Here in Melbourne, we’ve been enjoying an unusually warm start to Autumn making it almost hard to believe that summer is ever going to end. But, those crunchy orange leaves underfoot don’t lie: the darker days and cooler temps of winter really are just around the corner.
While there are plenty of things to love about winter (hello, snug nights at home with a warm bowl of soup!), many of us find ourselves struggling with the lack of sunshine and generally slower pace this season can bring. So this year we’re determined to get a head start on those Winter blues by making the most of the slower, more reflective season. And what better way to spend your hibernation time than building your self-love banks??
To help get us on the right track, we’ve asked our dear friend, life coach and goddess of all things self-development, Sammie Fleming, to share some of her thoughts and guidance around self-love:
How important is self-love to our emotional and mental wellbeing?
“Self-love is integral. It is super beneficial for our mental and emotional health, can reduce overall stress, and allows us to deal with challenges more easily. Essentially, without self-love, it is difficult to feel truly fulfilled and deeply joyful, so it is of wildly huge importance to cultivate this within ourselves. “
What does self-love mean to you?
“Self-love means loving all of myself (even, and especially, the parts that I find more challenging to love!) It means taking care of myself in a way that I would take care of someone I loved more than anything. It is the unshakeable sense of having my own back. This true, long-lasting self-love is not always easy in the human experience but I believe it’s a practice that can be cultivated, a strength to be worked on, every single day. The side note here is that self-love still allows for growth or conscious change. It’s not blind to necessary up-levelling. In fact, true and honest introspection around how I/we could be a better, kinder, more whole person is self-love in action.”
Why is it so hard for us to love ourselves?
“The messages in society often teach us that love for ourselves is conditional. That we can only love ourselves once we look a certain way, speak or behave in a certain way, or live in a certain way. Instead, we need to BEGIN with love. Start there. Start treating your body, your mind and your heart with love, long before it ever looks the way you think it needs to look.”
What advice do you have for someone struggling with self-love?
“Start right at the beginning by becoming mindful of the thoughts you have, and the way you treat yourself. Notice your inner dialogue. And with this awareness, get crystal clear on how you want to feel and how you want to love yourself. How do you want to speak to yourself? How do you want to treat yourself? Then, you can begin the practice of interrupting a negative thought and replacing it with your fresh, new self-love developing thought. Practice swapping out one small habit that is not serving you, and upgraded it with one that aligns with self-love. Notice how as you make these seemingly small shifts it becomes easier and easier. With time, these small changes will become your default, and self-love will become the most natural thing in the world.”
Do you have any daily rituals to help encourage self-love?
“I’m obsessed with ritual! I begin each day with a meditation. I am drawn to different meditations on different days, but there is almost always an element of gratitude, which can supercharge your self-love practice. I often massage moisturiser and essential oils into my body after a shower, energetically sending myself love. This feels almost like daily healing. Holding and enforcing boundaries for yourself can be a powerful act of self-love, and I am super conscious of what I say yes to, and what I say no to.
And, above all the delicious rituals and the boundary practices, I try to hold loving thoughts towards myself in a steady flow – that’s where the real gold is.”
Sammie Fleming is a Melbourne-based life coach, sacred circle and workshop facilitator, speaker, writer and lover of ease, calm, clarity and connection. If you’d like to know more about Sammie, and how she can help you get more in touch with your most harmonious, balanced, and self-loving self, reach out via her website.