Self-love, what a concept? It’s a skill set that isn’t really taught in schools or part of the narrative as we grow up. It seems like we either live in a state of self-dislike or a state of self-acceptance. But how liberating would it feel to truly love yourself? Your flaws, your past, your quirks, your unique features – all of it. 

Well, it starts with learning to strengthen your love muscle within your brain. Over time we’ve discovered that our brain is a malleable matter and we can easily form new pathways through experience and learning. This is called neuroplasticity. Something that Wolven clothing and our brains have in common - elements of plastic! Part of loving ourselves is connecting with ourselves. Tuning in to the inner dialogue, knowing what you like, what you don’t like, and putting your needs first!

 

I’d love to give you some tactical habits, routines, or even practices that you can adopt in this new year (or anytime) to cultivate more self-love, baby! There’s an endless amount of these types of practices so I’ll be sharing some from my personal toolbox that has helped me as a Whole Life Healing Coach. Some of these you may already be doing, however, it’s important to frequently refresh our self-love rituals and try new things. Coming from the former queen of the ‘afraid-to-try-new-things club’ I encourage you to take one step at a time and even simply reflect on your intention in cultivating more love for yourself. A personal intention I will share is I am doing my best to set the boundary to avoid checking my phone first thing in the morning. The why behind this is that I deserve at least an hour to settle into my day and my own energy before I engage on social media. Setting healthy boundaries and declaring your own deserving creates a beautiful cocktail to cultivate your self-love potion!

Brain Dump: An oldie but a goodie personal development practice. However often it feels necessary, grab your pen and paper and just write. No judgment. No direction. No pressure. Just let all of your thoughts out on the paper. Maybe even set a timer for yourself to measure how long you can write for. If it feels aligned, safely burn the paper to release any leftover energy. Cathartic, purposeful, and satisfying. Kind of like cleaning out and organizing your closet! Sometimes it's a huge mess before it feels all together, part of this practice is meeting yourself with where you’re at.

Rewatching a comfort movie: Carving out time to simply just relax with pieces of content that enjoy is absolutely a great way to give more love to yourself. Oftentimes, our favorite movies share a lot about who we are and the experiences that stimulate a sense of dopamine. Grab your comfy pants (Wolven Joggers are my fave!), pop some popcorn, and connect with the characters that make you feel joyous or even nostalgic. "It can become really therapeutic, especially if you are feeling anxious. Watching the same piece multiple times reaffirms that there's order in the world and it can create a sense of safety and comfort on a primal level," says psychologist Pamela Rutledge.

Discover new music: This is a fun one! Our musical identities offer us a way to relate to others and a sense of release when we really get into the right playlist. It can be a challenging part of a conversation when someone poses the question “What type of music do you listen to?” and you don’t really have a clear answer. Maybe you just don’t find yourself listening to music a lot or have never dove into more sub-genres, but I’ll say this – music is healing. There’s no doubt about it. It gives us the ability to channel another part of ourselves that definitely stimulates the love that we have for the person within us. If you have a free night and want to spend some time with yourself, pour up your favorite beverage (Kombucha girl here) and go on Spotify! They have a ‘Discovery Weekly’ playlist which is curated for just your personal algorithm. Another way to find new music is by playing a favorite song and visiting the song’s ‘Radio’. While you listen, don’t be afraid to bust a move!

Stimulate your senses: To love ourselves requires radical self-presence. We live in an overstimulating culture where we don't often acknowledge what we’re actually experiencing within our 5 senses. It’s pretty simple to pour some love into each one, however, the emphasis on presence is an important part of strengthening the love within your brain. Next time you cook yourself a nourishing meal, try eating without any videos or music, and really tune into the taste of your food. Perhaps next time you receive a massage, allow yourself extra time to arrive at your appointment so that you can feel extra zenned-out before you make it onto the table, enabling your ability to receive touch more fully. For sight, I recommend a self-eye-gazing practice called Mirror Work. It’s performed exactly as it sounds and is super powerful! For smell, this could be something simple like being more intentional with your skincare routine. The possibilities are endless when it comes to tuning in to your unique senses. You’d be glad you tuned out the world and all of your own internal stuff to simply just be with yourself and your brain.

Inner Child Play: This concept may be my favorite approach when it comes to sparking that love and joy within your heart. Some ways I like to tap into the ‘inner child’ are having a craft night with friends, playing video or card games, ecstatic dance, coloring books, and exploring nature. Anything that allows you to be present, cultivate a sense of child-like wonder, and promote laughter. Laughter really is medicine for the soul. Inner child work is an integral part of our healing journey in this life. When we take a step in the direction to show some love to our inner child, we can come out the other side feeling refreshed and connected.

In conclusion, self-love, self-care, self-anything really isn’t cut and dry. There is no one size fits all. It’s important to find the sense of present nature to feel that intentional connection with giving and receiving what you truly desire. This year we’re no longer going through the motions. We’re no longer checking out. We’re plugged in. We’re in tune. We’ve checked in with our emotions and our needs. And we’re ready to thrive.



About the Author:

Alyssa Alvarez is a Metro-Detroit native Whole Life Healing coach and yoga teacher. Through her studies of neuroscience, nutrition, yoga, mindfulness, and intuition, she’s led emerging entrepreneurs and teenage women to new heights in their capacity to show up for themselves. Her podcast, Aura Awakening Radio, shares the stories of conscious creatives pursuing their passions and the leaps they took to embody their highest potential. Alyssa also hosts local workshops on Body Neutrality, the seven chakras, and EFT Tapping. You can visit her website at www.auraawakening.com or Instagram @awakening.alyssa.

February 05, 2022