25 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

25 Things I wish i could tell my younger self selfcareseason.com

As my 25th birthday approaches, I’ve been thinking a lot about my where and who I was in my younger years. It’s pretty wild to consider how much I’ve grown and changed since I was five, ten, sixteen, or twenty-one.

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40 Radical Acts of Self-Love

40 Radical Acts of Self-Love

In the age of crippling college debt and chaotic headlines, showing yourself love is harder than ever. It feels impossible to find inner peace in a world full of pressure.

Who can pursue passion projects when the rent forces many of us to have multiple day jobs? How can we appreciate our own bodies when society continues to support the idea that some of them are not good enough?

Capitalism sets us up to always want more, and this affects our mental well-being. We are not supposed to be satisfied with what we have and who we are; we must always try to be better, richer, known. If we’re not productive as possible, we’re useless. If our latest post on Instagram doesn’t get any likes, we are failures. It’s an endless loop that is exhausting.

Screw all of that.

In fact, I think you should screw that with a nice dose of radical self-love.

Practicing self-love in a significant way can be the ultimate middle finger to the societal constructs that aim to limit us, particularly for people of color, trans folks, differently-abled people, and women.

I believe that self-love is radical in various ways. It challenges the white patriarchal standards that define our culture. It empowers us to think about ourselves and other differently. It causes us to act out of kindness instead of fear or anger.

Don’t confuse radical self-love with basic self-care. This isn’t about brushing your teeth. Radical self-love is deeper. It is performing actions that are purely for your mind and spirit. It is selfishness that helps you own and celebrate yourself. This selfishness leads to you feeling your best in a culture that wants you to struggle.

I’ve been consciously practicing radical self-love for the past few months. It all started in March with a solo trip to Paris in the midst of heartbreak. That journey was a gift to a weary soul: it made me think differently about how I deserve to be treated by myself and others. It helped me believe that I have an inner-power that can guide me through dark times.

Since then, I’ve been striving to prioritize radical self-love. It isn’t always easy, but practicing it more consistently has continued to help me heal little by little.

I strongly encourage you, unique reader with lovely personal qualities, to consider how you treat yourself. What is the tone of your inner thoughts? Do you judge yourself? If you realize you’re kinder to strangers than you are to yourself, then maybe you should give radical self-love a try.

The best part about radical-self love is that it can be practiced in various ways. Acts can range from minuscule to grandiose. Your personality and interests will dictate what types of radical acts will be impactful for you.

Get inspired by this list of forty possible acts of self-love you can try. I’ve tried to include a huge range of activities ranging from physical to mental, free to expensive. Try one that immediately to speaks to you or maybe one that you’re afraid of. Practicing any of the radical acts of self-love could change your view of yourself and the world around you:

  1. Start a new journal and write down at least one good thing that happened daily
  2. Spend some time in nature, whether that be for a walk at your local park or a longer camping trip
  3. Compliment yourself every time you look in the mirror
  4. Prepare and eat your favorite meal
  5. Exercise with the intention of enjoying it instead of doing it because you have to
  6. Curate a list of your favorite inspirational quotes and look at the list whenever you’re feeling down
  7. Listen to your intuition and act on it – do what feels right rather than what is expected
  8. Turn on some up-beat tunes and dance
  9. Hang out with your pet or visit a friend who has a pet you can hang out with
  10. Express your feelings openly
  11. Sing with the car windows down
  12. Stay in bed when your body wants to rest – push that snooze button
  13. Book a solo vacation and do whatever you want once you reach your destination
  14. Meditate a little or a lot
  15. Visit a nearby beach, river, pool, or lake and take a swim – feel the water hold your body
  16. Say no when you want to and don’t feel sorry about it
  17. Donate clothes or items that have negative feelings attached to them – keep anything that brings you joy
  18. Sit outside when it is sunny and soak up the rays (with proper sun protection of course)
  19. Write yourself a love letter and read it
  20. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers
  21. Turn off your cell phone for an hour, day, week, or longer
  22. Write down your regrets on a piece of paper and proceed to light that paper on fire in the safest way possible (or rip it into tiny pieces to avoid the pyro aspect)
  23. Give yourself a pep talk when you need one – think about what you would want a coach or mentor to say to you and say it out loud
  24. Pamper yourself with a massage, facial, or pedicure (maybe do all three if you’re feeling fancy)
  25. Stretch in the morning, in the evening, and whenever you want to in between
  26. Enjoy a favorite childhood movie or book
  27. Cuddle your pet or say hi to a friendly dog on the street (with permission from the owner of course)
  28. Talk to a therapist often or occasionally when you’re suffering, thriving, and existing
  29. Leave an encouraging post-it note for a stranger to discover and let the good vibes flow
  30. Cry unapologetically
  31. Learn a new craft and make art for yourself and others
  32. Buy yourself a scoop of your favorite ice cream and pay for the next customer’s order as well
  33. Look at old photos and feel the nostalgia
  34. Send a thank you letter to someone who has made a positive impact on your life
  35. Watch a comedy special or funny video online and laugh out loud
  36. Cease communication with someone who makes you feel bad
  37. Improve your sleep with a new pillow, mattress pad, or relaxing essential oils
  38. Give meaningful compliments to others and accept the compliments people make about you instead of shrugging them off
  39. Complete a nagging task that has been on your to-do list – feel relieved when it’s done
  40. Live in the present and do what you want now – not tomorrow, not this summer, not next year – now

