Show Yourself Some Love

1Whether you’re single or in a relationship, amping up the amount of love and care you show for yourself can boost your mood and make you a better partner or friend.

Drawing a blank? If it’s been a while since you did something kind for yourself, here are few ideas to get you started on the path to better self-care:

Treat yourself to a massage: Massage can be a great, relaxing treat and help relieve aches and pains, but did you know it can also improve your mood? One research study found that aromatherapy massage (massage done with aromatic essential oils such as lavender) was an effective treatment for relieving symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

While booking a day at a spa would be a great treat, you don’t have to blow your whole paycheck to get the mood-boosting benefits of a great massage. Try self-massage techniques you can do at home with a tennis ball, or visit a massage therapy training institute near you and get an affordable treatment from a student practitioner.

Show yourself some compassion: New research suggests that giving yourself a break, practicing what is called “self-compassion meditation,” can promote better mental health, give you the skills to be a healthy partner or friend, and build resilience in the face of failure or difficult circumstances. To learn more about this skill and the impact it can have on your mental health and relationships check out this TED talk or learn tips and chat with others practicing the art of self-compassion in this Google group.

Take yourself out for a date: Why wait for someone else to treat you to the things you enjoy? Go watch a movie and keep all the Junior Mints for yourself. Visit that museum exhibit you’ve been wanting to see (many museums even offer free admission). Go big and even treat yourself to a weekend away to see someplace new.

Far from being selfish, taking the time for activities like these – focusing on your own happiness and self-care – can make you happier, less stressed, and more resilient, which in turn can make you a better friend or partner as well. So this Valentine’s Day, indulge and show yourself some love.