On Valentine’s Day (and every day!): 6 simple ways to Cultivate self-love

It’s Valentine’s Day today and, ho-hum, I can’t say I’m a fan. I’m deeply sceptical about the slew of cringey, over-priced “romantic” gifts that have been pushed at us over the past few weeks in the name of love. But, since we’re on the subject, I’d like to flip it around to self-love.

These days, we’re hearing more and more talk around self-love. For most women, however, it remains just that: talk. While we’re hardwired to lavish love and care on our family, turning some of that love and care on ourselves can feel impossibly counterintuitive.

To give you a bit of real-life inspiration, here’s how one midlife woman overcame her resistance to prioritising her self-care. That allowed her to kick off 2024 feeling calm, energized and proud of herself.

Katy Grele

Katy Grele is a 52-year-old HR director and mum to two girls, aged 11 and 13. She’s an on-off runner, loves sewing and is currently learning to knit. She had breast cancer seven years ago and this has influenced her positivity towards the everyday joys in life (and an appreciation of a well-fitting bra!). Katy wasn’t interested in putting herself through any more short-lived, quick-fix diet plans. She wanted to adopt healthy habits to see her through the menopause…and the rest of her life.

Here, in her own words, is a summary of Katy’s self-loving start to the year.

Simple ways to boost your self-care

In previous years, I’ve always looked for that hardcore plan for January which predictably lasted the month (if I was lucky), and ultimately left me feel deprived and depressed.  

The beginning of this year was vastly different. Rather than being overwhelmed again by the usual “New Year, New You” pressure, my goal was to have a comforting, nurturing January that set the foundations for the year to come.

Having joined Freshly Minted in April last year, I now have so many tools and techniques at my fingertips that I never had before. Led by Suzy, and with the support of the women in the group, I’ve completely changed my approach.

Here are the key foundations that I’ve lived by in January (and am continuing to hold close):

No dramatic overhauls
Making nurturing self-care a part of my daily routine
Appreciating what’s in front of me
Acknowledging negative emotions and letting them float on by
Reminding myself that just one good practice a day is enough: more is a bonus!
I also decided that I would only do things that I enjoyed. I didn’t want to do Dry January and be miserable about it. But I discovered that I enjoyed it so much that I’m continuing it in February too. I may carry it on for longer but, again, I’m not committing to any grand plans or massive overhauls.

Here’s how I went about starting the new year with self-compassion and hope. In January, Suzy ran a session where we each made our vision board for the year (no need to wait for January: you can do this at any point in the calendar). Mine is so joyful. It’s vibrantly colourful and it’s up on my wall where I see it every day. She also encouraged us to write a 24 for 2024 list: achievable things that will nourish our body and soul and which we can tick off as we go along. Always a great feeling to tick something of a list!

Six ways to start the year off well

Here’s what I’ve done that’s been different from previous years.

I’ve built a calming bedtime routine (yes, they aren’t just for the under 10s) to improve my sleep.

I write three to four things that I’m grateful for in my journal every night before bed.

I walk every day – even if it’s for ten minutes – and I notice and appreciate it (the sunshine, the thick mud, the trees, the fresh air, the frost, someone’s cosy house).

I chose a few really comforting dinners to make and I made sure we had a family meal each week.

I cut right down on sugar – and focused on eating lovely, colourful, fresh foods.

I created a plan to build from zero to a proper strength training routine – and gave myself a year to do it (not a month).

If you had told me a year ago that being healthy would include lighting candles in the bathroom, using an aromatherapy diffuser to help me to feel calm, putting on chill music while I clean my teeth, giving myself a mini face massage while I take my make-up off, I would have said…no way! Back then, my concept of being healthy was purely centred on cutting calories, exercising and drinking plenty of water. That was about the sum of it.  

Being part of the Freshly Minted community has turned all of that around. I’m continually making progress towards my health goals – but in a kindly, compassionate way. And it’s alongside a group of women who support me, laugh with me and constantly provide me with inspiration. With this approach (which I’m sticking with), I feel like I’ve started the year feeling energised, calm and positive about myself.

It’s been such a revelation to experience the difference from previous years. I feel like I’ve embraced January’s grey clouds, and found their silver lining.

A simple, gentle recipe for nurturing yourself

So there you have Katy’s own personalised self-love recipe for nurturing herself. It’s been an absolute pleasure to watch her create (and stick to) these habits, which she has developed over time, buoyed and encouraged by the support of the Freshly Minted community.

You can listen to me chatting to Katy and sharing more practical inspiration on my Midlife Illuminated podcast. I hope our conversation reassures you that getting yourself healthy shouldn’t be punishing – leading with self-love is a far nicer and far more effective route to get there.

That’s why I created my Freshly Minted membership: to support, guide and champion women to adopt the small lifestyle changes that add up to a huge transformation in their wellbeing. Group coaching is, by far, the most joyful, powerful way to help us to feel vibrantly healthy – and start to thrive.

When we come together with others, we make remarkable progress that we would never have made on our own. That’s the power of community: find your tribe and you’ll find your wellbeing. Have a read of my blog about the remarkable benefits of changing habits as a team.

If you’re ready to finally feel good about yourself, you can find all the details on Freshly Minted here.

Share this post


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Change your morning, change your life!

A fresh 7-day toolkit to transform your morning – and so transform your entire day. Delivered directly to your inbox each day for 7 days - for free!

By signing up, you’ll also receive my twice-monthly newsletter that’s full of practical inspiration. NB. You can unsubscribe at any time. Here’s my privacy policy for details.

You have Successfully Subscribed!