It is difficult to know intimacy with another person if you don’t have it with yourself first. Intimacy is the ability to experience love, acceptance, and a sense of wonder within you. Intimacy invites you into the realm of vulnerability, surrender, forgiveness, and acceptance of the essence of who you really are. It is important to develop a sense of your own Self as the foundation for intimacy. There are very few of us who have taken the time and energy to experience intimacy with ourselves. If you want to experience true happiness, you must care for yourself first.
Your Valentine’s Day Basket of SELF Care Gifts
I invite you to “Be Your Own Valentine,” this Valentine’s Day. Choose this feast of love as a day to celebrate love for your Self.
- The Bath. Since our conception, we have naturally been drawn to the healing restorative power of water. In our mother’s womb, we were nourished and supported by water. Our bodies are 75 percent water, our brain is 85 percent water, our blood is 94 percent water and even our teeth are 5 percent water. A recent Mayo Clinic study discovered that soaking in a hot bath provides many health benefits. A study of sleep disorders shows a warm bath is helpful for sleep. Try different fragrances of soaps in your bath. Lavender and chamomile create calm and shift you from anxiety. Citrus fragrances invigorate you, and peppermint stimulates you and snatches you out of the blues.
- A Massage. Massage can relieve tension and creates relaxation for the mind and body. Massage stimulates the immune system and heals fatigue and anxiety. Research shows a one hour massage increased numbers of white blood cells and natural killer cells. These are the immune system defenders that attack viruses and tumors in the body. Your body is your most prized asset or real estate. Care for yourself, Valentine.
- Smile. Smiling is a simple action that improves your mood. When you smile at others there is “mimic response,” when they smile back. Your smile is a source of great joy for yourself and others. Intentionally practicing smiling creates a healthier life and releases “happiness hormones,” such as serotonin and endorphins. A warm Valentine’s smile improves your energy and reduces your stress.
- Hug. This is your number one Valentine’s Day exercise I challenge you to do as often as possible. Hugs have great health benefits. Studies show when you hug others you lower your blood pressure. Another study shows hugs increase levels of oxytocin, a bonding hormone, and cuts the risk of heart disease. I challenge you to exercise your heart today by giving Valentine hugs to the people you love.
- Friends. Valentine’s Day is a great day to show your love and gratitude to all your friends. Go to lunch or dinner with friends and laugh. You receive health benefits when you love others. Laughing with the people you love increases your artery diameter and stimulates endorphins and other healing hormones. Call your friends and say, “Will you be my Valentine?”
- Animals. Throughout history, humankind has shared a practical, mystical, and profound relationship with animals.
- They have been, and continue to be, our beloved guardians, partners, mentors, and guides. Your “four-legged Valentine,” promotes your mental, emotional and physical well being. Sharing your life with a four-footed friend can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and ward off depression. On this Valentine’s Day thank your pet for his/her life and for sharing your journey in life together.
- Chocolate. Valentine’s Day chocolate has tons of health benefits. Researchers show that the blood pressure lowering effect associated with chocolate could reduce the risk of stroke by 20 percent, coronary heart disease by 10 percent and death from all causes by 8percent. Celebrate the Valentine of your life, YOU, by eating a delicious wondrous chocolate treat.
- Spicy Food. Enjoy a Valentine’s Day feast at your favorite restaurant and don’t forget to order a delicious spicy dish. Spicy foods produce endorphins and have health benefits. The consumption of certain peppers increases circulation and lowers blood pressure, is high in vitamin A and C and stimulates healthy cell growth. This increased endorphin production helps with depression and the blues. Endorphins are natural opiates. Be a spicy Valentine this year.