5 Ways to a Better Valentine's Day

Before you roll your eyes at that title, let me preface this by saying: I think Valentine’s Day is a load of hokey bollocks (sorry, mum).

It’s such a total marketing scam to mark up the prices of chocolates, flowers and restaurant dinners for one day... And what a way to make single people feel lonely… :(

All cynicism aside, the idea of a day that celebrates love is a beautiful one, so why not turn that around to celebrate love from its most important source: self-love. Yup, without love of self, all other relationships would be a mess. First - get your own house in order, right?

Here are a few simple self-care ideas to treat yourself with this Valentine’s Day:  

1. Aromatherapy

Essential oils - Use them in a diffuser. Muji makes a good-looking, self-timing, electric one - so you never have to worry about unattended burning candles or the water running out. That’s a good Valentine’s gift to yourself!

You can also drop a few drops in a bath - using scents that are mood-enhancers or relaxants, whatever you’re looking for. My favourite combinations are:

  • Bergamot, lavender, geranium.
  • Bergamot, lavender, sage.
  • Sage, lavender.
  • Eucalyptus, Lavender, bergamot.
essentialoil.jpg

Incense is another good way to not only relax through scent, but also as a way to clear the energy in the room/ in your space. Some good grounding incense scents to try:

  • Sandalwood.
  • Nag Champa.
  • Frankincense.
  • Ylang Ylang.

 

2. Hot Baths

Use epsom salts, which contain loads of magnesium - a mineral that both relaxes the muscles as well as provides you with energy. [1]

Use a few drops of essential oils, as above, in the bath.

Foot baths work too if you don’t have a bathtub. Your feet have loads of nerve endings, so it’ll help relax you even if you don’t have a bathtub.

 

3. Floating Tank

Level-up on that bath! If you really want to treat yourself, consider heading to a floating tank/ sensory deprivation tank.

It’s basically a giant floating tank filled with tons of epsom salts, so the moment you sit in it, you float. You can choose to leave the tank door open/ closed, have the light inside on/ off, or the piped-in music underwater on/ off - depending how claustrophobic you can get.

This is one of my personal faves: I find it super relaxing and meditative, and have even fallen asleep during a floating session! In Amsterdam, check out Koan Float.

 

4. Make Time In Your Schedule For <insert activity here>, and DISCONNECT

Carve out the 1, 2, or 3 hours in your calendar for that day to spend time on anything you enjoy doing that you haven’t made time for recently. Just ensure it doesn’t involve you sitting and staring at a screen (sorry, watching TV and surfing the net don’t count!)

This could be anything from:

  • Reading.
  • Taking a long walk through the park/ forest.
  • Catching up with friends/ family.
  • Cuddling with your dog/ cat.
  • Heading to the beach.

DISCONNECT from your mobile/ tablet/ laptop/ wifi.

Your brain and eyes need a break from your daily grind in front of a screen.

 

5. Treat Yourself!

It’s the little things that can help give you a little boost, so treating yourself doesn’t need to be a huge, expensive production (unless you want it to be) ;p  

  • Fresh-cut flowers. They add a warm touch to every home!
  • Dark chocolate (2 small squares, not the whole bar!) Small amounts of dark chocolate can be beneficial as it releases a neurotransmitter in the brain that enhances positive moods. [2]
  • Massage/ Touch Therapy. Human touch has been researched to improve sleep-wake patterns [3], neuromotor development and emotional bonding [4]. So much so that there are now “professional cuddlers” (yup, platonic and non-sexual). If you’re not ready to go that far yet, a good old-fashioned massage also works a treat. ;)

How’s that for a start? If you're in need of more stress-busting, ME TIME! ideas, I'll be glad to help you out through the nutrition and lifestyle coaching services I provide, so get in touch! 

You might also be interested in other self-care blogs I've written, or how to start with meditation

Here’s wishing you: Happy Valentine’s Day to ME!

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REFERENCES:

  1. Waring, RH (2015). Report on Absorption of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) across the skin. Available: http://www.epsomsaltcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/report_on_absorption_of_magnesium_sulfate.pdf. Last accessed 13 Feb, 2017.
  2. Nehlig, A. (2013). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575938/. Last accessed 13 Feb, 2017.
  3. Marta IE, Baldan SS, Berton AF, et al (2010). The effectiveness of therapeutic touch on pain, depression and sleep in patients with chronic pain: clinical trial. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21337796. Last accessed 13 Feb, 2017.
  4. Kulkarni A, Kaushik JS, Gupta P, et al (2010). Massage and touch therapy in neonates: the current evidence. Available: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21048258. Last accessed 13 Feb, 2017.