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My personal Valentine ...

In the words of Mother Ru …

“If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love anybody else – can I get an Amen up in here?”

No words have rang truer in the last months. We have barely recovered from the Christmas gift shopping frenzy and are still trying to catch our breath from the January sales that society is now pushing us to buy new gifts for our significant other for Valentine’s Day. Of course, we all enjoy receiving gifts, be they material or more experiential, and we all feel a little thrill when it was someone else who took the effort to find what we would like and what would make us happy.

But what if I were to tell you that that special someone can also be you, yourself?!

Without going too much into the whys and wherefores of how, by Victorian standards I would be considered an ‘old maid’, I want to share with you how in the last months, I have been falling slowly, but somewhat surely, back in love with myself. If you’re finding yourself solo this Valentine’s Day, take a little moment to appreciate the one person whom you can always rely on: yourself. This may come across a like a bit of an existential or philosophical rant, but truly, how many times have you really taken a moment to appreciate yourself? Even if you are in a relationship, why not allow yourself some time to take stock of what you have achieved, what your potential is, what you think and how you handle life … recognising this will bring out your best, whether you are flying solo or in company.

How am I doing this? I do not plan on giving you a manual or a to do list for this. Heck, I’m still discovering things for myself and some of the points I’m listing below are more of a rebuke for me to actually do them too! So, basically, be it on Valentine’s Day or any other day of the year (do we really need a specific day to show our love to those special to us, including ourselves?) here’s what this old maid – nay, make that Girl Boss - has to say …

Recognise the difference between being alone and being lonely

finding company in yourself, indulging in things you enjoy doing by yourself is not a sign of loneliness. You can feel lonely in a crowd and be incredibly fulfilled just walking the empty streets of your favourite city in silence and alone

Treat yo’self

this may be a dangerous one. I am not preaching bottomless spending sprees or liquid lunches. Exaggerating in your spending, drinking or eating will only lead to regret and self-hate later, and none of us need that do we? If you want to get yourself something nice – be it a new designer bag or a bottle of expensive bubbly – have a little tête-à-tête with yourself to evaluate the pros and cons before indulging. Once you are satisfied that the treat will not lead to any negative repercussions go for it, you’d have earned it

Take care of yourself

this is different from the one before. This is about treating your body as a temple, as something to cherish and nurture on the daily. Eat clean, exercise, meditate, go for walks in the park or visit a museum, read, learn something new, keep yourself hydrated (I’m talking H20 here not Moet …)… make this the time to truly live your best life and treat your body, mind and soul in the best way possible because, ultimately, they are your true life companions

Give yourself a challenge

give yourself the opportunity to bring out your resilience, your fighting spirit – don’t shop for 28 days (that’s what I’m doing), sign up and train for a run, learn a new language or a subject you never thought you’d need in life … the bottom line is to test yourself to recognise your strength and how much you can achieve even on your own – the progress will be enough of a motivation to keep you going

Go on a city break

perhaps if you’re finding it hard to deal with Valentine’s while single, this may not be the best time but, there are 51 more weeks in the year where you can take a city break – alone. I personally find solo travelling incredibly cathartic. You get time to listen to yourself, to what your body is telling you and what your mind is thinking without the clutter, noise and distractions of your everyday life. Be it your favourite city or one you’ve never been to, pack an overnight bag and just go

Declutter, organise and clean

I know this is very low on the glamour scale but have you ever noticed how lifted you feel after a good wardrobe or cosmetics purge? I may still be under the influence of Marie Kondo’s Netflix series but truly, clearing out clothes, cosmetics, random paperwork which is no longer relevant, etc etc from your life is incredibly cleansing for the mind and soul. Wiping down surfaces and spraying linens in your favourite Zoflora, generally giving your space a good clean while planning your week ahead and next city break (see above) also work wonders in giving you a space where you can find yourself and be happy in your own space.

I don’t know if any of this has been helpful at all but I’m trying. I’m doing this for myself as well and honestly, I wouldn’t give anyone advice I wouldn’t follow myself! If you have any tips or want to share your own experience, please do so … this space is yours as it is mine.

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