How to Love Yourself Mentally

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Learning how to love yourself mentally is one of the hardest things we do, especially for women. Everyone knows about self-care and about self-love, but whether they practice it is an entirely different story. I want to teach you how to love yourself mentally because I believe when you do, your life gets a whole lot better! 

jillian, travel and wellness influencer

Let me tell you about part of my own journey and my current circumstances that lead me to love myself mentally.

I just relocated, and as a result all of my stuff is in storage. I’m living in a tiny apartment, so I refuse to buy anything that I have in storage because that’s a complete waste of money, and I am willing myself out of this tiny apartment as fast as I can. 

As a result, I don’t have a scale or a full length mirror. I’m someone who watches what they eat continuously. I love to splurge, and I work out hard, but I also put on weight easily and have to be mindful of that. When the new year started, after a month at my mom’s house eating homemade toffee by the pound, I thought I would start Weight Watchers. This is when I realized I don’t have a scale and would either have to buy one or go to a meeting in person to get weighed. Then I had a thought–what if I just don’t weigh myself? This is a concept I’ve read about and heard about, but one I never practiced.

Now about this full length mirror, the one still somewhere in storage. I have no idea what I look like. Again, I’m not going to replace the mirror, so I’m just going with it. Nowadays, I don’t really dress up or have anyone to impress, so it’s been fine. 

On top of this, I’m living alone in a city where I don’t know a soul, so like, does it matter what I look like? My boyfriend got deployed basically the moment we moved, and at this rate there’s so much work for him to do it’s like he’s never coming home. Not to mention I now live in the Pacific Northwest instead of Las Vegas. People here are not very image-conscious, and they want you to come as you are. In Las Vegas, to go out women wear high heels, push-up bras, fake hair, and fake eyelashes. In Seattle I’ve seen one pair of fake eyelashes since I moved, and it was on New Year’s Eve. 

The cumulation of these things has made me really not care about how I look, and it’s liberating.

As women, we’re taught by society from a very young age that there’s a certain standard of beauty, and we should all be working towards that. This has emphasized to me how we are so much more than what we look like. Our bodies do so much for us, and more than how our bodies look, what matters is how they feel and function. 

I get it: It may be difficult to see and think of ourselves as beautiful when we’re practically drowning in unrealistic images all around us. It might be hard to break the habit of judging ourselves–and others–by current standards. Maybe we can reset ourselves by thinking of the various beauty standards of other eras and other cultures–that’s to say, the expectations change.

In America, we idolize celebrities that have had surgeries and manipulated their images with filters and photoshop. 

So one of my obsessions about Italian culture and lifestyle is the Italians’ relationship with looks. I love going to the beach in Europe. In Europe, you put on a swimsuit and enjoy the sun. That’s it. End of story. No one cares what you look like. It’s not a fashion show, no one diets for days ahead of time. You see cellulite, saggy skin, and all different types of bodies—and NO ONE cares. What matters is that they have bodies that allow them to walk in the sand, bathe in the sun, and swim in the sea. 

Thankfully, more “real” people are being shown in the media. As a culture we’re slowly becoming more accepting of different body types. We’re seeing brands having various size models and embracing body positivity. This is a long time coming, and we still have a ways to go. Even Disney princesses are starting to represent different ethnicities. Maybe one day there will be a princess who isn’t a size 4…hint hint, Disney. 

What can you do to be more accepting and less judgmental of women’s bodies? Be the change you want to see in the world. Stop judging others– and yourself. Think of yourself as you would think of your best friend and your grandma. 

how to love yourself mentally

Another way to love yourself mentally besides focusing on your looks is to take care of yourself mentally. We all know the common saying “put your own oxygen mask on first.” Unless you’re taking care of your own mental health, it’s not possible to help anyone else the best you can. As much as we love our families, our children, and our friends, we’re in no position to help them effectively unless we’re the best versions of ourselves.

Self-love mentally means finding an inner balance so that the decisions we make for others, as well as for ourselves, are the best decisions we can make, given the circumstances we’re aware of.

Balance is different for everyone, and it just matters that you find what works for you. 

Granted, sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line. We might find it too easy to say, “Well, I’ll take care of myself later.” I see this most in moms. Moms are natural givers and that tends to be how they identify in life–as a mom, as their role as caregiver. But equally important in your job as a mom is for your child to grow up and not need you. You are the role model who has to teach your children about loving themselves mentally. You’re actually a better mom if you do take care of yourself, and you’re teaching your children by example that they have to learn to take care of themselves, as well.  

Loving yourself mentally means taking care of yourself. It means self-acceptance and taking the time you need for yourself to be at your best. 

Some of the best suggestions I have for how to love yourself mentally are from the book Burnout by Amelia Nagoski. It’s a guide for women on unlocking the stress cycle, accompanied with science, advice, worksheets, and exercises. 

In Burnout, Nagoski writes that one of the best ways to love yourself mentally is sleep. Many people cut out sleep when they’re short on time.  But if you don’t sleep, your body can’t process what you have learned, recoup, or function properly. Not getting enough sleep leads to many mental and physical issues, which is why sleep is a nonnegotiable for loving yourself mentally. 

Physical activity is also a must.

It’s the most impactful way your body deals with stress and the best thing you can do for your mental health and wellness. This can be any type of movement. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel good. How many times have you ever finished a workout and felt worse than before you exercised? Exactly. Get moving! 

Another must for loving yourself mentally is connection and affection. Human connection is key to self-care. That can be a hug from your best friend or your mom. It can be an intimate kiss or sex. It can even be petting your dog. Reminders that we are not alone are paramount to loving yourself mentally. 

Taking time to yourself is another must.

This can be anything you want it to be. We have to unwind so that our brain and nervous system can cope with what they have dealt with in the day. For some people that’s Netflix, for others it’s reading a book, cooking, or taking a walk. Unwinding is an act of self-care. You can’t always be go, go, go, and if you are, your body will stop you if you don’t stop to unwind yourself. 

In Burnout Nagoski puts it perfectly–you can only do your best at a task for so long. She writes that “…resting after a depleting activity eliminates the effects of fatigue.” Mental rest is allowing your brain to process what has happened in your day and in the world. Unfortunately, rest has a negative connotation in our busy culture. We tend to believe that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. But actually, it’s not the event that makes you stronger–it’s the time afterwards that makes you stronger, the rest. As Nagoski says, “Rest is, quite simply, when you stop using a part of you that’s used up, worn out, damaged, or inflamed so that it has a chance to renew itself.”

How to love yourself mentally is a skill we all have to work on, but there is no better investment than in yourself.

If you want to read more about taking care of yourself and handling stress you should read Burnout. It’s a great tool for women, teaching them how to be their best selves by reducing stress in their lives. 

how to love yourself mentally

What does the phrase “self-love mentally” mean to you and how do you attempt to achieve it?

One of the best ways to work on your mental health is with a morning routine. That’s why I created this pdf guide, it’s changed my life and improved my wellbeing.

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