My Body is My Home

This past year and a half, our physical health and wellbeing have been at the forefront of our minds. While our bodies host our health, they have not been our focus for care. So many of us have either gained weight, found comfy pants or had to come to terms with a new way of moving their bodies. And yet it’s our bodies that have helped us get through this challenging time.

We have adapted, or day i say pivoted. We found new ways to accept our softness and be less critical of ourselves. And yet i wonder if it’s just for the short-term.

I have become aware of how my self-talk mirrors my relationship to my body. After years of wearing make-up daily, this past year has been a make-up free zone. My kids don’t see me getting ready to go to work anymore, because i’m not really going anywhere. I always associated make-up with leaving the house to be in the public realm. It’s a bit of my armour, or mask if you will allow this word. I don’t miss it at all even though it was a way of making me feel like I was doing something outside the home. Now it frees me up to do other things, mainly sleeping in later.

For me, this has been a reckoning, a reclamation of my worthiness as a woman without falling prey to the story of needing adjustments to become better. I needed this shift away from listening to cultural rhetoric about what makes a ‘good woman.’

As a child of the 70s and 80s, I can remember certain stories in pop culture that reinforced the idea that thinness is ideal. That as women, we needed to aspire to this unrealistic expectation, even when it was to our own detriment. I distinctly remember an ad that told us “you can’t pinch an inch.” To be honest, i remember the phrase and image but for the life of me I don’t even remember what the ad was for. But that saying definitely stayed. So, clearly the message mattered more than the product it was advertising.

Now as a therapist who supports women with their transitions – into motherhood, middle age, or after a traumatic relationship – i guide them to connect with their body. It may not be a main goal, but it comes up time and again. Healing and repairing our relationship with our body is a main part of stepping into these new roles and phases of our life. It is our body that joins us on this ride called life. We are used to ignoring it, not having vocabulary or awareness for it. This way of holding our body with resonance is a reclamation.

I would also argue that since we have been giving birth to babies since the beginning of time, maybe this act of resilience is really just embracing what our power is, and celebrating it as we should.

Any of us who has had newborns in our life knows that our body changes postpartum in drastic ways, and isn’t ours alone. Our baby needs us, and that includes our body, so their need usually becomes the priority in order to survive. We hold them for hours to help them sleep, our nipples become raw, we feel like we can’t pee for fear of waking a sleeping babe in our arms. That leads us to feeling touched out and disembodied.

I love the word matrescence, the transition we experience when we become mothers/parents. Similar to adolescence, it’s a messy and hormonal shift and a lot of newness comes with it. So instead of mourning the bodies we have lost, it may be more productive and empowering to love what we have, and what our new bodies are capable of.

As feminism is all about choice, being comfortable and confident in our skin is one way of protesting for sure.

It’s a way of reclaiming our bodies and reminding others that our bodies are powerful – to get pregnant and birth a HUMAN from. I have been loving my Instagram feed that shows many versions of postpartum bodies being celebrated as it gives us a chance to build on our Feminine power. And yet for some many recent generations, the postpartum body has been ignored or hidden, or made to feel ugly. It’s interesting that we are noticed and touched when pregnant, but when a birther has a baby in arms, the focus and attention is all on the baby. It’s like the new mom has become invisible again, back into the shadows.

We aren’t meant to bounce back! In fact, losing the baby weight so quickly puts pressure on us, keeps our bodies sexualized, centres male privilege and consumerism (“buy these products to bounce back to your pre-baby body, and fit your jeans again!”). And it can perpetuate the norm around maiden bodies versus being a goddess or matriarch. Also, this pressure has an incredible impact on postpartum mood, relationship with partners, and self-esteem.

I also think that it’s helpful to remember that my body is my own, and it is up to me to define it, no one else. I can feel like a goddess one day, and more like a maternal healer another. I can be both/and – not stay stuck in one identity only. Feminine power and pride of growing a baby inside us should allow us the right to celebrate our body postpartum – instead of being taught to pathologize it or feel shame when we need Pelvis PT or have stretch marks. I love hearing about other countries’ ways of supporting people who have birthed by making access to physiotherapy easier for instance. As a therapist, my work around birth trauma and body image is to help my clients focus on the scar not the wound, as it is also more healing and empowering. This too is an act of reclamation.

