What does it mean to self love? At this time of year, full of red roses, heart shaped biscuits, and awkward couples sat opposite in restaurants not talking to each other, it makes some who are single question whether they’ll ever find love, some in couples question what the hell are they doing with the person opposite, some happy in their own place think what the hell is all this bollocks about.

A lot is also made of self love, especially when it comes to yoga – heart opening, powerful yoga to exorcise whatever love banishing demons you’re harbouring in your soul.

My view is, once you’ve waded through the glittery hearts on cards, it’s actually a very useful time, as we’re far enough into the year that the resolutions we didn’t keep, and the official wagon-falling-off, has already taken place, and this period can be a reminder to review your purpose and direction, and what makes you feel happy.

I like to think of it instead, as the time for self care actually. Where you are on your mat, in your practise is representative of where you are in your life, so where are you at the moment? Are you really looking after yourself even just a bit in your busy life, constantly juggling balls and pushing yourself to capacity? What do you have in your bag of tricks that could make you just a bit more happy? Can you love one of the traits you wouldn’t think to immediately self love, as no matter how strange or frustrating – they’re there to protect, strengthen or bring joy.

Those small nods to self care have huge energetic potential.

So in the spirit of that, here are 5 small ways I’ve been attempting to self care so far in 2018…

Getting my house in order:

I have recently read Spark Joy by Marie Kondo to kick the year off – a tough read for a lifetime hoarder. Yes the book might essentially be about tidying, but the premise is simple – discard things that have served their purpose and might make others happy, or keep them and use them and love them. Sounds simple I know, but it’s enabled me to re-discover clothes and books and art I’ve had buried away – the “things” that have defined my life so far, and it’s nice to bloody see them. All hoarders read immediately.

Blue Light:

If you’re a part time insomniac as I, it’s been suggested that the blue light from our phones messes with our circadian clocks. If you can bear it, don’t check your phone before bed! Or even during the night as your melatonin levels plummet through the floor and you’re back to square 1 of counting sheep again and fearing sunrise. You could even get yourself a nifty filter. And I know one last look at instagram is desperately alluring, but try with all your might to avoid it before bed. Get one of those books you’ve rediscovered at the back of the cupboard out instead.

Seize the Moment:

What are you doing right now – (I mean apart from reading this)? Im guilty of floating along in life on autopilot – at a pace which makes it feel like I’m on a magic carpet, flying by the seat of my pants. A simple way to address this in some small part is to take time to do those things we do subconsciously – in an act of being present – slowly and mindfully. For example, I’ve taken to “checking in” when I’m washing my hands and using the fancy hand cream in restaurants, enjoying the simple act of putting on my same old eyeliner in the morning, and been walking to work instead of getting the tube – it takes an hour but I can think, I’m not sweaty at my destination and I can look at the dirty pigeons and breathe in London’s fusty air instead.

Dance in your Pants:

Combining the best things in life – a favourite song, and dancing with wild abandon whilst no one is looking. This has the ability to change my mood and raise the endorphin levels in a few short body pops (NB. I wish I could body pop). I’ve recently had shutters installed so it makes the pants bit much more discreet.

Fall in love again:

I’ve been working out what the small things that bring me happiness that are mine. They might be weird and wonderful, but little hobbies or routines you can devote sacred time to gives you such a sense of accomplishment away from the stresses of the day. Developing my own Yoga practise, going for a walk and talk with my better half, and even writing down these ramblings and sharing, even to one person, brings me great happiness.

And on one final note on self care – love yourself, and the people you love with all you can muster.

I love this poem called One Love which embodies this sentiment. Happy Valentines x

By Jana Dvorska, from The Poetry of Yoga, Volume 1, Page 132

Come into the light

Hold each other’s hearts

Keep a tranquil mind

Full of hope and serenity

Believe anything is possible

Imagine yourself where you want to be

It will become reality

Limitless imagination will change the world

Set your intention and accomplish

Believe it and you will live it

Come together

Unite as one love

The universe is infinite unity

Universal is love

Be love

Feel love within your entire being

Let it radiate out into the world

Touch everyone you meet with your light and love