 

Thanks for reading. Feel free to share your favorite acts of self-love in the comments – I’m always open to new suggestions to try!

 

Songs that Celebrate Self-Love

Songs that Celebrate Self-Love

Music can change my mood instantly. That’s why whenever I’m feeling a little down, I turn up the tunes and dance around my room. It’s the quickest way to make myself feel better.

I’ve been working on building mood-specific playlists to be able to access at a moments notice. I’ll continue to share them here as I make more. This first one is pretty special.

Check out my Self-Love Playlist on Spotify. It’s perfect for those moments when you need a little boost of confidence, for those times you’re doubting your self worth and need a little reminder from Kelly Clarkson and RuPaul of how freaking awesome you are. From upbeat pop hits to strong ballads, you’ll find yourself grinning as you hum along at the gym, in the car, or at your desk.

Here are some highlights from the track list:

“I’m Coming Out” – Diana Ross

Regarded as a class LGBTQ+ anthem, this will always be my favorite Diana Ross song and it deserves a top spot on this playlist. It’s upbeat and breezy and can put a spring in your step. Walk down the streets to this disco beat and let the world know you’re here!

“You Gotta Be” – Des’ree

One of the chiller tracks on this list, this song encourages you to express yourself and know that you are strong for doing so. Love will save the day, indeed. Self-love, that is!

“Born This Way” – Lady Gaga

This dance hit quickly became a pride staple, and deservedly so. While I’m not a religion person, the sentiment is stronger than those particular lyrics in my opinion. This classic Gaga track makes a strong statement, and it’s a nice reminder that I, too, am on the right track.

“Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen

This is the song that pops in my head whenever I’m on cloud nine. The fasttempo, the fun lyrics, and Freddie’s vocals all make this a upbeat track a great one to celebrate your inner power. Listen to it when you’re feeling low and psyche yourself out!

“Titanium” – David Guetta, featuring Sia

This is definitely one of those songs that I’ve belted out in the shower after a breakup. Listen to Sia, don’t let anyone tear you down. YOU ARE TITANIUM.

“Good As Hell” – Lizzo

Lizzo is the intersectional hero we all need, and all of her music clearly reflects this. I strive to be as confident as Lizzo seems. Play this track when you’re getting ready in the morning and you’ll feel good as hell about yourself too.

“Up From the Mud” – Boy Band

One of my favorite bands in the New York area, Boy Band is a group of three young women who make really empowering music. This track, a personal highlight on their first EP, encourages you to be the “strongest flower rising from the mud.”

You can check out the whole Self-Love Playlist track list below:

What are you favorite songs about loving yourself? Share them in the comments and I’ll consider adding them to the playlist. Happy listening, folks!

Redecorating After a Breakup

redecorating after breakup heartbreak selfcareseason

Breakups are particularly rough for couples who were living together. The state of your existence can drastically change when your significant other moves out and it’s painful. And let’s not forget the logistics: Moving is a hassle and an expense, and it’s no fun to have to divvy up your collective stuff.

