Love, Advice

We could all use more self-love, so here’s a 7 day challenge to kick start your journey

In the rush of day-to-day obligations, the desire to take time out to practice self-love is often lost.

Self-love is an integral necessity for life. If you don’t love yourself, how can you expect someone else to? In the rush of day-to-day obligations, the desire to take time out to practice self-love is often lost. By definition, self-love is simply caring about your happiness and well-being. It plays a part in how we handle different situations in life and even who we choose to date.

So how is it done? How do you strengthen your love for yourself? It’s both an internal and external experience, assisted by different physical and spiritual actions.

To help you along the path to self-love, here is a week-long challenge, each day with an assigned task and journaling prompt.

Day One: Declutter your space

clothes in drawer
[Image Description: Clothes in a drawer. Shirts of an array of colors folded and laid vertically.]
For me, cluttered and messy surroundings are often a reflection of what’s going on on the inside. I often start small by cleaning my room. Give it the works: wash your bedding, make your bed, fold and put away some laundry, straighten your dresser, vacuum the floor, tidy up your workspace.

When I really want a cleanse, I’ll take things a step further and declutter my closet. Look at each piece and ask yourself how you feel when you wear it. If the answer is less than great, toss it the donation pile.

Journaling Prompt: Write a journal entry introducing yourself to you.

Day Two: Meditate

girl in the sun
[Image Description: Girl with brunette hair basking her face in the sunshine.]
Meditation is an underrated form of self-love. Some may see it as just sitting in silence, chanting “om” over and over, but it isn’t about what it looks like on the outside. It’s about what’s going on on the inside.

Find a comfortable, quiet place where you can be alone, like your room or maybe even somewhere outside in the sun. Have a seat, close your eyes, just breathe. I’ll usually focus in on how my breath moves through my body while attempting to quiet my mind. When you feel your mind start to wander, refocus on your breathing. Compared to the way that your mind and thoughts are always racing, this will be a calming change of pace.

Journaling Prompt: Write a letter to your past self. What’s something that you want to tell them? What’s something that they wished for that you have now have?

Day Three: Volunteer

clasped hands
[Image Description: One pair of hands reaching out and clasping another.]
Help others so that you can help yourself. As a college student, I typically volunteer as a tutor and sometimes a mentor for young kids. Maybe you could find a nonprofit that you’re passionate about and offer your talents to the cause. Humane societies are almost always looking for extra hands to help bathe and care for the dogs and cats in their shelters and who doesn’t love a good cuddle from a pup or kitty?

Journaling Prompt: Write about something you’re passionate about and why. What makes your passion the best thing ever?

Day Four:  Make yourself up for no reason

makeup counter
[Image Description: An array of makeup with NYX concealer, makeup brushes, eyeshadow palette, blush, and a purple beauty blender.]
Who says you need to have somewhere to go to have a reason to get done up? Break out the makeup bag, find a few new makeup tutorials on Youtube or Pinterest, and get to work.

Next, go to your freshly decluttered closet and find an outfit that makes you feel amazing. You don’t even need a place to go. When you look good, you feel good; and when you look good solely for yourself, you feel even better.

Journaling Prompt: Pick a physical feature you like about yourself and explain why.

Day Five: Talk to your mom

mother and daughter
[Image Description: Mother and daughter kissing each other on the cheek.]
Who in this world knows you better than your mother? She carried you for nine months, birthed you, fed you, and loves you unconditionally. You can call her just to say hey, catch her up on what you’ve been up to, ask for some advice (because moms always know what to do), or just reminisce about your relationship growing up.

According to a study from 2010, talking to your mother on the phone is almost as good as a hug. If you want, take things one step further and actually go see your mom if you can. Talking in person is way more fulfilling than talking on the phone or video chat, and your mom will be glad to have you there in person.

Journaling Prompt: Make a list of positive quotes or song lyrics. Whenever you need a pick me up, just flip back to that page, or even turn the songs into a playlist you can listen to.

Day Six: Do a social media detox

iphone social media
[Image Description: An iPhone clicked on the social media folder and showing a variety of social media applications.]
Who knows how much time is wasted by scrolling through social media every day? Maybe take a day where you don’t go on any social media at all. If this is too intimidating, you can start small by turning off your notifications for those apps. That way you won’t be tempted to open them in the first place.

Deleting toxic people off of your friend or following list can open the door for a little more positivity on your timeline, and deciding not to take your phone or laptop to bed will lessen the chances of you doing the late night scroll. But these are only a few benefits of a social media detox. 

Journaling Prompt: Think of something from the past year that made you happy and explain why.

Day Seven: Make a mood board

mood boards
[Image Description: A mood board with a multitude of cut and paste images.]
I am a proud magazine hoarder and whenever I’m in a creative funk, I’ll take some and cut them up. Pick out pictures and captions that you like and put them to the side. When you’re done, grab a poster board and a glue stick and start pasting your findings onto it.

When you’re done, find a spot on the wall and hang your mood board there. This way, whenever you’re in need of a little inspiration or get into a creative funk, you can look at your mood board.

Journaling Prompt: What is something you want to accomplish? Make a plan for how you’ll do it.

These are all little things I do when I need to take time to practice self-love and they have yet to fail me. Taking time out to treat and care for yourself is a necessity for a happy life.  By the end of this challenge, you’ll have a more positive outlook on your life, where you’re going in it and, most importantly, yourself.