IBD | Information | Ostomy
Have you ever heard the expression that you have to love yourself before you can love others? What if the problem is that you are finding it hard to love yourself?
I know from personal experience, that sometimes I don’t love myself. My eyes get squinty when I smile, my double chin drive me nuts, I have scars, stretch marks, and my thighs will always touch. I am always tired and I get super grumpy when I am hungry. Everyone has different ideas about what their perfect body would look like, or what type of characteristics they should possess.
Unfortunately, living with a chronic illness that requires me to have a permanent ileostomy, sometimes it feels like there are more things about my body that I don’t like, than I do. But learning to love yourself isn’t only about loving your body, it’s about ALL of you. Self-love is something that I struggle with, but also something that I have really been working on, so I want to share with you some of the things that I have found to be helpful.
10 Tips for Self-Love:
1. Meditate- Take 10 minutes out of every day to clear your mind and breathe. There are some great apps out there if you are a tech person, otherwise, just find somewhere to sit in silence for a few minutes and concentrate on breathing in healthy air, and breathing out pain and/or negative thoughts. I visualize filling my lungs, inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 5 seconds.
2. Learn to have fun solo- Spend some 1:1 time with yourself. This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive but should be intentional. Set a date, every other week or monthly- take a hike, go to a coffee shop and start a new book, go shoe shopping, go to the movies, etc.
3. Start a journal- If you aren’t someone who has a knack for writing, then start by listing. Each day list 5 things you are thankful for, 3 things you are proud of yourself for, or 2 things you want to achieve….something along those lines. Then after you have been doing it for a while take the time to read back through it and think about the ways that your life has changed.
4. Take a Social Media break- I am the first to tell you that when I want to know what’s going on with something, Facebook is my go-to source for gossip. However, it can also be a source of angst for me, one where I feel like I have to compare myself to others or compete for likes. Sometimes it can be refreshing to take even just a short break, and engage in real life human interactions.
5. Make a kind gesture- Doing something nice for someone else can be a great way to fill your bucket. I love thank you cards, more specifically hand writing them for others. It’s old school, but I think it really lets the recipient know that you took time and effort to show some genuine appreciation.
6. Learn to say no- This is not always easy, and can at times be downright hard. Especially for people with a chronic illness, creating boundaries and saying no is imperative to preserve your health and energy, while also promoting self-love.
7. Try a new hobby- Work to uncover those hidden talents you never knew that you had! This can take some trial and error, for example, I CAN NOT knit, but after a few helpful YouTube tutorials, I can now crochet with the best of them. This spring, I am jumping right out of my comfort zone and hoping to try ax throwing!
8. Make a Vision Board- I am sure that you have seen lots of posts about vision boards, they are especially big in the New Year, but they can also be helpful when working towards goals and trying to achieve personal growth. Putting things down on paper and having them in your line of sight as a reminder are great ways to promote personal accountability.
9. Make a List- I LOVE lists. Lists can be about anything: To do lists, achievement lists, bucket lists. I keep at fluid to do list, sometimes I feel like it’s never ending, but I love crossing things out, that way I can see everything that I have completed!
10. Share your success- Toot your own horn. When you have accomplishments, share them! Girls with Guts is a great community for those kinds of posts. We love to hear about all the great things that you are doing, and who knows you might be an inspiration to someone else!
Have you tried any of these things before? If not, maybe you should.
Did you know that there is no other person in this world that is as special as you are? You deserved to be loved by yourself and by others. So, take some time to become an expert in self-love, and fall in love with yourself! It’s not about being cocky or conceited, it’s about getting the most out of the life that you have been given, and making the most of the special and unique gifts that you possess.
Charlotte is a 30-something year old from Michigan. She has had a permanent ileostomy for the past 5 years due to Crohn’s Disease. She is married, with 2 children, and works as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner in a Newborn Nursery. In her spare time she enjoys baking and re-finishing furniture.