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Healing My Heart in Paris

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I began planning a small vacation to Paris in January 2018. One of my dear friends from college was living there, and I wanted to visit her before she moved back to the states. The main point would be to see her, but I would also get to have my last solo getaway before our September wedding. I booked my flight for the end of March and made lists of destinations I wanted to visit. The trip would be a highlight in a lovely year leading up to my nuptials.

But the best-laid plans oft go awry. My fiance was acting odd, and when I prodded them about it, they admitted to me that they wanted to call off the wedding. After learning more, I decided we needed to break-up. It was a whirlwind of heartbreak and I was in utter shock.

The wedding was cancelled five days before my departure flight to Paris. As I struggled to comprehend the events that had just unfolded, I had to decide if I still wanted to go ahead with my travel plans. Was it a good idea to be in the city of love at this moment in time? How could I enjoy such a trip while I was feeling so broken?

moody airport selfie
Definitely cried during my layover in Munich

After a lot of contemplation, I decided to go ahead with my trip and even extend it by a few days. Why stay home and pity myself while I could be in one of the most beautiful cities in the world? I couldn’t foretell what I’d be feeling once I was there, but it couldn’t be worse than how miserable I was already. Traveling is an activity that usually gives me joy, so I hoped going to Paris would raise my spirits.

Furthermore, I knew having one of my best friends there would help. I wouldn’t be completely alone when I was feeling so vulnerable, and I looked forward to being able to talk to her about how I was feeling.

It also made sense to go ahead with the trip for a few logistical reasons. My ex-fiance could move out of our apartment that was under my name while I was abroad, and I didn’t have to lose any money if I just forged ahead. I packed my carry-on and had nothing to lose.

I cried at JFK’s international terminal with big, black sunglasses on as I waited for my flight. That’s when I realized this vacation was as a radical act of self-love. After years of putting my wants and needs aside for my ex-fiance, this trip was going to be solely mine. paris selfie eiffel tour grey skies

When I arrived at Charles de Gaulle many hours later, I was feeling pretty shaky. I was happy to see my friend and her fiance, but I felt like my usual traveler confidence was missing. All I could think about was the trauma I had just experienced at home. Had I made a mistake by coming? Would I enjoy any of my nine days there?

Thankfully, my mood began to improve by the end of my second day there, and it’s because Paris is so darn charming. Every building is pretty and the streets are clean. The food is superb and it’s tempting to try one of everything at a patisserie. There are numerous sites, museums, and stores to keep you entertained for years on end. The culture and beauty of Paris was a perfect distraction.

paris sacre coeur
Sacre Coeur

My friend wined and dined me, and it felt lovely to be pampered. She taught me how to get around on the metro and brought me to less-touristy restaurants and sites. Her fiance ordered for me and showed me how to play poker. With their support and love, my confidence began to come back. I felt a little better with each passing day.

My daily itinerary was full and I felt very accomplished by the end of my trip. I avoided some of the larger sites I had seen on my last trip to Paris and found splendor in simply wandering. I walked at least ten miles on most of the days I spent there, so the dopamine must have been flowing.

Expectedly, the big sunglasses covered my teary eyes more than a few times. Paris wasn’t able to completely distract me, but I’m glad it didn’t. Various places in the city served me well as I processed my feelings. The moments of self-reflection on my trip were powerful. There was something so special about thinking about my ancestors in Notre Dame, writing about the ordeal in a journal while I nibbled on a croissant at a sidewalk cafe, and crying about my trauma as I walked along the Seine. These moments combined with the wonder of traveling all made me feel a lot better.

As I boarded my flight back to the states, I felt proud of myself for saying yes to an experience of a lifetime. Paris became the city of self-love to me. Nine days in Paris didn’t completely heal the hurt of my break-up, but being there reminded me of how beautiful the world could be. I felt so loved by my friend and she helped me more than she will ever realize. My unknown future felt scary and full of possibilities as I watched the Eiffel Tower sparkle after sunset from a river boat.

eiffel tour night paris

Thanks for reading. I’ll be sure to post my favorite sites and more pictures from my magical trip soon.