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February Self-Care: Be Your Own Valentine By Putting Yourself First


by Dr. Nancy Rahnama

Director of Health & Nurition

Valentine’s Day is here and whether you’re spending it with your partner, alone, or with friends, it’s so important to consider and prioritize your self-care. It’s easy to get swept up in thinking about others and putting all your energy into making others feel taken care of and special. But what about you?

You need to be your number one priority - and that’s something the majority of women struggle to do. We naturally put others before ourselves, and the more we can change this paradigm, the better we feel, the more success we have, and the better we can show younger generations what good self-care looks like.

So here are six of my favorite tips to help you care for yourself in February and beyond. These tips are easy to integrate into your lifestyle and can transform the way you feel about yourself.

6 Tips to Help You Be Your Own Valentine This Year

1) Schedule “Me” Time

We live such crowded lives that often we forget that we need to set aside some time for ourselves. This is number one on this list for a reason. Everyone needs time to center themselves and step away from the whirlpool that is life in the 21st century. It doesn’t have to be a long time, half an hour will do, but it needs to be regular. Once a week is a start, but once a day is better. This is time just to please yourself, so meditate, have a bath, read, listen to music, get a massage – whatever pleases you. It is different for everyone.

Make this “you time” become a habit and schedule it in just as you would meetings, kid’s afterschool activities, and other commitments you make to others. This time will not only give you time to decompress and think about things away from the influence of others, but it will also help you have more confidence in yourself and better boundaries with others because you’ll have a better relationship with yourself.

2) Me First, Then You

The giving well can run dry for even the most giving of people, so remember you have to unwind and relax to let the well fill the well again. You need some downtime, every day, to unwind, relax, and re-energize. If you don’t, you risk crashing and burning out and becoming resentful of everyone in your life who asks something of you.

Whenever you’re asked to do something don’t just say yes and then figure out how to make it happen - think, “what do I really want?” first. Just like on an airplane, you need to put your oxygen mask on first before you can be of any use to anyone else. Don’t give away more than you have to give, and do your best to eliminate things from your life that force you to do things you find boring, stressful, and of ultimately no value to you.

3) Location, location, location

For wellbeing and mental health, you need to get out and change your environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined how important it is to experience fresh air and the wide-open spaces. The same four walls can be pretty oppressive if that’s all you see, so don’t forget to change things up every once in a while.

They say travel broadens the mind but you don’t have to jet off across the world to get the benefits. A stroll in your local park, a drive to somewhere you’ve never been before, or even changing your workspace can help.

4) Hydrate

The general advice is to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day – that's around half a gallon or 2 liters. It’s known as the 8x8 rule, and it’s the minimum! The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine suggests that women need 2.7 liters (91 oz) of water and men should up that to 3.7 liters (125 oz) to stay hydrated and healthy.

Staying hydrated can do everything from better managing your weight, reducing the likelihood of suffering from depression and anxiety, and ensuring your immune system can work optimally.

While plain water is great, you’re not limited to drinking it and can drink teas and other sugar-free drinks such as lemon or cucumber water. So get in the habit of keeping a bottle of water with you and taking regular sips throughout the day.

5) Take a weekend getaway

Book a weekend away - even if it’s alone. If you can do this for the weekend before Valentine’s day do, but this tip is valid year-round. Taking a few days out to get a change of scene and relax will help you destress and connect with yourself.

Make a list of places you’d like to visit and make a point of trying to cross one off every few weeks or months, depending on what you can afford and how you like to travel. A weekend getaway allows you to see life from a better perspective and truly recharge your batteries. Plenty of people are doing staycations where they simply go to a hotel nearby for a night or two to get a change of scene and have other people take care of their needs, so add that idea to your list!

6) Food, glorious food

Don’t fall into the trap of eating nothing but ice cream and chocolate on Valentine’s Day, treat yourself to a delicious meal instead. While it’s best not to turn to food as a reward for a hard day too often, choosing foods you love (and ideally, that your body will love too) is a great way to show yourself you care. If you genuinely dislike cooking, book a table at a quality restaurant and head there - yes, even if you’re going to eat alone! It’s a scary thing to do, but those who do it regularly find it is an empowering and therapeutic thing to do, so give it a try.

These six tips can drastically change the way you feel on a day-to-day basis, especially around Valentine’s Day. You’ll feel better about yourself and, as they say, it’s difficult to love anyone else if you don’t love yourself. All of these ideas can be done inexpensively or for free, so you have no excuses for not scheduling your “me” time this Valentine’s Day.

 


Dr. Nancy Rahnama, MD, ABOM, ABIM, is a medical doctor board certified by both the American Board of Obesity Medicine and the American Board of Internal Medicine. Her specialty is Clinical Nutrition, that is, the use of nutrition by a medical doctor to diagnose and treat disease. Dr. Rahnama has helped thousands of people achieve their goals of weight loss, gut health, improved mood and sleep, and managing chronic disease. In addition to her private practice in Beverly Hills, she is also the co-founder and Director of Nutrition for Dr Nancy MD.

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