It’s that time of year: cuffing season. Cold weather is creeping in, as is the desperation of finding someone to cuddle with and show off to your nosy grandmother during the holidays. It’s also a time where long-distance freshman year relationships begin to fizzle out and anxiety peaks for seniors that still haven’t found that college soulmate that we’ve all been told is inevitable. No matter where you are on the relationship spectrum right now in this brisk fall season, the long months and holiday breaks provide the perfect opportunity for you to explore the most complicated relationship of all: the one with yourself. Yeah, we’ve all heard the cheesy phrase “self-love,” but it is not as easy as you might think, and is way underrated. As love guru Carrie Bradshaw once said, “The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself.”
Self-care is a concept that is emphasized frequently and seems easy enough, but actually takes some time and devotion to truly discover. It’s a trade-off: sacrificing time and energy is necessary to obtain happy and healthy relationships. We do this with friends and significant others more easily and more often because they are constantly there to remind us if we are failing to check in, but we forget to check in with ourselves. That’s why I challenge you to take a month, or even just a week, to actually commit time to actively focus on yourself, and see what you learn. And who knows, maybe then you’ll find that perfect companion to go to pumpkin patches with and share hot chocolate with. In the words of Carrie: “And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” Without further ado, here are three tips for how you can embark on your committed journey:
Yeah, yeah … you’re not a hipster or a yogi so you immediately dismiss this one. But what if I told you it is sort of like working out? Similar to the way that we train our bodies at the gym, meditation is a way of training the mind in its awareness. It’s not a way of drowning everything out. Rather, it’s a method of observing our thoughts and feelings without judgment and giving them perspective and a greater understanding. Not to mention, it has literally been scientifically proven to reduce stress, anxiety and depression. If you are unsure how to meditate, Headspace is an awesome (free) app that guides you through 1-10 minute meditation sessions.
Take time to get to know your own body
That’s right — I’m talking about the intimate art of self-pleasure. Orgasms release the endorphins dopamine and oxytocin, which can improve your mood, relieve stress and help you sleep better. Furthermore, knowing your own body and what you like goes a long way in intimate relationships and understanding your own sexuality. So, take the time to treat yourself and indulge in a little ménage à moi.
Find an engaging solo activity
Whether it’s baking, reading a book, gardening or doing a sudoku puzzle, find an activity that you enjoy and that is both calming and mindful. It’s easy to switch on the TV and zone out, and it’s also completely acceptable to do so. But it’s also important to find an activity that feeds your brain and mind with the rejuvenating and calming qualities it has to offer. This way, you can walk away feeling proud, re-energized and self-aware.