Wednesday, June 26, 2013

10 Ways to Appreciate Yourself

Who better to appreciate you than yourself? Sure, it's nice to have others appreciate us whether it be with words, washing your car or buying your oh-so-delicious iced chai on a Sunday afternoon but who are we with 24/7? Whose thoughts are we entertaining day-in-day-out? Whose body are we carrying through illness and wellness? Whose emotions are we embracing and battling each day?

Ours.
 

And, we deserve to appreciate ourselves. In fact, we ought to make it a priority.




Below are some of the ways that I appreciate ME.


10 Ways to Appreciate Yourself

 
1). Give yourself a "free" morning

 

A free morning. What is a free morning? A morning in which you can do whatever you please that is free of obligation, free of timelines and essentially, free of duties. Your only duty being to do whatever it is that you want to do. This can of course, last all day if you have that luxury.
There are no rules with this free morning. If you want to lay in bed for hours with your coffee, comfy throw, good book and indulge in some homemade muffins- go for it. Or, perhaps you want to take this morning to go for a long walk and then enjoy a nice home-cooked breakfast with your tunes playing.

Whatever it is, whatever makes your morning- yours. Do it. For as long as you can.

Seem impossible with your lifestyle? Create the change you need for that one day to make it happen, call in a baby-sitter or whatever it is you need to allow for your free morning.


 

2). 15 Minutes of Vitamin D (aka SUN)
 

Daily. Give yourself AT LEAST fifteen minutes of sunshine each day. Whether it's popping out of the office and taking a stroll, stepping outside and sitting on a bench or sitting in your own backyard, get yourself under the sun (sure, with SPF).

Vitamin D not only lifts our mood, it's essential to a healthy immune system.
 

Go ahead, worship that sun ;)



 

3). Buy yourself flowers
 

I love coming home from the market with fresh flowers that I picked out for myself. A a simple bouquet that catches my eye and gives off that heavenly aroma.
 

They are yours to look at (and smell) as reminder to yourself of just how much you matter.  And what a difference they can make in a room! Place them in the room that you spend the most time in and stop to smell them and appreciate their beauty each day.

 
4). Decompress with a walk
 

I could go on and on about how much I love to walk. I've said for years, if I have adequate shoes and enough food, water and lip balm, I can walk all day. And it still holds true. The benefits I find in walking are simply endless and, priceless.





Walking is brilliant because it can both help to collect your thoughts or clear your mind. I find it very meditative. I've had many clarifying moments during a walk. And although I love to be walking somewhere in nature, such as alongside the ocean or in the mountains, a walk can be healing anywhere. In fact, I also love to walk in the city as well.

Whether it's 10 minutes or 60, walking is a way to 'reset' your mind and undeniably one of the best exercises for your body.



5). Give yourself an hour to 'be'
 

Don't you ever just want to 'be' ? You know, that tranquil state when you aren't juggling multiple things between your activities and thoughts. When you can hear your own breath and your not worried about what time you need to leave your house tomorrow to beat the construction traffic, or what you will make for dinner or the bill you need to pay that keeps escaping your mind.
 

I'd love to say to do this daily, but I'll settle for an hour a week.
This, does not replace or cut into your free morning, decompression walk or Time under the sun. This, my dear ones, is an hour all on its own. An hour for you to get away from your engaging life and racing mind.   

The beauty of this  hour, is that it may take many different forms. It could be lying still in shavasana with a few stones, or under a tree in the woods. Or perhaps slowly walking or maybe some light stretching (I recommend if you are doing any movement for your hour, that is intentionally slow and gentle). Music can of course be part of your hour (it is your hour after-all ;)) though I wouldn't suggest anything too hard or upbeat. If I have music on during this time, I love to listen to artists like Dave Matthews, Xavier Rudd, Howie Day, India Arie, Bob Marley or soft classic rock like Simon & Garfunkel  &  The Moody Blues or classical such as Bach & Motzart, depending on my mood.
 
6). Indulge in a good skin cream (yes, you too Fella's!)
 

Skin is our largest organ. And it's the one that's exposed all of the time. And sometimes, out in that sun. Unfortunately, with those fabulous UV rays comes cause for concern. While your out getting your skin cream, pick up a quality SPF ;) I love AHAVA, Anti-aging and Aloe Up, Resort Collection.
 