Jessie Harrold wrote the Project Body Love: My quest to love my body and the surprising truth i found instead. In it, she shares her personal journey in reclaiming her body after having children and generally as a woman. She shares her tiny experiments of getting to learn more about herself by centring her body. For instance, asking herself what is her purpose for her body. More than taking it for granted, what it does for her, and how she can nurture it in return. This is a very intentional way of coming back to Self, and holding your body at the centre of it.

This practice of establishing a healthy relationship with our bodies is a process, one that is both necessary and sacred. If this is something you are struggling with, now that you are not alone. Here are some tips that may help:

1) Somatic Practise: This is my body
Sit comfortably and either play some soothing music or light a candle for extra comfort. With one hand, touch a part of your body and say “this is my body. This is my neck. This is my heart.” Or try “I am home here. My body is my home.” Repeat after doing it for a few rounds and see how you may feel after. This practice of

2) Reward it: Self-love for parts
It can be hard to start feeling good or positive about a part of our body that gives us grief, or we struggle with. Instead, start with a part you may be neutral or even a bit proud of already. Give it love – get a new lotion and do a self-massage of your hands, or maybe get a pedicure for your feet and all the work they do for you. Treat yourself to a new scarf for those shoulders that hold so much for you!

3) Gratitude Practice: Love letter
Have you ever thanked your body for what it does for you? It might feel triggering to do so for it in its fullness. Instead, write a letter of appreciation to the part of you that helped you through a difficult day, or hard moment. Maybe you want to draw out the moment as a way to honour your Inner Child.

Coming Back Full Circle

Now that my children have grown up a bit, they are needing my body less and less. There is still time for cuddles, hand holding, and washing hair. And yet, their bodies are growing in front of my eyes. My son is now basically the same height as me and my daughter’s shoe size is the same as mine.

My daughter has been figuring out who she is this year. And while i’m bearing witness to it, i am also an active member on the sidelines. She recently got herself a pair of ripped jeans. I had to consciously check my reactions. A part of me was worried about the attention she would get, another part was concerned why she wanted the jeans. I don’t own any ripped jeans, so this reminded me that i am not her only model now. It makes me recall this report that the American Psychological Association put forth about the sexualization of girls.

It takes a commitment to model a healthier body awareness and appreciation. My nine-year-old is definitely starting to notice her body in relation to others and also how it’s changing. Both kids are on the cusp of puberty and I’m pretty excited, if not a bit worried, about the change that is yet to happen.

In her book Mothers, Daughters and Body Image, Hillary McBride shares ways to help our children have a better body image. She shares 5 key steps: 1) Co-View – Be present with media and 2) Get in between them and the media messages 3) Teach them media literacy 4) Notice how you compliment 5) Reflect on your own comments about your body. Make sure your partner also is aware. I appreciate these tips and would also suggest i do them for myself too. It helps to get a sense of what we say to ourselves about ourselves when in the presence of social media and pop culture. There is procedural learning from our own childhood and teen years that has shaped this.

“You were never meant to play small just to make other people comfortable, and it is possible to be loved and fully you at the same time” ~ Hillary McBride

Women in the Mirror

I think there is a movement in the public arena that celebrates all bodies as beautiful because they are real. I love the saying “perfectly imperfect in every way” as it allows space for authenticity and realistic expectations. That ideal we are reaching for, doesn’t even exist – and we now know that Instagram, Facebook, and commercials use massive filters to hide ‘flaws.’ So, we can do better than looking at what is prescribed as the perfect body (skinny, tall, white, able-bodied).

Social media images like these are normalizing and work to make other women feel less alone, less ashamed of their own “imperfect” postpartum bodies. It’s not a coincidence that these campaigns come at a time when there is more work being done to address vulnerability and courage, as well as self-compassion. Brene Brown speaks volumes about the healing power of being vulnerable as it allows space to grapple with our insecurities and push them aside. Kristin Neff speaks about self-compassion, and one of my favourite principles of her work is common humanity, which is noticing we are not alone in our struggle or feelings. So when we see others in magazines or on TV that have similar bodies and scars, we can feel validated and that is so healing. It’s hard to hear the inner critic in us when we also feel ourselves in others’ bodies.

I also think it is very important to see ourselves in the media as it can lessen the impact of postpartum mood disorders, low self-worth, or the impact it has on our relationships. We are not the only ones watching – our partners are, our families, are too. This mindset shift allows us to come to a place of acceptance, body positivity and self-love. This acceptance can be the shift we need to go out to the park in the summer, to go swimming with our children in the local pool, to be present in our lives as well as our children’s instead of internalizing the negative thoughts about our bodies.

