365 days of self-care

It’s Valentine’s Day today. That day of the year completely devoted to celebrating couplehood. That day of the year when those of us who are not part of a couple but wish we were are reminded acutely of what we lack.

Perhaps because my recent ex-husband and I did not make a big deal of the day, or perhaps because without a TV I miss out of the vast majority of the propaganda about this day, this first year as a single-again woman with no valentine of my own to celebrate with is bothering me much less than I would have expected, which is very good.

In fact, I’ve received more messages this season about the importance of using this day as a chance to honor self-love than I ever remembering encountering before. I already mentioned the wonderful article by Tama Kieves that two different people sent on to me. I also received a great email on the subject from Christine Arylo from www.ChooseSelfLove.com who had the following reminder: “The deep love you seek starts and ends with the love you have for you.”

Given the fact that self-love is something that I have already been working on trying to grow into and the fact that there is no one else to distract my attention this year, this Valentine’s Day seems like a perfect time to focus on learning to love me.

As I was pondering over the last few days how I would go about actually doing this, I came across a wonderful blog post by Christy Farr entitled 365 Days of Anything … Makes You More of That, which got me thinking about things I could commit to doing for the next year to help my sense of self-love grow. I finally decided on 365 days of self-care.

Now, I am one who needs something a bit more structured to commit to if I am going to have any hope at all of living up to the commitment, so I have tried to come up with a list of daily activities that provide self-care for different aspects of me. In each case, I’ve set a measurable minimum so that I have a concrete goal and can know whether I’ve met it each day, but I’m also allowing myself some flexibility to include variety and to allow for some experimentation to find out what best works for me.

So here is what I’m committing to for the next 365 days of self-care (starting today):

  1. For my mind: daily reading of at least one chapter of a book or one article in a magazine
  2. For my body: daily yoga for at least 5 minutes or one round of Sun Salutations
  3. For my spirit: daily spiritual practice for at least 5 minutes – this can be prayer, meditation (sitting, walking, or other), grounding and centering energetically, fire ceremony, or any other practice that brings me in touch with my spiritual center
  4. For my attitude: daily practice of gratitude by listing at least 5 things for which I am grateful in my gratitude journal
  5. For connecting with others: sending a message of some kind (email, FB message, letter, phone call) to someone I don’t regularly talk to or posting to a community discussion board at least once each day
  6. For healing: daily self-Reiki for at least 3 minutes
  7. For integration: daily journaling for a minimum of one page

This sounds like a lot to keep up with every day, but I’ve tried to keep my minimums low and my flexibility high so that these practices can be supportive of self-care and not just a long to-do list added to my plate. I’ll see how it goes. My focus is self-care, so if I find that this is not promoting the desired intent, I reserve the right to adapt my list to make sure I’m meeting the spirit of the intent. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, Happy Valentine’s Day to me. I look forward to learning to love me better over the next 365 days!