Now, on to the skin cream. Our skin gets put through a heck of a lot throughout our lives . From scrapes, cuts, blemishes and sunburns, to sometimes more bothersome conditions such as eczema, bacterial infections, or fungal growth.

Having well hydrated and smooth skin is  one of the best feelings (IMO). And not just physically. When something is out of balance with our skin, it's not only annoying, it can also affect our mood, including our self-esteem.
 

While, I recommend something that is natural, this is YOUR indulgence. So, choose something that not only makes your skin feel good, but makes you feel good, with a scent that you love (or unscented if you prefer).
 

My indulgences? Artisana Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil, Nubian Heritage Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver and L'occtane Shea Butter (their soap is heavenly also).
 
Enjoy, indulge and celebrate YOU.
 
7). Smile at yourself (in the mirror)
 

Yep, this one is easy. Or is it?
 

Maybe your standing in front of your mirror and staring intently, or maybe you are just passing by and glance over. Whichever the circumstances happen to be, give yourself a genuine smile. And not one of those fake "hi stranger walking by on the side-walk smile's," a real "hey there beloved friend of mine smile's."
 

If you feel silly, that's OK, do it anyway. But try, if I may suggest, to take a deep breath and really think about the love that you have for yourself. Think about something that you are proud of about yourself. Or something that you are really excited for that you did or are going to do such as buying your first car, training for a marathon etc.

Don't have anything to smile about? Do it anyway. Every single day. One of those days, you will cross a chasm, and have something to smile about.
 

Point being, YOU are the one that is getting yourself through the day. YOU are the one that crosses all of those checks off of your to-do list, accomplishes those goals (big and smile) and endures each hardship, each struggle, each obstacle. SMILE. You got this.

 

I love this version of the song, Smile.

 
8). Cook yourself a wholesome meal
 

It perplexes me that so many people go about life preparing wholesome, nourishing meals for their family and friends but when it comes to solo meals, it's cereal, take-out or a blend of leftovers.
 

You've worked hard, and you've earned that awesome meal! If you feel like you are on constant overdrive, start planning this meal days in advance and make it count. Get fresh ingredients. Make your favorite. Or, if your like me, do some experimenting and play around in the kitchen for a while.
 

But most importantly, savor every single last bite. Appreciate each ingredient and the flavor it provides. And whatever it is, have zero guilt. This your meal. Your time. Your body, mind and soul.
 

9). Write yourself notes
 

No, not 'reminder' notes (at least not the kind your thinking of) or 'to-do' lists. I am talking about notes to assure yourself of how amazing you are. Notes that help you check-in with yourself throughout your busy and perhaps stressful day. Think of them as mantras or affirmations.


 

They can be brief, or long, the choice is yours. But use encouraging words and place them somewhere that you can see them easily like a post-it on your bathroom or bedroom mirror, on your dresser, your refrigerator, on your laptop or in your wallet.





Do this weekly at a minimum, daily is even better. Start a collection. And when you feel it's time to move on, copy them down into a notebook so that you can go back and read them in the moments when life gets heavy. Those moments can come in as quickly as a storm, having that notebook can help to support your and bring you guidance.

 

Another way that I use my notebook is in my yoga practice. If I don't already have a mantra that I working with that day, I will open it up to a random page before my session and allow that mantra to guide me in my practice.
 
10). Wear your 'special occasion' clothes

 

Only, wear them when it's not a special occasion ;)
 

Have a little black dress that you bought last summer and STILL haven't had a place to wear it? Wear it tonight! Heck, wear it for yourself while you cook your wholesome meal! Or, wear it this afternoon while you cool down with a beverage (your honey may really appreciate it too ;)).
 

Put on those special occasion clothes. YOU are the special occasion. Give yourself permission to boost your self-esteem no matter where you are going (or not going). Wear them at home, to the store, to a cafe, for a walk- wherever you are, wear those clothes (with some of your favorite jewelry).
 

And you too fella's! Do you have a nice blazer your bought and still haven't had the chance to wear? Throw on some jeans, nice (mmm Italian..) shoes, a white-tee and your blazer and head out! Or, stay in. I mean really, who cares?!? This is all for you.
 

Be you. 

Appreciate you.

Peace,

Ashley

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