One other wonderful resource is Sonya Renee Taylor’s book My Body is not an Apology. It unpacks the intersection of colonization, white supremacy and male privilege as it relates to our body image as a society. She has since come out with a workbook, Your Body is not an Apology and this is such a great gift for reclaiming a loving relationship with our body. There is something really invigorating about being able to see yourself in others (bodies, photos, campaigns) and it speaks to how important Intersectional Feminism is in regards to representation, and where media and consumer industry has been behind the times for so long.

Our body reminds us that this stage of new parenthood is hard work. That’s why i need to take care of me (and my body) in order to keep going. As i get to the other side of parenting, my children need me differently. My body is not as used, touched and pulled in different directions as much. And yet it is exhausted, and worn to the bone in other ways. That’s why we need to keep an active practice of care for our body.

Trauma survivors have a complicated relationship with their bodies. After experiencing violation and betrayal, their bodies carry the weight of the memory. Coming to a new place of awareness, acceptance or even awe is a reparative process. This includes anyone who either experienced abuse before becoming parents, as well as people who experienced birth trauma. When we are told over and over again that birth is a natural process, when things go wrong or our bodies don’t work as they ‘should,’ a lot of that gets internalized. When we have scars (internal or visible), we feel less than our peers who birthed differently, whether a home birth, vaginally, or without a need of surgery. An unfortunate competition and hierarchy puts us into clubs right from the time we birth our babies. We internalize this comparison and it keeps us stuck in a shame spiral. We deserve better than this.

I think that a new paradigm is possible: moving away from the view that holds negative views of women and being judged by our appearance, to one that is a positive depiction of our worth and strength. I also really love the focus on our transformation after having children/giving birth to children. Instead of focusing on the ugly, why can’t we celebrate this shift. This is an active self-love movement that is growing. It’s both an act of courage and a Fuck You to show yourself to the world, flaws and all. In a world that still lives with white privilege and ableism, isn’t it an act of courage and resistance to show off our real selves?

We can be both maternal and more. We are not just mothers, even when we are. The sacrifice isn’t in our bodies or the scars we got from giving birth, but rather how others keep us from accepting our new bodies. The sacrifice comes later when we are told to hide, or feel like we can’t enjoy our life in our new bodies. The sacrifice is when we are not supported to be more than mothers, and to live more meaningful, full lives. We end up sacrificing ourselves in order to take care of babies because we were left alone in caring for them. This reclamation can be a chance to build back a community of support.

Kiss your own fingertips
and hug your own curves.
You are made of waves and honey
And spicy peppers when it is necessary.
You are a goddess,
I hope you haven’t forgotten.
~ Emory Allen

How do I Love Me? Let Me Count the Ways: Six Principles of Self-Love

This month, I have been diving into what ‘self-love’ means. Each year in February, i do a daily practice to honour what needs tending. It is a practice of self-love, and yet it remains a work in progress that is fluid and ever-changing.

This year, the pandemic has flipped the practice on its head. Not because it made it harder to do, as most of the exercises and rituals are things i do at home in private, but rather the need to do it was made even clearer.

This year has pushed so many of us to our edges. We are surviving a global pandemic, some are faring easier than others (privilege, geographic location and government decisions all play a role in this). We are also just getting by and now are finding that our survival and coping strategies are not enough for our bodies to sustain and thrive. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. And yet the cracks in our boats are starting to be felt.

I felt the initial shock of the pandemic very hard. I remember being in the fetal position, crying, and screaming more than i want to admit. I was one of the lucky ones – my job became an essential service as did my partner’s, and we could work at home. I found it hard as community is a big part of how i stay regulated in my body, and i was forced to shelter at home. Again, i am lucky to be home with family and yet i also need a break from them in order to get that balance. This is the epitome of mixed feelings that make us feel stuck in a hamster wheel of guilt and gratitude.

So, this past year, i have been noticing how practices of self-love can be that salve for our mind body and soul. I have been taking more time to myself, be it an early evening long bath, reading a lot, and intentionally reaching out to my community. It was with these commitments that i started to see how i practice self-love regularly, and have some principles that i adhere to.

Before i share them, i wanted to unpack the differences between all of these ‘self’ words – no wonder the ‘self-help’ industry is so abundant. It is also important to note that while work on our Self is a private and independent act, it thrives in community and co-regulation with others. The healing process of therapy is successful mainly because of the relationship; whereas self-help books done in isolation are not as productive. The concept of Self comes from various psychologists from yesteryear. Jung speaks of it and Schwartz (of Internal Family Systems) speaks of the Self and it’s 8 C’s – (check out this helpful PDF here.) I have adapted from these as well as my own work on my Self.

