12 November 2019

5 Self-Love Habits to Create Before 2020

Last October, I got ill and had to spend a whole month at home. No work, no gym, no going out... it was a pretty long month in which I had to rest and simply let my body recover. You might think I got bored, but I actually didn't mind. I hadn't taken a real summer break as I worked from June to late September with a break of two busy weeks spent in Palestine and a week of intense volunteer interpreting. So this was a great way to unwind, let my body completely detox and get rid of all physical and mental stress. As I started to recover, I began to reflect on the habits I wanted to create in my life as I got back to work and into my fall routine. I realised that increasing the amount of meditation and breathing exercises I did would have been very beneficial, as since I've started practicing it years ago, it's made a huge impact on my life. I also thought of new habits I wanted to introduce in my weekly routine and, a few weeks in, I can already spot the difference these habits have made on my mental health and overall wellbeing. As I am growing and learning each day, I've come to realise how important it is to go the extra mile for yourself. And because we all like to create New Year's Resolutions, I thought, why not start these magical, self-love habits in advance, instead of leaving them to January 2020?

1 - Improve / start a meditation routine
If you know me in person, I must have tried to convince you to start practicing meditation at least once or twice. Meditation, in other words, breathing exercises, is crucial to your wellbeing. Every day most people get so busy first thing in the morning, rush to work, eat mindlessly, and go back home to 'unwind' by scrolling down their social media apps, checking what everyone's been up to. It's so easy to get into a hectic routine that is so unhealthy without realising that we must dedicate some moments to simply be. All that breathing consciously does is helping you re-centre, reconnect to yourself and to your inner energy. This is so useful for everybody, but especially those of you who work in hectic places such as big cities, or who take (stressful) public transport, have to move around a lot, etc. Of course, if you work from home, spend a lot of time in nature every day, or work in a very relaxing environment you might not need this as much, though I truly recommend this to anyone.
If you have no clue on where to start, here is a little guide to help you begin. If you already practice meditation, I recommend doing it at least twice a day for 15 minutes each, and more if you are able to. I like to use the app Insight Timer, which is free, and am currently listening to Tomek Wyczesany's tracks in English and Albina Locarno's tracks in Italian.

2 - Sign up to a course
I'm sure there is a hobby you've always wanted to take up, or a sport you've always wanted to learn. As Karen Lamb's famous quote goes, "A year from now, you will wish you had started today". Even though we are all very busy, I'm sure you can find an afternoon, or an evening a week to dedicate to the interest you've always wanted to pursue. And if you have more time to dedicate to it, then even better! Signing up to a new course, whether an online course, a class at the gym, language lessons or something else is so fulfilling. You can make new friends, meet people with similar interests, learn new skills, and so much more. It will give you a happiness boost and something to look forward to, as well as motivation in other areas of your life.
I'm happy to say that I've recently signed up to a salsa and bachata course! This is something I've wanted to get back into since 2015, when I moved to Spain and took salsa lessons every Friday with my housemates in Valencia. I had so much fun and it helped me unwind after a week of university lectures, translations and more. But there are still so many interests that I'd like to explore in the future - learning more about wine, taking an Arabic language course, learning how to play tennis, and who knows what else! I feel so excited just writing about this though!

