Self Love. This term has become more and more frequently used on social media, even more so in the last year during the COVID pandemic. But what does self-love really mean? 

According to social media, it means face masks, bubble baths and boujee lighting. Don’t get me wrong, having the right feel to my bedroom, the right atmosphere to work in, the right skin routine – it all helps make me feel a little more human. But does that mean that I’ve cracked the code on self-love? 

The Oxford language defines self-love as “regard for one’s own wellbeing and happiness”. With all the face masks and bubble baths in the world, I don’t think (for me at least) that self-love will be achieved through those alone. These short term treats are lovely, and really have proven for many people to boost their emotions – and that’s just it. It’s not the insta worthy coffee, the newest charcoal skin care routine or the redesign of the office space that is proving you have self love. It’s the time, effort and recognition you have put into the fact that you have taken time out of your day (whether that’s 10 minutes or 3 hours) to focus on YOU. 

Not work, not studying, not attending to other people. For me, showing I have self-love is showing that I am prepared to not work myself into the ground with stress at the request of lecturers, bosses and family. It’s the fact that I have said, “No I need some space” and have actively taken a step back to do whatever it is that I want to do.

Self-love is exactly what it says on the tin – it is about focusing on yourself. If that is a face mask – fantastic! If it’s having a nap – wonderful! But know that, whilst listening to others on what they do is great, at the end of the day, only you can figure out what action will boost your attitude. Only you can decide how to show yourself some love.