Valentine’s Day has many of us thinking about love. Our love for others, their love for us and how many displays of affection will be enough to make us, or them, feel loved and adored. But we rarely think about the love we feel for ourselves.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the definition of self-love is a regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.  For many carers this is something that’s often forgotten or so way down on the to-do list that they can’t see it anymore. Self-love isn’t a priority and any thoughts of it get pushed aside as unimportant. But would you tell your friend that their well-being and happiness wasn’t important? Self-love should be seen as a self-kindness, treating yourself kindly, rather than harshly and extending the same care and support to yourself that you would to someone else.

Caring for You

For many, caring for a loved one can often mean losing yourself along the way. The person you were before your caring role is not the person you are today and your priorities may be different, but that doesn’t mean you should just forget about the old you. What did you like to do to, what made you feel good about yourself, what made you happy?  In the same way you would make the effort to protect a friendship or a relationship, it’s worth putting in the time for you too.

Benefits to Health

Research published in the journal, Clinical Psychological Science showed that there is also a benefit to our health.  People who practiced self-compassion displayed lower heart rates and stronger immune systems. That’s got to be a good reason to love yourself more.

Putting it into Practice

So, remind yourself how amazing you are on a regular basis. If a friend or loved one was feeling down you would be the first person to tell them how wonderful they are. Why not do the same for yourself?  Showing yourself a bit of love and affection isn’t selfish, it’s critical to your sense of self, your wellbeing and the way you deal with the things life throws at you.  Write a list of all the things you and others love about you and stick it somewhere prominent so that you don’t forget.

If you need a bit of help to get started here are 21 tips from Tiny Buddha to release that self-neglect and incorporate a bit of self-love.

Lots of love,

The CSW Team

Jules Stanbridge