February – the Month of (Self) Love 

By Dakota Tara Rose

February is undeniably the month of love. Storefronts are decorated with hearts, flowers, and everything red and pink. Anticipation of America’s most romantic holiday floats through the air, intermingling with the aroma of chocolate truffles dusted with red heart sprinkles. Personally, I find it all too easy to be caught up in the excitement of the month, letting my mental health go by the wayside. It is in moments like this that I am grateful for reminders of self-love and its importance. 

Psychology Today defines self-love as “accepting yourself wholeheartedly, treating yourself with kindness and respect, and prioritizing your physical and emotional health.” But how do we practice inner compassion? There are, of course, big ways to practice self-love in the long-term. Mental health awareness, self-love, and self-care are increasing all the time. Recently, I even read a novel that, while being a cute love story, also grapples with heavy mental health themes. In The Plus One by Mazey Eddings, Eddings writes therapy is “one of the most radical forms of self-love.” But there are plenty of less radical ways to practice self-love this season! 

Journaling is a great way to put the world on pause and reflect. It does not matter if you’re writing about your day, concerns about an upcoming test, or spring break plans; taking time to write is an easy way to release and better understand yourself — thus devoting time to your emotional health. Journaling is also a great way to sort out how to handle a difficult situation. We all have things going on in our lives requiring reflection. To quote buddhist teacher Tenzin Palmo, “the answer lies within ourselves,” and journaling allows us to to tap into the right answers by identifying the emotions we are feeling.

If journaling supports our emotional health, a great way to prioritize your physical health is to try a new form of exercise or return to an old favorite. Take an exercise class at one of the many studios in the DFW area like CorePower Yoga, Orange Fitness, or Pure Barre. Or take a walk along Katy Trail. Stop by a Knox Street coffee destination or juice bar to nourish yourself mid-workout! Fairgrounds Coffee and Origin Kitchen are a couple of SMULook staff favorites! According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise produces endorphins that boost your mood and reduce stress, and a little treat to go along with your exercise always keeps that mood boost going!

Treating yourself with kindness and respect is a key part of self-love. What’s a better way to practice this aspect than treating yourself – literally? Take yourself out to your favorite shopping spot and buy yourself a gift. It doesn’t have to be big, but buying yourself the thing you’ve been eyeing or something that makes you feel taken care of is a wonderful way to treat yourself with kindness. You can also take yourself out to brunch at one of Dallas’ many wonderful restaurants! Or just for dessert! A solo date is the perfect way to do something kind for yourself and perhaps explore a new part of the city we call home!

Even if you only have a few minutes, you can practice self-love by allowing yourself a moment to work on a recent project, play an instrument, or practice a favorite hobby. Taking a moment out of your busy life to practice something you enjoy is a quick way to love yourself and give yourself a break. 

Practicing self-love comes in so many ways — big and small. Nurture yourself, exercise your body, and write down how you’re feeling. You will be amazed at the difference you feel in your confidence and overall life when you dedicate time to prioritize self-love each day. So, while the world whips around us with flowers, chocolate, and date ideas, remember to take a few minutes to show a very important someone a little love — yourself.

Dakota Rose

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