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Me, Myself, and Self-Care

Valentine’s Memories

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s easy to mark this as a Hallmark holiday, as nothing to really celebrate, especially if you check the single box. My core memories of Valentine’s Day haunt me from middle school: we made mail slots from tissue boxes (am I dating myself?) and had to buy and write a valentine to everyone in our class. I always had to buy two packs, which seemed wasteful, because the valentine packages only had 24 pieces, and I always had more than 30 kids in my class. Talk about a hand cramp… as a 6th grader, writing 31 valentines to her entire class was quite an undertaking!

Instead of getting “more romantic” as I moved into adolescence, Valentine’s Day just seemed to get more disappointing and awkward. Where were all the secret admirers with candies and roses everyone always talked about?! As I got older, I realized that Valentine’s Day doesn’t actually have to revolve around 31 of your classmates, or a partner, or the hope of an admirer, or even around other people at all. Valentine’s Day is a special day on the calendar that can be utilized for one of my favorite things in the whole world: self-care.

If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

How to be your best Valentine

Ru Paul says it best: “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” It was with that declaration that I reclaimed Valentine’s Day as a day for myself. And this is my rallying cry, for the world to do the same.

This Valentine’s Day, consider making time to love yourself the way you want to be loved. Pay attention. Be generous. How, you ask? By practicing some self-care, baby! We all know that self-care can be a lot easier said than done, so we reached out to the Hopelab staff to jot down some ideas. Here—get your brain munching on some ways to indulge on this DAY of SELF LOVE.

Self-Care Hot Takes:

Self love! That’s a hard one… I’m really good at taking care of other people: my daughter, my husband, my coworkers, my family—the list goes on and on. Self-care always seems to come last on the list. I’ve found that doing little things often has the best effect on my mood. Here are some of my tricks: wearing a bright lipstick on a dreary winter day; taking a hot shower, putting on cozy pajamas, and hopping into bed with a good book at 8 PM; turning up Lizzo extra loud and really feeling the music, and hitting the gym—sweating out all the stress of the day. These little things help keep me a little bit more sane.
Robin Raskob, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager
Self-love to me is M*F* boundaries…<br /> To me, boundaries are what protect us from things entering our space that can destroy your soul or bandwidth. Look, you can do all the mani-ing and pedi-ing, vacationing, champagne-sipping you want, but if you don’t create healthy boundaries for yourself, all of that “self-care” will go to waste.
Cynthia Bazan, ILN Director
Valentine’s Day was always a really important holiday in my family, more so than Thanksgiving or even Christmas. For us, it was a way to show love and affection for our family, and as I got older this idea extended to my close network of friends. For me, sharing my appreciation with others is my version of self-care. You don’t need a holiday to tell people you love them, but what a great reminder to have an entire day be about just that.
Monique Jaquez, Office Manager
It takes just 10 minutes a day…I get in ten minutes a day of meditation, often in the Hopelab quiet room. If I have time for more morning or night I extend it, but this short, doable ritual has been a great anchor for a practice that helps my mental well-being immensely!
Margaret Laws, CEO
One amazing self-love principle I have come to realize over the years is about forming and changing habits. I have found when you are trying to practice a new habit and that desire is rooted in a place of self-love (in comparison to wanting to please another person, or self-hatred, let’s say), your habit is more likely to manifest itself in the long term.
Caroline Fitzgerald, Project Lead

As you can see, self-care takes many shapes and forms for many different people. I also ask you to notice that not all of these tips require financing behind them. Sometimes, I think people confuse self-care with spending money, and while they can go hand-in-hand, it’s not the only way to practice the art of self-care. I call it an art because learning to love yourself is a DAILY challenge we all must engage with.

Healing People Heal

Personally, I take self-care almost too seriously. Ask my friends, my boyfriend, my co-workers—they all know I am the QUEEN of self-care. Self-care or bust. Seriously, I love self-care so much I preach it as my religion. But it was a journey to get here. My favorite forms of self-care include face masks, journaling, going to yoga with my favorite instructor, and cooking something from scratch.

Find something this holiday that gets you in the mood to love yourself. And if that’s not enough, Caroline made a great point when we were talking about this subject, saying, “You know, healing people heal.” When we take the time and effort to heal ourselves, it has a ripple effect on those around us. Which, in my opinion, is way better than getting a tiny valentine in a dressed-up tissue box.

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