As I shared on Grace & Spunk before, I am on a dating hiatus. It feels like I went on hiatus about two or three months ago, but it has only been 20 days. I don’t know if this means that I miss dating so it feels like I’ve gone so long without it or I’m just loving my time alone that it feels like it’s been a lot longer.
Regardless, I have started spending intentional time with myself. That may sound silly since whenever you aren’t with someone else, you are alone. And since I live alone, I obviously spend a lot of time with myself. The difference comes in the intentionality of how I spend the time.
I devoted this past Friday to a self-love/self-care day. I still went to work like normal, but it was how I chose to spend my time outside of work and how I chose to treat myself all day that reflected my self-love/self-care. My motivation was that I noticed Ifelt out of sync with myself and I made a big announcement that day, so I needed to be extra nice to myself.
I spend very little money on any given week because I am on a strict budget, but on Friday I treated myself to a couple donuts for breakfast and then went out for lunch. When in line to get the donuts, I started to get nervous that I would be late to work. The anxiety led to negative self-talk and nearly ruined my self-love day about ten minutes into it. The nasty self-talk set-in and I immediately reframed it:
“You wouldn’t say this to anyone else! Why are you saying to yourself?”
I then said nice things to myself about how this was going to be a relaxing, stress-free day of self-love. It’s interesting that the negative self-talk was a reflex, but had to really focus to get myself to say anything positive. It really showed me just how nasty we are to ourselves as humans, but particularly as women.
Next was hopping on the train, transferring to another train, and then a short walk to work. No matter how chill you are as a person, commuting in NYC during rush hour is stressful. I put on my iPod and again took the time to say nice things to myself and play my impending day out positively in my mind.
When lunch rolled around, I headed out. It was only at a fast food restaurant, but I sat down in the restaurant and took the time to enjoy my food. I made my taste-buds acknowledge each flavor. I ate without rushing. I took deep breaths and released pent-up tension from my body.
I finished eating with some time before I had to return to work, so I decided to take a walk in nearby Battery Park. I stopped and bought some gifts to include in a care package I’m gathering for my parents. I tried to be present in the moment– observing the tree blossoms, listening to the tourists talking, watching the ships head toward the coast. I paused for a moment to look out at the Statue of Liberty and appreciate the gifts I have in my life, particularly the opportunity to live in New York City.
As I was preparing to walk back to work, a young man approached me in the park with a box of fruit snacks. I smiled politely, mouthed “No thank you,” and tried walking away. He put his hand up and politely asked me if I would be willing just to let him tell me about his fundraiser because he and seven of his peers were required to spend a few hours in the park raising money. Having been in his position many times before, I agreed to help. Turns out they were from the Bronx and were raising funds to buy new sports uniforms. He thanked me for stopping and listening, and then asked how I thought he did. I told him he did well and I had done it before, so I knew it was difficult. I asked how much the fruit snacks were. He explained the price and how much the group got from each sale. So I bought a pack of the strawberry.
I headed back to the office and encountered a stressful afternoon that was out of my control. I did my best to handle it without losing my peace that came from my self-love day. I was grateful when 5:00 rolled around and I got to head home. I once again listened to my iPod on my way home and reflected on all the things in life I was grateful for. I stopped and bought some produce at a nearby store, then headed home and spent the evening watching reruns ofThe West Wing.
My self-love/self-care day was a success. When I began to feel stressed or caught myself saying mean things to myself, I thought:
“What would you say or do in this situation if you were on a date or if your partner was saying this to themselves or feeling this?”
The answer to that question became my response. In relationships, I go out of my way to be supportive, loving, helpful, and available to my partner, but that this is seldom reciprocated back to me. I am left feeling let down and hurt. After reflecting on my self-love/self-care day, I realized that I need to be supportive, loving, helpful, and available to myself. I cannot expect someone to do things for me that I won’t do for myself.
Have you taken a self-love/self-care day? What do you do? What little ways do you find to love yourself each day? What things are you looking for in a relationship that you first need to give yourself? Answer in the comments below.
© All Rights Reserved
Chynna Haas, founder/editor, is an eternal entrepreneur and blogger who was born and raised in Wisconsin, but now calls Brooklyn home. She enjoys snail mail, laughing, potatoes, and exclamation points!!! She’s currently working on mastering the athletic pursuits mastered by the average seven-year old.