3 - Eating mindfully and detoxing
Here's an oldie. I might be stating the obvious, since by now we are all aware of the fact that consuming healthy, whole foods and detoxing often are the best things we can do to our body. What I'd like to add though is that you can start to do this with more regularity, especially during the working week, as that's when you need more energy.
What does eating mindfully mean? It means eating well. Chewing your food slowly and being truly present while having it, feeling its flavour properly as if you were tasting it for the first time can make your meals so much more meaningful and also make you absorb all the energy and nutrients you need properly, as opposed to eating in a rush, perhaps in front of a screen, then skipping onto the next task you have to accomplish. I could also get into the foods you decide to eat, such as an increased amount of fruit and veg, though I feel like that's a very personal decision.
What about detoxing? To most people, detoxing means having a smoothie, but there are so many ways you can cleanse your body. I like to have a glass of hot water with lemon and ginger in the morning, though I really like to listen to my body. Some days I might not feel like having it, and some days I might like to have it later on in the day. The best moment of the day to detox is meant to be the morning to prepare your body for the day, though if you're not a morning person there are other ways you can do this. Some people like to do intermittent fasting, which consists of not eating for a period of 13+ hours (i.e. from 10pm to 11am). This seems to be the newest trend among influencers and it does sound interesting, though not so realistic if you're working the next day. Have you ever tried it?
Another method I've been trying out is going into the steambath. I've done it once a week for a couple of weeks now and I've been really enjoying it so far. It's a great way of sweating and getting rid of your toxins without running or doing cardio workouts (I'm not a fan) and also it feels like quite a treat! You don't need to go to a fancy spa for it, most gyms have one as well as a sauna, which I don't enjoy as much (but do let me know if you've tried it and felt the benefits of it).
*Spiritual information alert: stop here if you're a skeptic!* I also feel like this is a great way to get rid of any kind of external negative energy that you might have picked up from other people. Speaking of energy cleansing, I like to go to get reiki done on me once or twice a month, as it is a great way to re-balance your chakras and body energy. If you want to know more about reiki check out my post on how it incredibly changed my life. Before going to bed, I like to use palo santo and incense, and also wash with salt. Salt is a fantastic natural ingredient that absorbs negative energy; if you are feeling imbalanced I highly recommend using it, then checking how your body feels. You won't feel incredibly different at first, but you might feel a slight shift in your body energy, and if you keep doing it you will be able to feel a huge difference in the long run.

4 - Create a ritual or follow a 21-day challenge
Creating a ritual is like creating a safe space for yourself, a little corner that belongs to you and you only. It is so crucial to crop out me time and just do what makes you happy. Even if you only have 5 minutes to yourself a day because you have family to look after, or because you're so busy with your job, you can make sure you do that little something for yourself that can make a difference in your day, and it will also make a difference in the long run. Some rituals could be taking a hot bath with scented candles, reading a chapter of your book, going for a short walk outside before starting your day, meditating, doing yoga, cuddle your pets, cooking, drawing, painting... there are so many things you can do to cheer yourself up. And also, do yourself a favour - once you have found a great ritual for yourself, get rid of any guilt feeling that is attached to it! No, you don't need to get back to home chores; no, you don't need to feel guilty because you could be doing something else. This is a sacred time to show yourself some love and respect and that is so much more important than any house chore or job.
If you find it difficult to keep the ritual up, you can set yourself a 21-day challenge and do that ritual for 21 days straight, after which it will become a habit that you will do without thinking. According to studies, 21 days is a good amount of time to initiate a habit, so that's what I suggested, but you could make it a week-long challenge or even a weekend-long challenge if it makes it any easier or fun to stick to.

5 - Make a monthly / weekly assessment
Do you ever find yourself wondering whether you've managed to accomplish the goals you aimed at, or fulfilled the intentions you previously set? I find myself doing that on a daily basis and often don't have a straightforward answer. A good way to tackle this would be to get into the habit of making a monthly, weekly or even daily assessment if you like. In other words, writing down what you have managed achieved, from small things like managing to make more time to get ready in the morning to having passed a difficult exam or helped a friend during a difficult time. Some people find it useful to also write down what hasn't worked out to then work on it. Personally, I find that de-motivating so I don't recommend it, though I guess it would be very personal.

All this post is really just to say, do more of what makes you happy! It's so important to have a self-love routine, to nurture your body and mind with love every day and to be kind to yourself. I hope I have inspired you to create a new ritual and spend some special me time with yourself! Let me know in the comments if you have other self-love tips to start 2020 brilliantly.


  1. Hi Assia! Hope you've been well :) It's been awhile since I've caught up with my fellow bloggers. Hope you had a great Christmas with your family and 2020 is a great year for you!

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