It’s only natural to want to hide what winter hibernation has done to our bodies – whether that is an extra 10 pounds, unshaven legs, or a wardrobe that is not quite up to date. But hiding leads us to ignore ourselves, our wants, and needs, causes us to feel shameful about our own bodies or habits, and causes us to avoid joyful events that would force us to reveal what lies under the puffy winter jacket. I’m not about to tell you how to lose excess weight for spring – that would simply harbor more unhealthy feelings of shame. Instead, I hope you read on to learn how you can rediscover and appreciate the real you.
The cost of being comfortable in your own skin, and ultimately enjoying life rather than simply living life, is time (to be specific, half an hour a week). Schedule this time in your planner with PEN, and make it at a time that you know you can commit to every week. By prioritizing yourself for this chunk of time, you’re already telling yourself that you are worth it. What to do during these 30 minutes? Self-affirmations. Start by reading a book or listening to a CD on self-affirmations or create your own personal mantra that you can repeat to yourself slowly and with emotion (e.g., I am strong and healthy, and I love myself). Just remember, it’s normal to find many mantras or statements too strong right now – just continue to listen. Eventually you will realize that there is nothing selfish about taking care of yourself.
After you’ve adhered to 1⁄2 hour a week, try spending (gasp!) 1 hour out of the 168 hours a week on yourself. This way you can allow time for you to clear your head, get away from distractions, and really listen to what your body is telling you. This may take the form of a bath with candles, a foot soak while listening to an entire album of your choice, a spa facial, going to a coffee shop and reading a novel or magazine, or going for a walk at just the right pace in a beautiful area (even if it means driving to get there). All of these ideas may sound selfish, but treating your self right not only enhances confidence, it can increase productivity in other daily tasks, and help you differentiate between being a great house-cleaner/baker/cook from being somebody who pours too much time into tasks in attempt to avoid underlying issues.
Another great opportunity for you to reveal the inner you is by sharing your talents. If you like to garden, add your house to your neighborhood garden tour. Like public speaking? Chances are it’s because you’re good at it. Volunteer at Toastmasters. Make a good Mexican dish? Host a themed dinner party. Know how to run, skate, or swim? Offer to teach someone you know who would like to learn. And when the receivers of your gifts thank and compliment you, don’t shun them it off. Accept praise graciously – it is true! Accepting the fact that you have talent is a great first step in self-appreciation. Today, compliment the world with your presence! Take more time