Image of a woman in a forest

My mom died a few weeks ago from complications of End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). As I move through this phase of my life, healing slowly, I feel the need to write about something that's been on my mind lately - Self-love! I feel it is one of the most crucial things for mental, emotional, and physical wellness. I also feel that most of us, especially women, don’t practice it enough. We are so caught up with giving and nurturing others that we forget ourselves in the process, only to find out many years later that our body has kept score of everytime we put everyone else's needs before our own, every time we harbored resentment for the sacrifices we make, everytime we went on those unnecessary emotional roller coasters because that's how stressful our life was.

As we move through life, we forget how it is to nurture 'ourselves' and to practice 'self-love'. We forget that in the end, this is our journey and ours alone. So, it's important to take care of our body, mind, and spirit in this life... to care for it as much as we care for others.

So, how do we practice self-love? Well, there are many ways to do it, however, I'm sharing only the ones that resonate with me the most.

  • Learn to say no. When was the last time you said – ‘No. I don't feel well. Let's do this another time?’ 'No. You carry on.' The next time you are unable to do something 100%, please say 'No'. You will thank me later.

  • Split responsibilities. Yes - split some of those mundane daily responsibilities with your partner and family members. Or find someone to help you with those chores. It will lighten up your load and keep the respect intact in your relationships.

  • Keep toxic people at bay. If you are surrounded by people who constantly want you to listen to their sob stories, want your attention, interfere too much in your life, or drain you... time to say goodbye to them. How do you expect to function if you're giving away your energy to someone else's sadness and drama all the time?

  • Come back to center. Are you always catching a cold? Do you have recurring headaches? Are you anxious all the time? Is everything around you chaotic all the time? These are definite signs you are off balance. Go visit a doctor if you need to. If not - eat right, exercise, meditate, and relax. Everything else will start falling into place once you do.

  • Find a way to relax. Get a massage, do some breathwork, sleep it off, walk in nature, soak in a warm aromatic bath, put on some relaxing music. Do what feels right to you, but do it.

  • Do something to lift your spirits. Read, watch, or listen to something uplifting. Meet friends and bond over a meal. You can also dance... paint... volunteer... sing… write... click photographs... find something to nurture your inner being and to offer yourself some love. It's a great way to connect with yourself and to bring joy back into your life.

  • Forgive yourself. You are allowed to make mistakes, just like everyone else. So don’t beat yourself up about everything that didn’t turn out right in your eyes. Forgive yourself and move on! Practice self-love.

Before I go, I will leave you with a parting thought!

Imagine just breathing out all the time or just breathing in all the time. You can’t. You have to breathe in and breathe out. And it doesn't stop there. What you breathe out, plants take in and what they give out, you take in. There is give and take everywhere if you look closely. That’s the rhythm of life. So, give to others… but learn to take as well. If that means taking the time out to nurture and love yourself, so be it! If that means taking a hug from someone you just helped with something, so be it. Find what works for you and take it!