50 Ways to Practice Self-Love this Valentine’s Day

Think about the last time you were on an airplane. Remember that spiel about oxygen masks? The flight attendant gives a safety demonstration on what to do if the oxygen masks drop. “If there is a drop in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. … Be sure to secure yours before you help anyone else.” If you put the mask on your child or neighbor first, you could potentially pass out before you are able to put on your own mask. What if you translated this example into your day-to-day life? What would that kind of self-love look like exactly?

Making your well-being a priority is not about being selfish. It is about putting yourself first so that you are better equipped to help others and gracefully handle what the day brings. It is about loving yourself so that you can offer more love to the community around you.

Valentine’s Day gives us an amazing opportunity to focus on loving and honoring ourselves, to give thanks for everything that we’ve done, everything that we are blessed to have, and all that we are able to do. Whether you’re coupled up or flying solo this year, there’s no better time than the month of love to show yourself some TLC. Here are some ideas for treating yourself like the VIP Valentine that you are:

  1. Buy yourself fresh flowers.
  2. Take a long, relaxing bath.
  3. Clean your house or apartment.
  4. Watch your favorite movie. Even if it’s for the 20th time.
  5. Make yourself breakfast in bed.
  6. Repeat the following mantra, “I love and accept myself.”
  7. Have a mini pamper session.
  8. Make a list of fun activities to do and post on your fridge.
  9. Go for a run or a long walk.
  10. Start the day with two minutes of meditation.
  11. Fill your body with food and drink that nourishes it and makes it thrive.
  12. Dress your body lovingly in a gorgeous outfit.
  13. Do something for the first time.
  14. Throw your favorite jammies in the dryer for a few minutes so they’re nice and warm and put them on as soon as you come home from work.
  15. Listen to music. Just close your eyes and listen.
  16. Read a good book.
  17. Buy something you’ve always wanted.
  18. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself.
  19. Set the mood while cooking — candles lit, music on.
  20. Give yourself a manicure.
  21. Plan a fun weekend for yourself and your partner/friends/family.
  22. Write down 10 things you feel grateful for.
  23. Get your sweat on.
  24. Smile.
  25. Write yourself a love letter.
  26. When you grocery shop say, “I am choosing this for my body because I love her.”
  27. Give yourself a massage with beautifully scented lotion.
  28. Do something creative.
  29. Stand up straight and tall.
  30. Try a new, healthy recipe.
  31. Take a nap.
  32. Call your mom and tell her you love her (or your dad, sister, etc.).
  33. Oxygenate by taking three deep breaths.
  34. Put on some music and dance away.
  35. Commit to doing your hair and makeup for a week.
  36. Play video games.
  37. Allow yourself to have that piece of chocolate and savor every minute.
  38. Plan an adventure.
  39. Shut off your email and cellphone for an hour.
  40. Use scented candles or diffuse essential oils.
  41. Complete that project or goal you started.
  42. Play board games with friends or family.
  43. Give yourself a day off.
  44. Self-love mantra: “I am enough. I have enough. I do enough.”
  45. Wear your favorite perfume.
  46. Stretch.
  47. Cuddle with your pet. Or with your human.
  48. Watch a stand-up comedy show.
  49. Host a dinner party.
  50. Hire a coach or a counselor.

Have a wonderful, love filled and self-love filled Valentine’s Day! Be good to yourself, and if you feel you need more support, contact meemail me, or call me at (585) 615-6985 for a free initial phone consultation.


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7 Tips For Dealing With Criticism When You’re A Highly Sensitive Person

highly sensitive person
Hearing criticism is a challenge for most of us, but for the highly sensitive person (HSP), it can be especially distressing and downright devastating. HSPs tend to have more intense reactions to criticism than their non-sensitive counterparts, and as a result will often employ certain tactics to avoid criticism, such as people-pleasing, criticizing themselves first (before the other person has a chance to), and avoiding the source of the criticism altogether.

Criticism can cut deep, but it doesn’t have to be crippling. If you are a highly sensitive person and struggle with criticism, here are some strategies that are aimed to help you move and grow through these experiences more gracefully.


Determine if the criticism is constructive or destructive.


The difference between constructive and destructive criticism is the way in which the comments are delivered. Constructive criticism points out faults and includes advice or suggestions on how they can be corrected (“Always check your blind spot before changing lanes.”), whereas destructive criticism seeks to tear down or directly attack the person and does not include practical advice for improvement (“You’re doing it all wrong.”).


Don’t respond immediately.


Our first instinct when faced with criticism is to get defensive. Even when intended to be helpful, criticism can feel like rejection—which triggers our natural “flight or fight” response. But when we fire back immediately from a place of intense emotion, we often say things we regret later. As best you can, resist the urge to respond right away. Take a step back from the situation and think about how you’re going to process it. Wait until you’re in a calmer, clearer space before you say anything.


Avoid black-and-white thinking.


Many HSPs struggle with black-and-white thinking—meaning that they see themselves as a huge success one moment and a complete failure the next, based on their most recent accomplishment or failure. This type of thinking prevents people from seeing themselves as a cohesive, realistic whole—comprised of BOTH positive and negative traits. Stay present and give your thoughts a reality check. Once you’ve identified an extreme thought, ask yourself, “Where is the evidence that I’m the worst employee on the entire planet?”


Ask questions.


It can be easy to misinterpret even the slightest bit of negative criticism. Ask follow up questions to make sure you fully understand what is being said to you. This is especially important if the criticism received isn’t particular clear. One way to determine if you’re interpreting feedback correctly is to paraphrase the message you’ve heard and communicate it back to the other person, asking: “Am I understanding this correctly?”


Look for the nugget of truth.


