• Rachel Ogilby

30 Ways to Show Yourself Love This Valentine's Day

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you likely have plans with your friends, family, or significant others to celebrate. On the other hand, you may have other responsibilities that occupy your time and attention (long work hours, chores, taking care of loved ones, and homework all tend to fall higher on the to-do list than finding a babysitter/making reservations/buying a card)!

This Valentine’s Day I would like to challenge you to plan something nice just for yourself! Take a moment to do something that makes you happy or gives you joy. You’ve heard the phrase “You have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others” a thousand times; even though you are probably rolling your eyes at the cliché, you have to admit the truth in the quote. After a day full of giving attention and energy to my patients, coworkers, and family, I can feel completely exhausted. This makes it even more difficult to make choices that are good for my wellbeing (I much rather order dinner and veg out on the couch than cook something healthy and exercise after a difficult day).


To make carving out time for self-care easier for you, here are a list of 30 things you can do that take less than an hour. I challenge you to take a peek at this list, jot down a few that speak to you, and find 60 minutes sometime during the next week to complete one or more.

BONUS – if you’re looking for a Valentine’s gift for someone, some of these actions are a two-fer (for example, studies show that when you write a letter to a loved one, your happiness increases for weeks – plus, at the end, you have a letter to give away!).


The second layer to this activity is to do the activity MINDFULLY. Even mundane, daily activities (like doing the dishes) can be joyful with the right outlook. Additionally, research shows us that memories are created with more detail when we live in the moment. If you can’t remember what you ate for lunch yesterday, it might be because your mind was going a million miles a minute (we’ve all been there!).


For more items like the ones below, check out this article from Lifehack.org. Which of these items spoke to you? Did you complete any? I would love to hear about it!


30 ways to show self-love that take less than an hour

1. Write a letter to a loved one, stating what you love about them or why you are proud to know them.


2. Write down a list of things you are grateful for. Research shows that this can boost your mood!

3. Take a walk/jog/hike/your favorite activity in nature. Studies show that time outside increases acts of kindness, improves mood, restore mental fatigue, and even recover from depression (read more here).


4. Enjoy bubble baths? Draw yourself a hot one, put on your favorite music, and relax. Not into baths? Take a long shower and enjoy each luxurious moment of it.


5. Try meditating. It’s been on my to-do list for weeks and I finally started! Check out The Honest Guys on YouTube if you’re not sure where to start.

6. Practice yoga (Yoga with Adriene is my favorite). I’ve always found that implementing yoga into my exercise routine makes me more appreciative and less critical of my body.


7. Buy yourself flowers and place them somewhere you will see them every day.


8. Watch your favorite movie or TV show with your favorite snacks!


9. Call a friend or a family member you have been meaning to reach out to. Talking with loved ones has shown to decrease stress.


10. Complete a random act of kindness for a stranger; pay for the next person’s coffee or groceries, tell someone you love their outfit, shovel your neighbor’s driveway, or bake cookies for a coworker.

11. Make your favorite meal. Enjoy each minute of chopping, cooking, and preparing. Set the table for the special day that it is, then enjoy your effort!


12. Grab a hot cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate from your favorite local café (or make one at home), then sip it in silence, enjoying alone time or people watching.


13. Get yourself a massage or facial. Antsy about spending money? Go to Groupon.com or ask a local salon for their best deals, then book yourself much needed spa time. Just do it.


14. Dance! Put on your favorite playlist and rock out in your living room.


15. Learn something new! Check out online tutorials for something you’ve never tried before, like creating a specific cocktail, cooking a new recipe, or learning how to knit.


16. Get creative – pull out your art supplies and create whatever comes to mind. Make a card for someone, paint on canvas, sculpt something with clay (you can make really cool earrings no matter your artistic talents!), or write a poem.

17. Make a list of your best qualities and accomplishments. Pin that beauty somewhere you see it often, like the bathroom mirror.


18. Try a breathing practice that has proven to reduce stress. Breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, then breathe out for 4 seconds. Do this for a minute or two throughout the day and notice your decreased heart rate.


19. Are you on the Marie Kondo bandwagon? I watched her NetFlix series and was hooked. Tidying your space can be very therapeutic! Gather ALL your clothes, lay them on your bed, then determine what items you want to keep. Found things you are ready to part with? Thank each item, then donate for someone else to enjoy.

20. Take a break from social media. Resist the urge to check notifications. In fact, put the whole phone down for a while. Sadly, research shows that the more selfies we post on social media, the poorer our body image is.


21. Picture your favorite place (mine is Hocking Hills). What does it look like? What do you feel when you’re there? Are there ways you can cultivate that feeling where you are now?


22. Head to your local park and watch the sun rise or set.


23. Okay, this one will take longer than an hour, but it’s worth it… take yourself on a quick day trip by yourself!

24. Write down your dreams and goals – then write down steps you can take to achieve those goals.


25. Prioritize sleep – sleep in, take a nap, and go to bed early. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults ages 18 – 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.


26. Practice positive affirmations (“I am intelligent, kind, and strong”, “I am right where I need to be in this moment”) by writing them on sticky notes and placing them where you’ll see them, such as your computer or kitchen.


27. Volunteer at your church or community center.


28. Replace an unhealthy habit with a healthy one. For example – I plan to take the dogs for a walk around the block when I finish dinner instead of watching TV!

29. Plan your next vacation, even if you don’t book it or are not sure when you can go. Just planning and researching vacation spots can boost happiness!


30. Take yourself out on a date to your favorite restaurant/park/café/etc. Bring a book or magazine, or just enjoy alone time.


Did any of these speak to you? What are other ways that you show yourself love?


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