Valentine’s Day, in the traditional sense, is sort of silly. The gifts are a bit lame (heart shape boxes of chocolates, roses at 3x the normal price and tacky lingerie? No thanks) and the holiday can be so marginalizing for those who don’t have a special someone. However, love, now that’s important. A life without love with is like a life without oxygen. We all need it to survive. So I got to thinking about a post for Valentine’s Day. Sure, I could have done a classic post with inspirational looks to wear this holiday, but that sort of bored me. Instead I decided to do a post on the most important person you’re in a relationship with, you! If you need more love in your life why not start with ways to love yourself by checking out these 20 gift ideas.
20 Ways to Love Yourself this Valentine’s Day
#1- Buy a New Bra
When was the last time you bought a new bra? Is it time to get a new one? Given the fact that most women wait until their bra is an overstretched band of elastic that barely keeps anything in place, my guess is that you probably need some new ones.
Bras are an investment, and spending money on a good, supportive style is more than worth it. Your clothes will look better, your body will look slimmer and your back will thank you. My personal favorite bras are from Primadonna. Nothing compares to the quality. And, before you invest in good bras, make sure you get sized. I got sized and found out I was wearing the wrong bra for years. Oh, and while you are at it, get the longest use from your bras by picking up a bottle of Soak Wash for laundering.
#2- Start exercising
Ugh, exercise. I know. But, we all know that exercise is not only good for us, but it releases endorphins which triggers a positive feeling in the body. My hairstylist recently told me about something called Class Pass. When you sign up for Class Pass, you get to explore a variety of affiliated gyms, yoga studios, and more in your area versus being locked into one membership at one gym. The price of Class Pass is often less than a single gym membership and you get a lot more variety.
Need incentive to commit to your workouts? Check out Pact. Pact uses cash stakes to help you achieve your health goals, week after week.
#3- Buy expensive jewelry you have been coveting
When was the last time you treated yourself? I don’t mean you taking yourself out to lunch or getting butter on your movie theater popcorn, I mean buying yourself something expensive that you have been coveting for some time. Instead of waiting around for Mr. Right to do it, why not do it yourself?
Whenever I think about this, I always remember the scene in the Sex and the City movie when Samantha unknowingly gets outbid by her boyfriend, Smith, on a ring. While it was flattering that her boyfriend bought it for her, Samantha later explained to him that she wanted to buy it for herself as a symbol of how hard she has worked to be able to afford it.
Every once and a while it’s nice to give ourselves things that symbolize how hard we work for our own successes.
#4- Find a new hobby
There are two things I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember. The first is to take a pottery wheel class and the other is to learn how to fence (not stolen goods). Don’t ask me where my fascination fencing came from, I have wanted to learn how to do it since I was really young. Even though I have had a pottery studio down the block from me for the past 18 years, I have never signed up and my husband even found me a fencing school in NYC where I could take an introductory class. My life has been so badly out of balance these past few years that I have decided that this will be the year that I will finally do something that isn’t work related.
I think finding a new hobby is great for a variety of reasons. First, as adults, we rarely give ourselves permission to do something just for the pure enjoyment of it. Everything needs to be tied to a goal or end result. Second, I think it is just good to suck at something and learn to get better. Third, learning new things creates new pathways in our brain and, fourth, hobbies can often be a great way of meeting new people with like minded interests.
#5- Take a mini vacation
If you can’t remember the last time you got away, it might be time to take yourself offline and book a trip. It doesn’t have to be anything major that involves travel agents and a huge budget. Maybe you have a friend you haven’t seen in a while, maybe you can surprise yourself by discovering a place only a few short hours from where you live. During the colder months many of us start to feel cooped up in our homes due to cold weather. A few days doing something fun is often all we need recharge and give ourselves some TLC.
#6- Start a micro savings account
In January I learned about a really fabulous way to squirrel away some money without even realizing it called Digit. Digit builds your savings by withdrawing a few dollars from your bank account every few days and putting it into a separate account. The amount is so small that you won’t even notice it is gone. Every morning you will receive a text from Digit telling you how much you have saved and the balance in your bank account. You won’t save for retirement with Digit, but you will build up a nice bit of savings over time that you can use for holiday shopping, a gift for yourself or even that mini-vacation.
#7- Take a cooking class
At the recommendation of one of my client’s I signed up for Blue Apron and I love it! I really love to cook, but shopping for groceries and just figuring out what to cook is not on my list of things I like doing. Blue Apron makes cooking so easy that I actually like being in the kitchen again. Even if you aren’t the best cook in the world, you can be with Blue Apron, trust me.
But if you are looking for something more, while also getting out and meeting people, what about a cooking class? It’s pretty easy to find a good local one, but did you know that Williams-Sonoma has classes? I didn’t.
#8- Start a journal
When I was around 18 I started to keep a journal. I kept one for years and every so often I will go back and read them. I really loved the practice and want to get back into it. In this day and age, journal keeping can be really techy. You can check out the best journaling apps here, but, personally, I prefer the old pen and paper way.
#9- Set a goal
Just about every goal I have achieved has required laser like focus from me, all which included being very clear about my intentions from the start. It sounds so fortune cookie, but goals without actions are just dreams. You can check out GoalsonTrack to record the goal, the purpose, start date, end date, metrics, subgoals, habits, and action plans.
#10- Wear sexy underwear
Similar to getting a new bra, what about new underwear that is actually, ahem, sexy? Why do so many women think that sexy underwear needs to be reserved for sexy time? Even the most ho-hum of outfits feel better when you have nice underwear on. Plus, with sites like AdoreMe, sexy lingerie can come to you without effort or even stepping foot into a store.