It is said that there is a kernel of truth in every criticism. At the very least, a person’s criticism carries the truth of how that one person sees you. Allowing yourself to be open-minded to what you hear doesn’t mean you have to believe it or act upon it, but if you can find something to grow from, then by all means do it! Other people in our lives often act as mirrors to reflect back to us the things we cannot see for ourselves.  Find a way to use this as a learning experience to improve yourself.


Separate feelings from facts.


Don’t believe everything you feel! Feelings are not facts; feelings are feelings. They do not always objectively represent what is taking place around you. When HSPs hear criticism, it often triggers deep feelings of shame, embarrassment, frustration, anger, inadequacy, hopelessness, etc.—making it difficult for them to perceive the whole picture, instead narrowing in on those aspects of the situation that are most upsetting. Ask yourself if your feelings are based on present reality, on past experiences, or on fears you have about the future.


Do something nice for yourself.


Being open to criticism can be wounding for the highly sensitive person, and it’s not uncommon for their egos to feel bruised following a critique session. It’s important for HSPs to engage in good self-care following these experiences and do what they can to self-soothe/comfort themselves with something pleasurable—a funny movie, a long bubble bath, a good book, your favorite treat. Being warm and kind to yourself when the going gets rough will make a big difference in helping you achieve more balance and greater peace of mind.

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Self-Care for the Highly Sensitive Person

Self-care Highly Sensitive Person
Highly sensitive persons (HSPs) make up about 15% to 20% of the population. HSPs have a more finely-tuned nervous system than others—which makes it harder for them to filter out stimuli and easier to get overwhelmed by their environment. In short, HSPs over-feel everything, so self-care is quite important.

HSPs possess high levels of awareness, intuition, empathy and perceptiveness. They get hurt easily, can often read and feel the energy of other people, and are sometimes able to anticipate when something will happen before it does. Emotionally, HSPs are easily overstimulated up to a point where they may experience great pain or great joy. Physically, they need time and space to be by themselves to process the amount of input they absorb, and they may have low tolerance to noise and anything too strong when it comes to sensations. So, how does an HSP manage all of this overwhelm?

Two words: self-care. Consistent, quality self-care is critical for HSPs, and highly sensitive folks tend to have different self-care needs than the rest of the population. Here are 6 self-care rituals to help HSPs feel less stressed and more energized:

1. Grounding

When was the last time you walked barefoot on the earth? Grounding or “earthing” is the process of consciously realigning our energy with that of the Earth. Negative ions from the earth’s surface rush into our bodies to discharge the many unpaired positive ions, or free radicals, we’ve picked up in daily life. Some of the techniques that you can do to ground your body are probably already part of your daily life. My favorite grounding practice is just lying in the grass and looking up at the clouds on a sunny afternoon. Other ways to ground yourself include walking barefoot on the ground or at the beach, climbing a tree, or spending time in your garden—connecting with the earth and the plants.

2. Yoga and/or Meditation

Yoga and/or meditation practices work to quiet the mind and help individuals focus on one thing in the moment, which can be an excellent way for HSPs to calm their minds and nervous systems. HSPs tend to feel drained and frazzled frequently from being bombarded with stimuli coming in from all directions day in and day out. When practiced together, yoga and meditation strengthens the mind-body connection, improving overall health and wellbeing. You can meditate without practicing yoga by simply relaxing, clearing your mind and concentrating on controlled breathing.

3. Journaling

HSPs tend to be stuck in their heads—overthinking and overanalyzing EVERYTHING. Journaling can be an effective and cathartic way for the HSP to clear his or her mind. Whether you choose to use a digital journaling program, an app for your mobil device (I like ‘Day One’), or decide to just go old school with pen and paper, journaling offers an opportunity to reflect on everything in your world and provides a safe and sacred place to hold your thoughts and emotions without fear of judgment or reactions from others. Not sure what to write about? Try using some of these prompts: When I’m in pain—physical  or emotional—the kindest thing I can do for myself is…, Make a list of everything that inspires you — from books to websites to quotes to people to paintings to stores to the stars, If my body could talk, it would say…, What is your secret desire?, Write the words you most need to hear in this moment…

4. Massage

Schedule regular appointments for a body-work of your choosing. It could be massage, acupuncture, reiki, or whatever. The demonstrated and documented benefits of massage therapy are numerous and significant, and one of the best ways an HSP can soothe tension is by receiving a gentle massage. Since some HSPs may not feel comfortable being touched by strangers, they may benefit more from receiving a massage from a partner or close friend. Self-massage is also a tangible way to show your body some love and gratitude for all of the amazing things it does for you every day.

5. Salt Baths

Epsom salt baths are the highly sensitive person’s BFF—a primary recovery tool for a sensitive soul who takes on the energy of others. They have been used for centuries for relaxation and detoxification and offer numerous benefits, including relaxing sore muscles and soothing back pain, replenishing levels of magnesium in the body, curing skin problems, treating colds and congestion, and drawing toxins from the body. My favorite recipe is a lavender detox salt bath: 1 cup Epsom salts, 1 cup Baking Soda, and 10 drops of Lavender Essential oils.

6. Alone Time

Highly sensitive people need ample alone time to rejuvenate and feel replenished. HSPs are usually introverts, so that means they derive their energy from within themselves, not from external sources. They tend to avoid big crowds of people because it seems overwhelming and scary to them and will generally gravitate towards quieter activities, such as hiking in nature, drawing, writing, painting, or anything that allows them to express their creativity.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? What are your preferred self-care rituals?

Contact me todayemail me, or call me at (585) 615-6985 for a free initial phone consultation.

Click here for more information on Highly Sensitive Person Counseling.