Are you home bored, wishing you had something to do? Have you been having negative thoughts about yourself? Do you have challenges when it comes to loving yourself and knowing your worth? Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Are you ready to learn to love yourself more, to be able to have more positive thoughts instead of negative? Well, this article may just be the right one for you.
In her article, “Take the 7-day Self-love Challenge to Transform your Life,” author E.B Johnson wrote:
“Learning how to love ourselves is one of the most important skills we can master in this lifetime. In a world that constantly tells you that you aren’t enough, cultivating self-love is a radical act of self-establishment and self-expression that allows you to stake out your place in the world. When we learn to love ourselves as much as we love others, we actually unlock a number of surprising benefits that can help us transform our lives and turn them into the future that we’ve dreamed of all along.”
Since we were all asked to practice social distancing, our schedules have completely changed. Many individuals are working from home and kids are doing online classes.
“The social distancing for me is going well, I cannot complain,” said Andrea Lazarus, a local mother of a toddler. “I’m using the time to work from home, organize my space, read books and spend quality time with my son. At times it does get boring, but I am staying positive and throwing it out into the universe that things will get back to normal quickly.”
With social distancing and everything going on with the novel coronavirus, it is important to keep taking care of your mental health, practice self-love and think positively.
“A lot of my students are worried and anxious about the uncertainty of it all. I like to ask them, ‘I know a lot can go wrong, but what could go right?’ This makes them think about the positives of this forced social isolation and focus on the day to day, instead of the bigger, sometimes scarier, picture” said Erin Salzbrun, a local mother and Antilles School counselor.
Below is a list of several self-love/self-care challenges that I encourage you to try. There is no particular order in which these can to be completed, and it is OK to do one specific challenge more than once or do several in a day since we are quarantined at the moment.
– Declutter your room: Clean and declutter your personal space. Put some fresh sheets on your bed, organize your dresser or any/all rooms in your house. Take out the trash, organize your clothing, if there are any clothes you don’t need, then maybe donate them. Decluttering will give you a feeling of peace in your personal space and promote soothing sleep in your bedroom.
– Mindfulness: This is one of those that you should do every day, even if it is for five minutes a day. “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” said the staff writers of Mindful Magazine. During this time, you are sitting in a comfortable position, and focusing in the present moment. You don’t let your mind wander off, but rather focus on the sound of your breath and how you are feeling in the present moment. There are different mindful topics that one can practice, like repeating self-love affirmations, focusing on the things you are grateful for, focusing on how your body is feeling, noticing how and what you are eating and the flavors of the food, etc. There are many guided meditations on YouTube that you can listen to. There are also virtual mindfulness classes being held on St. Thomas at JW Behavioral Center and Mind, Body Health and Psychology. Call the office and join a session to learn more about the benefits.
– Enjoy the sunset or sunrise: We live on a beautiful island, why not take advantage of it and watch the beautiful sunset or sunrise. During this time, have your phone put away and just enjoy the beauty of our island. Maybe think about watching it from inside your car at one of the many beautiful spots in the USVI, such as from Paradise Point in Havensight, the Skyline by Magen’s Bay or the lookout up the road from UVI, St. Thomas campus.
– Journaling: This is a great one to do often as well. If you don’t already have a journal, get one, even if it is a simple notebook, or using your phone/computer to write down your thoughts. Talk about how you are feeling? Are you happy or sad? If you are happy, express why you are happy. If you are sad, express why you are sad and ways to prevent it.
– Bake/Cook: Bake and cook something from your favorite meal, if you are not sure how maybe look up a recipe or video. This is something you can do on your own, with a friend, your special someone or even your kid(s). Maybe this gives you a chance to practice mindful eating techniques. “This social distancing has inspired me to do more cooking and baking at home. I have been watching a lot of cooking/baking shows or looking up recipes from the Tasty App. I have been trying my best not to go out and eat, but instead cook something healthier and cleaner at home” said Hala Suid, a local student attending UVI.
– Positive affirmations: This is another important one that I would recommend doing every day. Look in the mirror and tell yourself something kind, loving and compassionate. “I am beautiful,” “I am worthy,” “I am important,” “May I be free from any pain or suffering,” “May I be happy” “May I love and accept myself” etc.
– Spa Day: If you have a bathtub, fill it up with warm water, maybe add some essential oils or bath salts; lavender is one scent that I recommend for relaxation. Use this time to be kind to yourself and your body. Get yourself a face mask of your choice and wear it for 30 minutes. “I have been wearing an aloe face mask, it has many benefits to it and a great way to do self-care. I also like to use Vitamin E oil for my skin. For my kids, I like to use olive oil and shea butter on their hair,” said Carissa Driscoll, a mother of three toddlers. Massage your skin with oils.
– Forgiveness: Many individuals hurt their heads over an incident or mistake that they have made in the past. Take this time to forgive yourself. Understand that we are all humans, we make mistakes and learn from them. If you need to, write down your mistake and ways that you can prevent it from happening again.
