Valentine’s Gifts for Every Body (that includes YOU!)
Remember the Valentine mailbox you made each year in grade school? Decorated with red and pink hearts and other symbols of love, it was ready to receive the little white envelopes with a candy or two taped to the outside from your classmates. Before long, the innocence of giving a caring message to everyone was replaced with a romantic appeal to that special someone. Maybe you and your special someone still exchange gifts, the traditional roses or box of candy.
This year on the MSU campus, Valentine’s Day occurs during Eating Disorders Awareness Week. That happenstance makes the messages that every body is beautiful, every body is important, and every body is deserving of wellness care particularly meaningful.
The one person who really knows what you need to lovingly care for yourself is you. So what are you doing for you this Valentine’s Day? Here are some ways you can care for yourself like no one else can:
- Self-compassion—When you start with self-compassion, everything else will seem more achievable. By acknowledging your humanness, you are better able to accept yourself and the imperfections that make you interesting and unique—that is, human! In her book, Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind, Kristin Neff, associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin, suggests writing a letter to yourself from the perspective of an imaginary friend who loves you unconditionally despite your weaknesses and in celebration of your strengths.
- Rest—Sleep is a necessity and can seem like a gift when you get enough of it. Rest has more to do with mental renewal, for example, taking time for your hobbies, connecting with family and friends, performing a service for others or just being with nature.
- Movement—Discover what you enjoy doing, or maybe you already know. Your amazing body does so much for you. It just needs a little movement each day to keep on performing at its best.
- Nourishment—The “how” of eating is so much more of a gift than the “what” or the “how much.” Start off with a plan—whether preparing a meal for yourself, going to the store for the food that has been on your mind, or taking yourself to a restaurant with a relaxed atmosphere—you will feel cared for by the planning process itself. Once the meal is in front of you, take a cleansing breath to bring your mind to the present and to the pleasure of the experience. You just may decide to eat all of your meals this way!
- Check-up—A visit to your health care provider for a routine check-up and recommended health screenings is one of the best ways to love your body. Find out which health screenings you need at HealthWise Knowldege Base (enter “interactive tool for health screenings” in search box). Then give your health care provider’s office a call and schedule an appointment for a routine physical exam.
Today is a great day to begin taking the best care of the person you will be with for the rest of your life—you!
Add a comment to expand the list or to share how you showed love and compassion for yourself this Valentine’s Day (or any day).
- Neff, K. (2011). Self-compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. HarperCollins: New York.
- Davidson, L., & Novello, J. (2006). 10 Factors That Contribute to Our Emotional Wellness.
accessed February 13, 2012.
- Satter, E. (2008). Secrets of Feeding a Healthy Family: How To Eat, How To Raise Good Eaters, How To Cook. Kelcy Press: Madison, WI.
- HealthWise Knowledge Base. Interactive Tool: Which Health Screenings Do You Need?
accessed February 14, 2012.