I’m getting pretty tired of the mass marketing for romance around February 14. “Order now and get a sweet deal. Show your girlfriend how much you love her with this stunning bouquet of red roses.” Gag.
What happened to the true love that didn’t require an obscene amount of red roses, over-priced chocolates and fluffy teddy bears that get thrown in the back of your closet on February 15?
Whether you have a significant other or not, you still need to show yourself some love. Since I put my long-term relationship on pause, I realized I had forgotten to love myself unconditionally. What ever happened to doing something to make you happy instead of everyone else in your life? Yes, I’m telling you to be unashamedly selfish.
Challenge yourself to make not only February 14, but all of February, about you.
There’s a website in your history that you’ve revisited over and over again. You’re all googly eyes over that new bag or that pair of kick-ass heels. This time, instead of clicking the red X and wishing you could call it yours, you’re going to buy it. Give yourself a gift this month and make it a good one. Make it a gift that you smile over every single time you look at it because you bought it.
2. Reflect & Journal
How many times have you given someone a compliment and they replied with, “No, it’s really no big deal.” Doesn’t that drive you crazy? People don’t give themselves enough credit. We are insanely complicated and incredible human beings, yet no one seems to acknowledge that.“I go for long runs through the battlefields at Gettysburg College and usually climb the observation towers to reflect,” said Gettysburg College sophomore Marion McKenzie. Take time out of your busy schedule, whether it be 15 minutes or an hour and write yourself a note. What did you do today that you’re proud of? If you don’t take time to reflect on who you are as a person and everything you’ve accomplished, then you’re missing out on a lot.
3. Make Yourself Smile
You look better and feel better when you smile. Smiling helps to reduce stress, can change your mood around, inspires others around you to be happier and helps with productivity. Think about it: If you walked into a room with a bunch of people moping around with a sad look on their face, your mood will probably decline pretty quickly. On the flip side, a room filled with smiling faces can do wonders for your work ethic and overall demeanor.“I love to hide sticky notes for my roommates to find with encouragements, silly jokes or just saying I love you. Seeing them smile when they find them makes me happy,” said Gettysburg College sophomore Laura Fodale. Everyone loves happy people, so do yourself and others a favor and smile.
4. Go on an Adventure
Surprise yourself. The best thing I did for myself in 2016 was going on three solo trips while studying abroad in Europe. I felt absolutely frightened by the idea of going on my own to countries with unknown languages, currencies and cultures. I feared I’d get lonely or homesick, and I worried about handling the responsibility. Little did I know those three trips would become some of my favorite memories during my four-month adventure. The best way to know what you’re capable of is to challenge yourself just a bit past that level of comfort. You’ll walk around with a whole new sense of confidence.
5. Get Rid of Toxicity
Fill the minutes of every day with people that make you smile, give you good advice and make you realize incredible things about yourself. There should only be room for positivity in your life. “The best thing I ever did was get rid of ‘friends’ who only added negativity to my life. It’s hard to be happy when everyone around you is trying to bring you down,” said University of Michigan senior Emily Waters.
6. Get Pampered
Are your nails long overdue for a manicure? Maybe you need a good trim or are dying for an intense facial. So take a few hours out of your Saturday to get pampered. It’ll make you feel fresh and entirely new. Cut off the dead ends, get a fresh coat of paint and you’ll glow. There’s nothing like some good self-help once in a while. “I love taking one night with my roommate and friends and doing a face mask for an hour in my room. It’s so relaxing,” said Gettysburg College junior Michael Mancino.
7. Go MIA
Going incognito once in a while won’t hurt anyone. Turn on that “do not disturb” mode for a bit. You’ll realize how liberating it feels to completely detach from your hundreds of social media connections. “I take official ‘Kaela days.’ I go completely incognito, I keep my phone on ‘do not disturb,’ and I just treat myself. I get that manicure I’ve needed for three months, I treat myself to a delicious dinner, I go to that museum that I’ve been dying to go to,” said City College of New York junior Kaela Murphy. “…[The] little things, the new book, the cup of coffee, they matter.”
Don’t get scared away. Whether you exercise regularly or occasionally make it to the gym when your best friend drags you there, taking care of your body is incredibly important. Despite my daily struggles of making it to the gym, I know it makes me feel and perform so much better. I’m more alert in my classes after a few-mile jog in the morning and I’m more fun around my friends. I even handle stress a lot better. Even if it pains you to step foot on that treadmill and do those 30 minutes of cardio, know that it’s helping your mind, body and spirit. Show your body some love.
9. Set Goals
Cross things off your to-do list. Before you tackle one more day this week, consider why you’re doing everything in the first place. What are you trying to accomplish in this crazy schedule you somehow maintain? I start every Monday with a few goals that I want to accomplish. It usually motivates me through the entire week, whether it be going to the gym four days that week, getting coffee with my friends or applying for one internship per week. While those tasks don’t seem that daunting, they keep me focused and aligned with myself.
10. Go Crazy
Don’t go jump off a bridge, but seriously…loosen up a bit. Let that hair down and have some fun. Go out with your gal-pals or buddies and finally give yourself a chance to laugh. There’s nothing more refreshing than a nice dinner out with your friends and moments that you’ll remember (hopefully) for a very long time.