Self-Worth is seen as the way of holding yourself in high regard and worthy of respect and happiness, and Self-Esteem is how we see ourselves and relies on self-worth. Self-Love is the action that is behind the feeling and thought, and it requires some acceptance of our Self as we are. Each of these concepts do not exist in a bubble and are influenced by our community, culture, and connections to others. They are shaped by our early attachments and also can be healed when we are not shown love as children. This is why self-love work is so important for re-parenting that inner child who is wounded.

There is a shadow side to Self-Love, even more than the other selfs of worth and esteem, acceptance and compassion. We are taught to be modest, especially for those of us who identify as women. To have love or esteem for oneself is vain or immodest. This needs to change, and we need to reclaim that sense of holding our Self in high regard as not only sustainable but our birthright. Those of us in femme bodies especially struggle with this shadow side – White supremacy and patriarchy have benefited from capitalism’s profiting off the modernization of our way of living. Feminine Sensuality is very much a needed part of our herstory that needs tending to again. We must move away from a male-centred value system. But that is a topic for a later article…

As self-love gets a bad rap, i wanted to share quickly what it is NOT – being conceited and holding your needs as superior over others (we are all perfectly imperfect and valuable as is); giving yourself a free pass whenever things are hard or go wrong (love admits mistakes and working on them); remaining stuck and unchanging or being rigid in your routine and views (self-love is ever-changing, evolving, and learning), relying on other’s compliments to validate me (though i’m not entirely sure i need to love myself before others love me either); performative self-care acts or rules to follow just because (it is a felt-sense of something in the moment and looks differently as moments are fleeting).

Self-Love is sometimes connected to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as a process of getting there after tending to body needs, safety, connection via self-awareness and then self-acceptance. I wonder if it’s more complex and non-linear than that. It incorporates the various parts of self – physical, spiritual, social, emotional, and mental realms. To me, Self-Love is an Intentional Commitment (gotta do the work!) that helps me get a felt sense of inner glow, empowerment, sovereignty and affection for my Self.

Here are the 6 Ways i Practice Self-Love

While these are not in any order, I think it’s important to know the role of boundary setting in order to help us feel self-love. When we can say no to outside expectations, requests, demands, or assumptions, we are honouring our own needs. We deserve to honour our own time, body and decisions. We are putting our Self on our priority list. This is hard for many of us to do, and yet the reward is us tending to what is important – our safety, autonomy, time and voice. As social creatures, we thrive in community but sometimes that community is not safe or respectful of our boundaries. We need both time alone to rest and time in community to feel connected. We need breaks from devices and social media as well. As there are different types of boundaries, it helps to learn them – maybe you want to start with practicing saying No, or maybe a more energetic or emotional boundary that seems more attainable.
One Small Thing: Take stock of your friends and family and see who honour and respect your No

Self-love is the response to giving myself compassion and care, as i do for others. Self-Compassion and Self-care are the actions we take that help us embody the affection we have for our Self. So, it is the kind self-talk that intentionally works on forgiving myself for a mistake; it is the voice that quiets the judgement that sneaks in; it is the Permission Slips that remind me that i am perfectly imperfect like all humans. It is also the times i validate myself and take pride in what i do. This is how i hold space for myself and honour me, because if i don’t than this is what I’m modeling for others. This is where mindfulness of the here-in-now moment is sacred, slowing down and being present in my body is self-love.
One Small Thing: Write out some Permission Slips to have ahead of time – i.e. i give myself permission to make a mistake and then give myself a hug

One of the benefits of learning more about self-care and self-compassion practices is the ability to learn how to trust our Self. When we listen to our needs, honour them, and are guided by our intuition and not our fear, we can then make confident decisions. Sometimes, that means also needing to learn how to NOT believe all i think as well. That may be a part of us showing up that is wounded, or the Inner Critic who is worried about making a mistake. When i start to listen more to my Self, i know where the worry is coming from: That is trust. Another important aspect of self-love is being able to work on our goals, dreams and plans – when we trust our Self, we see how the cycle of our life can impact our plan, instead of feeling hopeless or pessimistic. Knowing that i am working on my goals in general, and that my mood impacts my optimism is a big step to keeping on task with my dreams.
One Small Thing: Do a Needs Assessment for a day and honour some, be it a glass of water or changing stop scrolling through social media when it starts to hurt

