plants and fresh flowers bring us great joy. It is our sanctuary from the world, our own personal retreat.
Animals are a great way to bring extra love into the home. I’m besotted with my two (cats) of course and they love me deeply I’m certain. They give me a sense of being loved and cared for.
Stay tuned for part two of this blog in the coming weeks as we take a look at mental, emotional and spiritual Self Love.