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Love Yourself with these Self-Love Rituals this Valentine’s Day

I’m the girl that’s been a fan of love from the beginning. I love falling in love with myself and others, I love seeing other people in love, and I even hang up calls with my best friends with a simple, “love you,” before we say good-bye. I prefer a world that’s covered in love, than one that’s built to avoid it, any day of the week.

And right around Valentine’s Day is always the perfect time to celebrate a little extra self-love. If you’d like to join me in making Valentine’s Day about someone special in your life… YOU… then here are a few rituals that I’ve built specifically to help you practice a little extra love.

How often do you go on a special date before mulling over the right outfit for hours? NEVER. So don’t treat your Valentine’s Day solo-date any differently!

In fact, I’m feeling like this Valentine’s Day is a little extra special, so I’m going to go all out and buy a couple pieces to create a super cute, Valentine’s Day(ish)-themed outfit. (Though I’m also pretty practical, so general reds and pinks are top of order for me.)

For my workout top, I’ve been loving my this pink, long-sleeved workout top (under $20!). While I originally purchased this top for training runs, it’s been perfect for cross-training sessions. Moisture wicking and stretchy enough for full mobility, it’s perfect for the cross-training class I’ll be taking for the holiday.

My leggings will be these red, full length leggings (also under $20). The red color goes perfectly with my previously purchased top, while the features of these leggings make them useful for all purposes. They are soft, stretchy, and I’ve loved them in all occasions I’ve used them in thus far.  (Be aware that these leggings are definitely made for warmer weather if you workout outside often, but I’ll be using them for indoor classes regularly throughout the winter, too.)

And for accessories, I’ve become a big fan of working out in baseball caps in this colder weather. It keeps the sweat out of my eyes, stops the heat from releasing out of my head, it keeps me from getting distracted by others in the gym, and I never even have to think about what my hair looks like. Plus, it kind of makes me feel like a badass, too. For the holiday, I decided that I wanted a little, extra special gift for myself. Enter this totally badass baseball cap (under $13!). It’s an more classic fit baseball cap that is still incredible breathable. Big fan.

Have you ever regretted working out? No, absolutely not! That’s because fitness helps us to accomplish new goals, consistently improve, builds up those happy, little endorphins, and clears out some of our mental junk that we build up over the day.

If you’re like me, you get very focused on your current workout routine. I’m in the middle of my marathon training, following my schedule (almost) exactly so that I don’t injure myself or stop building my endurance.  But, while I adore my running schedule, I’ll be the first to admit that it can become a bit monotonous.

Because of that, special for this Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be treating myself to a new workout studio to mix up my routine and give my workout regimen a little extra boost of adrenaline!  Specifically, I will be heading to the new Shred 4/15 down the street – a workout studio that I’ve heard so much about, but have not had the opportunity to try myself.

This workout consists of four intervals of 15-minutes each. Alternating between treadmill drills and strength training, the classes are designed to build aerobic capacity and neuromuscular efficiency in a scientifically-backed way.  And, from everything I know, it sounds like the perfect cross training to implement into my usual run and mobility program!

(Let me know if you’re interested in learning more and I can provide a full review once I try out the studio to let you know what I think!)

While I don’t get the time to do it very often, I love making myself a delicious home-cooked meal.  I find it to be enjoyable to create the meal with my hands, and I get to make whatever I’m exactly in the mood to enjoy.

And for Valentine’s Day, you better believe that I’m going to go a little over the top!

While my first choice would usually be a big, juicy steak, it’s way too cold for me to go outside to grill on my balcony in this Chicago weather. So I’m going to go with my close second choice…

Sheet Pan Steak and Veggies.

Easy cleanup, healthy (-ish), and perfectly seasoned, melt-in-your-mouth steak goodness.  And, as an added perk of this combination is that you get to pick how much food you make.  Want more delicious goodness for the rest of the week, then just double the recipe and you’re all set!

To see the specific recipe that I’m going use on Valentine’s Day, it’s from Damn Delicious and can be found here.

For dessert, because you know I’m supporting my sweet tooth on this festive holiday, is going to be…

Chocolate Cake for One

That’s right, I’ve found a recipe that is designed to make one single serving of chocolate cake. It’s quick and easy to make and includes just the right amount of sweetness to end my meal right. All you need to add is a glass of red on the side!

If you’re going to make this recipe yourself, please note that you will need a clean, empty tuna can. It sounds silly, but it’s exactly the size you’ll need to make your individual portion of cake!

The complete recipe for this chocolate cake for one is from Bustle and can be found here.

Who doesn’t love a classic dinner and movie date? And this Valentine’s Day isn’t going to be any different!

But skip the Romantic Comedies, or at least go for one with a little girl-power message attached. Remember that you don’t need to be part of a couple to fall in love with your life. The more you love your life and yourself, the more you open your heart to love from every direction of your world.

Here are some of my favorite films with a strong female protagonist, depending on your genre of interest.

Action – Mad Max: Fury Road, Kill Bill, Wonder Woman, Insurgent, The Hunger Games

Drama – Bend It Like Beckham, Erin Brockovich, Steel Magnolias, A League of Their Own, The First Wives Club, Wild

Comedy – Legally Blonde, How to Be Single, Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect, Miss Congeniality

Family – Mulan, Moana, Matilda, The Princess Diaries 2: The Royal Engagement, Frozen, Pollyanna

Personally, I’m thinking I’ll be drawn towards “How to Be Single,” which is free on OnDemand right now. While it starts off in the traditional Romantic Comedy way (boy meets girl, blah blah blah), I promise that it ends with a strong message attached.  I highly recommend.

One of my favorite ways to celebrate a beautiful holiday is grounding myself through mindful meditation and mindfulness exercises.  Gratitude, empathy, and positive affirmations all find their way into my thoughts when I open my mind and release it from my everyday stresses through journaling, prayer, NeuroPraxis, and meditation.

But since this is Valentine’s Day, and therefore a special holiday, I’m going to take it one step further by relaxing in a therapeutic bath. Essential oils and bath salts, candles, my current book (I have two going right now, a novel called Midnight Library and a Christian book titled The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People), and some healing time in the bath are how I plan to ground myself after the activities of the day.

If you’re new to mindfulness exercises, know that practicing mindfulness does not have to come from a space of complete silence, though it might look like that to you in the end. Rather, mindfulness might be in the form of a moving meditation or restorative yoga flow, walking slowly with intention, being intentionally mindful during your morning chores, or practicing Tai Chi. No matter what method works for you, I encourage you to find what type of mindfulness-based practice works best for you and open your mind to the possibilities.  I promise that your mind, body, and spirit will be glad you did.

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