February is known as the month of love. During this time, many of us think of our primary relationships, of romance and of Valentine’s Day. What I know to be true is that we need to truly love ourselves before we can cultivate deep and satisfying relationships with others.

Many of us have been socialized from a young age to always give to others before ourselves. We may feel guilty if we take time for ourselves; such as having lunch with a friend, or to nurture ourselves; such as having a massage.

What happens if we constantly give to others without giving to ourselves? We may become resentful. For example, if we’re always giving to a friend, and when we ask for help, she doesn’t have time for us. We often become less tolerant and our patience wears thin so we react to our partners, children and co-workers in a reactive manner, rather than mindfully and sensitively. Over time we become exhausted. Do you relate? We all need and deserve some time for ourselves and to care for ourselves.

What activities do you regularly integrate into your life to nurture yourself?

For me doing yoga three to four times a week is extremely important. Meditating daily is also a way for me to ground and relax. Bubble baths with lavender bath salts is a self-care strategy of choice. For you, regular massages with a trusted practitioner may be your top nurturing behavior.

Make a list of the things you do already to nurture yourself. Add to the list other things you would like to begin doing. Cheryl Richardson’s best-selling book The Art of Extreme Self Care is a great resource that offers 12 strategies to transform your life one month at a time. Get into action by putting your self-care strategies in your calendar (e.g. yoga classes), and by scheduling appointments with your favorite massage therapist, or lunch with a dear friend.

Remember, YOU are precious and deserve to be nurtured.

What self-care strategies do you employ to nurture yourself? How do you feel during and after doing something for yourself? I welcome your comments and strategies below. Feel free to share this post with a friend.

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