#11- Get a new haircut
Proceed with caution with this one. Do no, I repeat, do not, got and get a drastic new haircut if you are depressed or feeling in a serious shake up in your life. It’s sort of like going to the grocery store when you are hungry. However, if your life feels like the same old same old, a haircut could be just what the doctor ordered.
#12- Empower yourself
Years ago, during the time between breaking up with a long-term boyfriend and meeting my now husband, I took my friend Jennifer Macaluso-Gilmore’s empowering classes, Something Different for Women. After taking her classes, my life changed in a multitude of ways, which included meeting my husband. After taking some time off, Jen is back with her classes and I can’t recommend them enough. And if you’re not in NYC, not to worry, Jen offers her courses all over the world.
Loving yourself often means to doing nitty gritty work required to get where you want to go and, trust me, this is often a lot easier when we have someone guiding and supporting us. Not only will Jen’s classes help you, but the supportive community of women who have taken her courses will too.
#13- Donate old clothes
A good wardrobe purge is good for the soul, not to mention the closet and your peace of mind. Yet, purging and then doing something positive with those clothes is even better.
Don’t know what to do with your cast-offs? Well there are a few ways to go about it. I usually divide my donations into categories. Some go to my local church, others go to organizations like Dress for Success and others go to places like The Real Real for consignment. The Real Real, started by my friend Julie Wainwright, is a leader in authenticated luxury consignment. They offer the largest selection of pre-owned and authenticated luxury items including men’s and women’s luxury fashion, fine jewelry & watches and fine art. My mother-in-law recently consigned a great deal with them and has been nothing but happy with the results.
Another option is a company I equally love called Fashion Project. Unlike traditional consignors, when you donate your clothing to Fashion Project, you choose a charity where you would like the money made through the sales of your donations to go. I worked with them on an event benefiting the Melanoma Research Foundation and was blown away by their professionalism and expertise.
#14- Redecorate your home
Your environment can make a huge impact in your overall mood and outlook. If your home needs a revamp, you don’t consider yourself particularly skilled in this area but don’t have the budget to call in a professional, check out Decorist. You get experienced decorators to answer simple decorating questions for free and through a paid package. For around $199 you can get a Decorist makeover, which includes two design boards with shopping lists and recommendations based off a questionnaire and photos you send in.
#15- Hire a personal fashion stylist
Looking to hire a personal stylist? Um, hello.
Now that you know you don’t have to look far to find one, I am not kidding you when I tell you that so many of my clients not only feel better about the way they look after they hire me, they feel better about their lives. Many accomplish goals, get unstuck and tell me about how their lives change in amazing ways. Yes, this all can happen when you work on your personal style.
#16- Outsource your life
I was recently chatting with my mom about my recent uptick in business. She asked me if I was going to take on more consultants to help with the workload. Having tried that route once and it not working, I realized that duplicating myself is impossible. My focus, instead, is to continue to find ways to outsource the parts of my life that don’t require my expertise so that I have the time to do what does. I already don’t do my own laundry, I drop it off, I mentioned I use Blue Apron, and there are more areas I’m hoping to continue to outsource. Basically, if something can be automated, I automate it and if there is a way that something can get done without me having to do it, I set it up. I have learned that outsourcing truly is the way to success.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to outsource. I’m certainly not one. There are so many apps that can automate things today. You also don’t need to be a business owner to have something like a virtual assistant to take on tasks so you can free yourself up to focus on what’s really important. You can even check out a site like Task Rabbit for outsourcing. Now, if only I can outsource going to the gym I’d be as happy as a clam.
#17- Start dating
Just because you are focusing on you doesn’t mean you have to swear off dating completely. However, it is important to remember that dating is like the lottery, you have to be in it to win it. If you’re feeling like you want a partner but aren’t putting yourself out there, then how do you think you’re going to meet someone?
Gosh, so many things about dating can really suck, but the only way to end the bad cycle of dating is to actually date. Have you tried online dating? I actually met my husband that way and a lot of people have found love in the strangest of ways and situations. No matter how you wind up finding your partner, you won’t find them on the couch during an endless Netflix binge.
#18- Create a vision board
Vision boards became super popular when that movie and book The Secret released. That movie had so many people believing that if they visualized a Ferrari one would suddenly appear in their driveway. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way, but there is evidence that vision boards work.
#19- Reconnect with old friends
If being a good friend was judged by how often I actually see my girlfriends, I would be considered one of the worst friends on the planet. Case in point, I tried to get together with my best friend Heather for my 40th birthday and I just turned 42. We still haven’t nailed down a date. Thankfully, my friends are either just as busy as me or live in other parts of the country and world, making actually seeing each other challenging. However, when I do get an opportunity to see any of my girlfriends I always feel so invigorated afterwards and I realize that talking, texting and commenting on each other’s Facebook posts just isn’t enough.
#20- Get to the heart of what matters most
I consider my mom to be a pretty enlightened woman. When I was a kid, we used to call her car the self-help mobile because she’d always be listening to cd’s like Deepak Chopra, Maryann Williamson or Wayne Dyer. This past weekend, she showed me these cards called Grok games which is a resource to support an authentic compassionate life. They offer products, like the cards my mom showed me, to increase compassion, clarify intentions, and improve communication in all your relationships – even the one with yourself. We didn’t have a lot of time to really explore the cards, but I plan on buying a set for myself. I can see them being a great tool when I am working through an issue I don’t know how to resolve just yet.
With the craziness of life, the feeling that we are often being pulled in a ton of different directions and, sometimes, just feeling like all you can do is survive, I think it’s always important to take time to take a step back and get to the root of what matters most to you.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, remember, the level of love you can give to others equals the level you can love yourself first. So find ways to give yourself what you need most.