"I Love," 2018. 8 x 8" mixed media on wood by Lea K. Tawd. Prints are available.
Self love is tricky for so many of us. It's something I've always struggled with, and the internal work that I do to get there is a big part of what my art is all about. I still struggle on a lot of days, but it is getting easier! These are some of the things I do (and want to do, and need to get back to doing...) to give myself some love:
1. Meditate. Wait! Before I lose you, let me tell you that as of last summer, with a 3 year old and a 17 year old and a business and, and, and... I had NO time for myself at all. Then I was on an art business retreat with Alyson Stanfield and she asked me, "What do you do for self care?" Umm... She suggested I get a meditation app and start with 5 minutes a day. Now every night I put my little one to bed at 8:00 and spend 10-20 minutes meditating. But I started with just 5 minutes a day (and the Insight Timer app--I love it!). It has helped me a ton with anxiety, overwhelmed-ness, sleeping better, feeling more creative, and seeking out other ways to find little bits of time for myself. Totally worth a try.
2. Sign up for a fun class that you've been wanting to take! Especially if you're a mom who can't seem to get a day away, this is a great excuse to take a few hours or a day just for you.
3. Start a gratitude journal. Every night before bed I write down 3 things I'm grateful for. This has helped me change my perspective throughout the day and notice all of the little things.
4. Take yourself on a date. Even if you do have a sweetie, sometimes you need time on your own. If you hate dining alone, pick something where you won't be so conspicuous, like going to the art museum, window shopping in your favorite section of town, or walking through the park.
5. Move your body. I don't mean run, unless you really want to... Give yourself the gift of finding a way to move that you really love. Dancing, hula hooping, a slow walk through nature, yoga, who knows? I always hated exercise until I discovered some things that were really fun.
6. Delete game apps or other time-suckers from your phone. Know where I found the 5 minutes to meditate? Right here! I realized that the silly games I was playing were just to clear my brain after a long day, and I spent so much more time on them than I wanted to. It felt good to get rid of them!
7. Do you have a list of things that you want to do or learn but are always putting off? Write it down, pick one, and do it!
8. Hating on your body? Take a good look in the mirror. Name the part that you like the least, and think of all of the amazing things it does for you. For me, it's my belly, all stretched and lumpy from having kids and carrying a lot of extra weight. Hey belly! Thank you for carrying two children for me! Thank you for supporting my back the best you can. Thank you for holding my digestive organs together. You get the idea.
9. Have a dance party. I know, this could go under #5, but for me it's different. Turning the music up and dancing alone is how I get ready to paint every day, and doing the same with my kids is a great way to let loose and be silly.
10. Write yourself a love letter. Write it to your younger self. What would you tell her if you could, knowing what you know now? Forgive her for her mistakes and tell her how much she is loved.
Do you have more ideas? I would love to hear about them!