How to build a deeply loving relationship with yourself A memory washed over me this weekend – one that I had completely put to the back of my mind. It made me stop in my tracks and sent shivers down my spine.
I had a flashback to a time I needed to buy my son some nappies and I was so overdrawn my card got declined at the shop.
I can still feel the shame that flooded over me now.
I was unable to provide for my baby boy.
As a single parent, I didn’t feel I had anywhere to turn. I can’t remember how I made do that day, but I did. It left me feeling utterly helpless as a mother. I knew that I never ever wanted to feel that feeling again.
What had led to this was a deep sense of a lack of self-worth.
If I had money, I frivolously spent it on things I didn’t need because I didn’t believe I was worthy of receiving and spending filled a hole within me.
I used alcohol and food to fill that gaping hole too. I was tired, overweight, lonely and sad.
What I was missing was a deep love and acceptance of myself.
Something, I personally believe, we don’t get taught enough in our western society…that worth isn’t outside of ourselves – it is deeply innate and within.
We are all worthy, we are all special, we are all unique, we are all talented and we all should be celebrated in our own individual right.
There were a couple of other rock bottoms that followed the nappy incident…and these fuelled me to want something better.
I was not prepared to live this way for my son or myself any longer.
It took me on a ten year journey of learning to build a deeply loving relationship with myself.
During this time I have learned many techniques and practices that help me maintain a higher level of happiness and joy and as we move into a second lockdown, I thought I’d share my top 10 happiness practices that you may find helpful too.
Top 10 happiness practices
💜 Eat well – Your nutrition is essential for your happiness and wellbeing. You are made of 50 trillion cells squished together to make you who you are. Each one needs nutrients to have energy – just imagine there are 50 trillion hungry parts of you requiring you to take care of them!! You literally are what you eat. If your cells have energy, you have energy. Eat veggies, eat colours, avoid sugar and processed food – if it came in a box from a factory, it is probably not good for you! Your immune system is dependent on you eating great food – eat well, stay well.
💜 Stay hydrated – Water is essential to remove toxins from your body, carry vitamins around, keep your cognitive function healthy and maintain energy levels. You are 70% water – you need to keep it topped up. Two litres a day is the sensible amount of water to help your body stay healthy and well. Keep alcohol levels to a minimum.
💜 Move – Movement is essential, not to burn calories but for your happiness. It keeps you motivated, it improves your cardiovascular function, brain function, bone and muscle strength and releases loads of happy hormones. Choose a movement you love and do it regularly.
💜 Get into a good routine – Your sleep is essential to your health and wellbeing, you sleep better when you eat better and are in a good routine. Go to bed at the same time every day, reduce your screen time an hour before you go to bed and make sure your phone is not kept in your bedroom (if you use your phone as an alarm – buy an alarm clock). Commit to your exercise routine and plan your food for the week ahead – planning ahead is so helpful in helping make sure you don’t get caught out on those busy days. Factor in some downtime on a daily basis – even it is just 30 minutes focused on your breath, on slowing down and being away from your phone and computer.
💜 Contribute – Help others in your community. If we all did 1% better, that would make a massive improvement so think about how you could do 1% more in your community. Perhaps there is a neighbour on your street who could do with some help or a bit of company by knocking on their door and saying a socially distanced hi!
💜 Gratitude – Gratitude has been one of the most life-changing practices I have ever implemented. It brings us into the moment and switches us from thinking about what we haven’t got or haven’t done to all that is very special in our lives. It reduces anxiety and depression. Think of three things you are grateful for every day and let the emotion of those things fill your heart…despite what is happening in our world, there are always things to be grateful for.
💜 Breath – Your breath is essential, not in just the obvious sense but also when you breathe properly into your belly you move into your parasympathetic nervous system which means you are calm and in your green zone where your body can function in homeostasis – deep belly breaths on a regular basis is very important. When you breathe in your belly should inflate, when you breathe out, your belly should draw in – have a go!
💜 Be kind to yourself – Your thoughts matter. What you think becomes what you believe and what you believe you put into action. Please be kind to yourself – it is one of the most important things you will ever do. Practice being aware of your thoughts and choosing kind and loving ones. Talk to yourself in the same way as you talk to the most precious person in your life.
💜 Do What You Love – Do a little of what you love every day – feed your soul. A core human need is fun and adventure. Lockdown challenges that need so we need to find a way of fulfilling it – what do you love to do and how are you going to do it? Yes watching a little Netflix every day is fine but if we let it slip into all-day TV watching it doesn’t feel good – be disciplined with doing things that feed your soul as well.
💜 Connect with others – Another core human need is connection – again lockdown obviously challenges that. You are allowed to meet one person outside of your house to exercise and if you are isolating make sure you connect to people every day via video or phone.
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