We can’t have love without pleasure and playfulness. As Deb Dana talks about “glimmers and glow moments’ we need to have these examples to remind ourselves that we can be happy, present, and capable of pleasure. Self-love does mean giving ourselves a Gift sometimes, and taking stock of achievements. As the old commercial reminds us, we are worth it. This is where the ritual of gratitude is meaningful. When we see our achievements and our proud of ourselves, we feel empowered. When we find ways to play and be present, we are attuning to our heart’s desire. Is there a pet project you love to focus on for instance? To take it a step further, our Home life is also a reflection of this. Is there a space in your home that helps hold your pleasure practice? What rituals do you have honour that captures it.
One Small Thing: Create a Pleasure Corner with some cozy items in your home (think of a comfy chair, candles, a book and blanket to have on hand)

Know thy Self
After this past year, many of us have learned what our limits and needs are. We have been stretched to the max, exhausted, overwhelmed and afraid. When we learn more about our own nervous system and its capacity (also known as Window of Tolerance), then we can tend to our wants, likes and needs. It is so helpful to know when we are reacting in Fight Flight Freeze Fawn, and when we practice self-love, our needs are being respected. When we know if we are regulated or getting dysregulated, we can pull out the best resource from our ‘toy box’ of tools to tend to our Self. This is a sort of Love Map of my Self. Anyone who has endured trauma benefits greatly from this inner work, to heal and integrate the trauma and Shadow side (also called Fragmented Parts). Another important part of knowing our Self is to learn what our Attachment Styles and ancestral stories are, so that we can listen to the inner dialogue of our Parts that are trying to take up airspace, in order to help us be safe in the world, as well as what shaped us to become who we are and how we think about our selves and worth.
One Small Thing: Learn more about what you need to stay emotionally regulated and create a cheat sheet for when you need it

Body Attunement
Another part of self-love work that can be tricky is our relationship to our body. A lot of us were taught to be modest – to take compliments with grace, to not be vain, to not hold our appearance to the highest regard. This has lead to a disconnect between our Mind and Intellect to our Body and its appearance. Further, it has made our thinking brain the powerhouse to admire and be proud of, and puts our body in the shadows, especially when it comes to pleasure, ability and size. So, self-love rituals most include ways to move the body, listen to it, and do healing work (whether it is talk therapy, walks, yoga, massage, what you eat, etc). Move your body and then rest it, eat nourishing food, take breaks, have that bubble bath. When we reclaim Embodiment and Bodyfulness, we are more attuned to what our body is telling us – and it never lies: Listen to it.
One Small Thing: Put on some of your favourite music and see what your body does in response; try a 3 song minimum

Still unsure how self-love works? I had been finding the ritual of journaling to be so helpful – taking time to reflect, give myself a new perspective, as well as slow down and stay with my feelings is a powerful way to practice self-love. It is a way of holding space for myself.

So, if you are stuck on this concept, how about taking some time to reflect on some of these journal prompts:

*When did i show myself love this week?
*What is my favourite time of day and how to i linger in it?
*When do i feel happy? When have i felt happy – reflect on a time in your past.
*How do i feel connected to my needs?
*Write a love letter to myself from my Wise Self, or to my Inner Child Part
*What are 5 positive things to tell myself that i am proud of doing this past week?

Remember, self-love is a powerful way of reclaiming sovereignty over yourself – itself a radical act of self-care so be gentle with your Self: we are all a work in progress. It is your birth rite after all.

Being Kind to Myself

I spent some time updating my 28 Days of Self-Love Challenge Worksheet recently. In doing so, it gave me time to pause and reflect on what i do myself as acts of self-love or self-compassion. It’s important to practice what i preach, and also note that therapists are not exempt from flaws and needing moments of self-love too. We are all perfectly imperfect, and yet i know that i can be hard on myself because i am SUPPOSED to know better. It’s one of the occupational hazards of being a therapist after all.

With this in mind, i was thinking about how self-esteem, self-worth self-love, self-care and self-compassion all get interchanged and mistaken for each other. While they are woven into each other, it is helpful to notice that one does not feel love just because they care for themselves. Positive self-esteem and self-worth may be the overall hopes for us all, and yet it can be long and complicated journey to get there. When i also clients if they have done something kind for themselves lately, they are quick to counter that they don’t deserve or need it, and some say “I’m not worthy of that because I’m not loveable.”

