Dearest friends, February is the month of chocolate, flowers, and cards - but it's also a great time to get quiet, open your heart, and tend to the exceptional light inside of you.Remember, you can only serve others when you allow yourself space and time to bloom. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get quiet and listen.So, whether you decide to revamp your meditation routine or indulge in some chocolate today I have some tips for you.
First, I want to talk about some alternative ways to share the love with your partner. As a yogi I’m all about sharing and spreading the love in a creative and authentic way, every day. Even though Valentine’s Day can be a fun and playful way of celebrating your relationship with your partner, we don’t actually need a date on the calendar to show some love and let that person know how we feel about them.
Here’s to ditching that expensive dinner reservation and doubling-down on what really matters!
- Evening activities, unplugged.We can all benefit from less screen time! Shut down the devices, light some candles, put on your favorite Spotify playlist, cook a meal together and enjoy each other’s presence without distractions.
- Get outdoors and give nature some love!I could argue that now more than even we should be getting outside to celebrate the beauty of the natural environment that supports and inspires us every day. There are endless opportunities with this one: go to the beach, take a hike, pack a picnic, stargaze, go camping in the woods and build a fire (caution with this one!).
- Plan a mini trip together.Would you believe me if I said that planning a trip helps you stay together? Couples who travel together agree better and have fewer disagreements than couples who don’t. Traveling reveals things not only about the outer world, but about each other. We discover each other’s strengths and weaknesses and find out how to complement our partner on these roles. When you plan a trip together you are sharing a common goal and purpose to see a part of the world together. Lastly, when experiencing something new with your partner you’re creating a memory that will forever be unique to your relationship.Who’s ready to travel?!
Alright, what about all my single ladies (and guys)? I haven’t forgotten about you! Being single is a powerful time that can foster a healthy sense of self and independence. Before we can commit to someone else, we need to know and love ourselves first. Ultimately, self-love is a lifelong practice. If you’re spending V-day solo, or even if you’re not, I want to give you some pointers in radical self-love.
- Value your time.Your #1 nonrenewable resource is your time, and if you don’t value your time no one else will. If you feel undervalued in some aspect of your life see what you can shift about that situation. Sometimes this means saying ‘no’ more, and ‘yes’ to only things that really matter.
- Breathe. Breath is our life force. It’s why yoga focuses so much on staying with the breath, syncing movement with each inhale and exhale. When you draw the attention to your natural breath, or intentionally practice pranayama (breath control) you’re changing the messages that your body is sending to your brain and vice-versa. This is uber-soothing!
- Write a list of your best qualities.The number does not matter here! Write down all of your amazing qualities and then place that paper somewhere that you will see if often.
- Nourish your heart with a nutritious meal - and make it beautiful.This is a wonderful act of self-care. When you make yourself a priority you are able to go out into the world and meet others where they are at. We are what we eat and by choosing to eat a nutritious meal that we’ve prepared intentionally for ourselves, we are offering ourselves an opportunity for lasting health.
I wouldn’t be a dietitian if I didn’t dedicate some time talking about food! Valentine’s Day traditionally brings endless sweets, candy, wine, and a decadent meal. With all of that, how can you stay healthy while indulging in some of the holiday favorites? Let me tell ya about some of the nutrient benefits to v-day classics!
- Red WineNot only does red wine fit the color theme of Valentine’s day, but it may protect your heart as well. Red wine contains an antioxidant from grapes called resveratrol. This compound may be beneficial to heart health as it reduces damage to blood vessels, prevents blood clots, lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and raises HDL (“good” cholesterol). Five ounces of wine counts as one serving (remember women of all ages are advised to limit alcohol to one serving a day and two servings for men under 65). Cheers, loves!
- Dark chocolateAhh, chocolate. Can you even celebrate Valentine’s day without chocolate? Not only is it a luxurious flavor to our taste buds, it can also be a favor to our hearts. Dark chocolate is high in antioxidants called flavanols (also found in fruits and vegetables). Flavanols are associated with a lower risk of heart disease, and some studies even observed lower insulin resistance (what leads to the development of diabetes) and high blood pressure.
- PopcornDid you know popcorn is considered a whole grain? This means it has not been milled and processed and it still holds its fiber and b-vitamins. It’s also naturally fat-free (0.1 g/cup) and low in calories! Compared to the previously mentioned foods, popcorn has a low glycemic index which means it will not spike up your blood sugar. With only 30 calories per cup, and 3 cups per serving, popcorn can be the ultimate snack for any day. Of course on Valentine’s day, you may want to top your popcorn with a little chocolate, caramel, or sea salt.
How are you spending valentines day this year? Let me know in the comments below! Wishing you all a day filled with love and gratitude for yourselves and your loved ones.