– Listen to an inspiring podcast/Read a book: This is a great way to improve and boost your mind. You may learn something new or be encouraged/motivated to start something great. Marilyln Braithwaite-Hall, Ph.D., and Paul Doumeng co-host Rotary Wellness at 10 a.m. every Wednesday on 1340 WSTA. Their broadcast is always filled with positivity. If you are unable to listen to live, check out a range of past shows on any podcast platform.
– Gardening: Take a day out to garden some fruits, veggies or flowers. The act of growing your plants has many health benefits to it. Go get some seeds from Home Depot and start your gardening.
– Coloring/Painting: Many people think coloring is just for kids, but it is also a great technique for adults to use as a distraction to calm the mind down. You can download many free PDF coloring pages online. Paint or draw your happy place or a happy memory.
– Call a friend: Call a friend or multiple friends who have made an impact on your life. Call them, thank them and let them know how they impacted your life. “This quarantine has its ups and downs,” said Fatima Suid, a local student attending UVI. “I am very grateful for my friends who have kept me strong and distracted from the stressors that I am facing right now. I am defiantly using this time to stay connected with my friends.”
– Social Media Detox: Take this time to put away any electronics you have. Spend it with the loved ones in your home or doing a self-care activity mentioned in this article.
– Write yourself a love letter: Write a love letter to yourself and save it. How you speak to yourself is important. Often, we tend to say more negative things about ourselves instead of offering some kind words. Take this moment to write a letter to yourself. It can be a letter talking about several positive things such as the reasons you love yourself, why you are proud of yourself, what you appreciate about your talk, the reasons why you are awesome, talk about how you are beautiful in your own way, different reasons why you are grateful and appreciate yourself or what you wish for yourself. After you have completed this, take a moment to read it to yourself. You can also write a letter to someone who you care about.
– Puzzle/Game/Movie: You finally have time to be home to spend time with your loved ones, whether it is your sister, brother, friend, son, daughter or parents. Take this time to enjoy the company of a close family or friend.
– Yoga: Do some yoga. Take this time to stretch your body and relax your muscles. Breathe Studio located St. Thomas is offering online classes for anyone on all three islands.
– Music: Play your favorite song, turn the volume up and just dance. Let go of all your worries and stressors. Take this time to listen to your favorite local artists. Three of my favorite local artists to listen to are the Th3rd aka Leo Sibilly, Pressure aka Delyno Brown and Rock City aka Timothy and Theron Thomas.
– Gratitude: Another essential one that should be practiced daily. Take a moment to think of three things or people you are grateful for. Be mindful of why you are grateful for those things, people or memory. Consider doing this for 30 days straight, journal it if you need to.
– Goal list: Write a list of goals you would like to accomplish before this year is over. For each item, write down three steps that you can do to accomplish this goal. For example, many of us consistently talk about being healthier and getting that summer body. Three ways to accomplish that can include, eating healthier (this should be a lifestyle change and not just a diet), create a workout plan and increase the amount of water you drink. Research says one should drink their weight in pounds, divided by two in ounces. So, if you weigh 200 pounds then you should drink 100 ounces of water daily.
– Take a selfie: Take a selfie and post it. Write something positive about yourself. Take a moment to see what you love about that photo. Encourage others to post selfies and caption it with what they love about themselves.
– Letting go: Is there something that is consistently on your mind, something that is toxic and you need to let it go? Take a moment to write a letter or note of what you need to do to let this go. If you need to, write it down, rip the paper, shred or burn the paper.
– Fresh air: We may be quarantined at the time, but that does not mean we can’t go outside on our porch or balcony, to get some fresh air and sunlight.
– Forward the love: You have just read an article with several ways to practice self-care and self-love. Now how are you going to commit to doing this daily – not just as a challenge but as a lifestyle. Maybe set a reminder on your phone, put it in your calendar, get a friend(s) to join and do it with you, etc. Share these so others are aware of the way to practice self-love, as everyone deserves it.
These are some ideas that came from a wellness coach name Sarah, who wrote the article: “30-day Self-love Challenge”; Roots Yoga, author of the article: “30-day Self-Love Challenge”; Zo Flamenbaum, the author of the article: “Wellness Activity: Write yourself a Love Letter”; and the authors of “Blessing Manifesting.”
“Right now, we all have ample time we never had. I was always taught that time is a frame of mind. I know it can be so dreary, scary and negative. However, it’s also a very positive thing that we may not all realize……. We are always so caught in the hustle of life and balancing our lifestyles. We finally have some extra time, to call those you never have time to call. Immerse yourself in a new routine and getting to know yourself. All the things you never had time to do, you finally have time for. It’s a scary beautiful thing. And while it is common and normal to be afraid, I urge you in every way to challenge fearlessness and dive inside yourself without any distractions,” said Meagan Byran, a local mother.
Editor’s Note: Nour Z. Suid, PsyD, was born and raised in the Virgin Islands. She graduated with a doctorate in clinical psychology and is working on a doctorate in naturopathic medicine.