This is where regular acts of kindness, love and compassion come in. Incorporating them into our daily rhythms helps us build on their importance. That bouquet of fresh flowers that you keep walking past at No Frills, that time it snowed so much and you didn’t leave your bed, that moment where you said No to an annoying co-worker – these are acts of the same compassion and love you would offer a friend.

Let’s be our own best friend.

(if you would like a PDF download of this helpful worksheet, 28 Days of Self-Love to get a copy)

28 Days of Self-Love

The card i pulled from my deck in January was Brigid – she came a month early for me as she’s the Goddess connected to Imbolc in February. She is a Goddess of healing, and brings fertility to the land and its people. She is also closely connected to midwives and newborn babies. She sits at my alter all month to remind me of her energy so i’m sharing her with you now.

February is a tricky month for a lot of us. If you are like me and you live where Winter really visits, then February is cold and full of snow. It makes it hard to go out and do things, to be spontaneous and have fun. I’m not opposed to getting cozy at home, in fact i kind of treasure it. But it can lead to a bit of Cabin Fever.

Another pitfall of February is that Valentine’s Day is in the middle of it. This holiday carries with it a love-hate feeling, whether you are single or not, as it pushes a lot of us to DO and GET and BE so much more than we typically are. The pressure is on for sure. A few years ago, i heard about a reclaiming of the day, a way to re-connect with our own selves, as to focus on self-love more than an arbitrary outpouring of love that is dictated by stores telling us how to show love.

So, since my word of the year is LOVE, i thought it was a good time to create this helpful tool to intentionally provide myself with some gifts of self-love. Each day has a simple and gentle suggestion for you to practice. Some take a few minutes, and others are a bit longer. I also made sure to connect it to key dates in the month – February 1 is Imbolc, and the 2nd is Candlemas/Imbolc so a good time to plant seeds or get fresh flowers, February 14 of course, February 15 is the New Moon of the month (did you know there is NO Full Moon? So interesting…). Feel free to change up the days, but do try to give yourself these moments of self-love. CLICK HERE for a full size copy of this guide.

I see a lot of connection between self-love and self-compassion, and also the need to steal time as a working mom of two young kids. I may not have the abundance of time to leisurely eat brunch as i once did, but i do have the right to eat the best chocolate i can get my hands on, and to take a break from self-judgement and critique.

Please join me this month!

Acts of Self-Love

It’s February already. The month of L O V E. I like to call it the month of self-love, so I appreciate the movement that is going around to acknowledge this. Here in Canada, February is a cold and dreary month. As today is February 2 (aka Groundhog Day, Candlemas, Imbolc), I like to set the intention to do some gentle and relaxing things for myself this month. It’s a good month to experiment with things that give you love and also times of rest and comfort.

I recently discovered a great site, and the writer has put together a pledge to do daily acts of self-love and blissful activities. Since that is in tune with my own intention, I’m following her plan. Here is a link to it so you can read more.

For instance, yesterday we were to find something beautiful and keep it within eyesight or our reach. That way, we can see and notice it more readily. For me, I was wearing my new favourite pink top and fun necklace. I was constantly looking down at this pop of fun colour, and it was such a nice treat for me. Like secret pick-me-ups. The photo above is a capture of the plant i have at my office. I just noticed today it has sweet pink buds forming. Of course, i moved the plant over to my desk to keep it closeby.

Today, she encouraged us to think of a teany tiny habit that makes me feel happier. For me, it’s making my bed. I love being able to dress and walk around my room with my bed all made up and inviting. It takes no time and I look forward to being enveloped by it later tonight. I can picture my bed throughout the day, and can’t wait to be there.

I don’t force my kids to make their beds, but they see my ritual in doing so each day. And so, when my son makes his own bed without prompting, my heart is full and I’m overjoyed that he made the step to do that for himself.

We are also doing this lovely activity as a family. Each night (or close enough to this, who am i kidding), I’m asking my family to share 1 thing they love about each of us. We had a fun time doing it last night. My daughter wanted a heart for herself – as she reminded us that it is important to love ourselves too. I couldn’t have said it better. I am keeping them answers on a sheet of paper and we have it on the ready, to read anytime.

What are some things you can do as acts of self-love? Simple, gentle, inexpensive prompts that remind you that are loved and important: you deserve moments of bliss and beauty. In this ugly time in our world, it’s a quiet act of rebellion to be a self-love warrior.