In the mid-80s no one was a bigger star than Whitney Houston. Even now, decades later, her lyrics and spirit ring true for those who loved her music and have been inspired by her words. One of her most critically acclaimed songs, “The Greatest Love of All,” embraces the idea of self-care. When she sings, “learning toLove Yourself it is the greatest love of all,” she is reminding people through a beautiful melody and meaningful words of their self-worth and the importance of inner reflection.
Music has inspired people for centuries and as an icon of the time, it’s no surprise that many of Whitney Houston’s songs continue to motivate people today. How, then, can we take her inspiration and incorporate achieving the “greatest love of all time” into our everyday idea of self-care? By infusing everything we do with love: love for our mind, body, and spirit and love for those around us. This starts with identifying and changing the language we use, especially when talking to or about ourselves.
It’s easy to get into the mindset of all of things we “should” do but didn’t or the things we want to do that we think we don’t have time for. Giving yourself the space you need to achieve the things you want is an important part of self-care. If you’re constantly spreading yourself thin for the sake of others, how are you replenishing your energy and love for yourself?
There are several studies that support the power of self-affirmations. One study published in theSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal found that self-affirmation activates the reward center in the brain. Research shows that it can help reduce pain and maintain balance within the body. When in doubt, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I can” or “I’m capable.”
Repeating words of positivity and self-assuredness greatly impacts your daily life and it takes no time at all. Taking care of your health through self-care is an ongoing activity; a one-time instance won’t have as powerful of an outcome as making it a regular part of your life.
Many associate exercising and eating healthy with losing weight. This may be one of the outcomes, but the value of both is that it helps to strengthen the body inside and out. Rather than thinking of exercise and diet in terms of calories, think of it as part of your wellness regimen. Measure goals by how working out makes you feel versus how it makes you look. Do you feel stronger? Less stressed? What body parts do you love?
In addition to how exercise and following a balanced diet helps you physically, it also serves as a mood booster, promotes better sleep, and gives you more energy throughout the day. When the mind and body are connected, it’s easier to function at an optimal level. The good news is that exercise comes in all forms. If the treadmill isn’t for you, take to the pavement at a favorite outdoor spot. Find what works for you and switch things up every once in a while.
For motivation, post a reminder on your mirror to walk everyday for 10 minutes or perform a few stretches. Remind yourself of how it’s helping both your physical and mental health. Use body positive language such as, “I am strong,” or “I love my body because…” Focus on honoring your body and its capabilities to harness your strength from the inside out.
As much as you do for your mind and body, do the same for your spirit as well by doing what makes you feel joyful and calm. This could mean scheduling time to meet with friends or a close family member. For others, self-care activities include volunteering, baking, or simply sitting in silence. Write down the moments and ideas that make you feel good and choose one to do at least once a day.
It’s common to look at self-care as a time-consuming event or costly practice, when really meditating for five minutes or performing a digital detox for the day is as significant of investment as anything else. Hone in on the things you truly enjoy and carve out a budget that’s focused on your self-care. The act of giving yourself permission to focus on yourself is a great step in loving yourself fully.
With one powerful song, Whitney Houston teaches the concept of looking within to find strength and love versus seeking it from outside sources. She sings, “Because the greatest love of all is happening to me.” Let the lyrics resonate with you and sink in and guide your future actions of self-care.
By starting with our language and allowing positivity to lead the way, it allows us to create enough space to embrace what brings us balance. Start with self-affirmation, body positive reminders, and tangible techniques that speak to your mind, body, and spirit on a regular basis and you’ll soon find this holistic approach to self-care starts with the healing that comes from loving yourself.