3 min read

Today I pulled the “Love” card from the Sock Monkey Oracle deck. I’m always happy when I pull the “Love” card! It's one of my favorites in the deck. What usually comes to mind when I pull this card are the people and things that fill me with love. Family, friends, and creative work top the list. Rarely do I think about love in the context of self-love. However, recently, after a long bout of caregiving, I discovered that taking care of myself is vital to lead a happy and fulfilling life.

So here are my seven tips for practicing self-love:
1. Make happiness a priority.
Try making a list of what makes you happy and start working on it today! Don’t save it until you have completed your chores or for when Mercury is out of retrograde. Do it now. When happy things are a daily occurrence, the rest of the day is much more pleasurable.
2. Practice gratitude.
Each day, reflect on all the good in your life. The practice of gratitude doesn’t have to be a long, elaborate process. For example, I give thanks for the day the first thing each morning. Then, at day’s end, I give thanks for all the good that occurred. It makes the day a loving gratitude sandwich!
3. Set boundaries.
Are you a people pleaser? If so, you might feel uncomfortable when saying no. But after years of people pleasing, I found that it’s better to twitch for a minute than to harbor long-term resentment as a result of saying yes to something I did not want to do. 
It's OKAY to say no. Set boundaries and stick to them.
4. Be kind to yourself.
Play nice. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion. Be mindful of your self-talk. Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Don't dwell on things that went wrong. Instead, focus on your strengths and achievements.
5. Get physical.
Go for a walk. Clean the house. Garden. Join a neighborhood sports team. Getting physical is good for both the body and the soul. 
6. Listen.
Looking to reset your system? Mindfulness is a great way to go. From self-directed to guided meditations, many apps can help you get started. Just a few minutes can help you reconnect with your center, where there is only love and peace. 
7. Ask for help.
Do you need a support group? Time with your troop? Maybe time with a therapist or a dear friend is in order. Sometimes, the help that is needed is tangible. Other times it is spiritual. Either way, reach out to people. 
Self-love is not selfish; it's empowering! As you fill yourself with love, you radiate it out to others. Think about it: everything feels fantastic when you are in the throes of new love. And much like new love, when we love ourselves, we are better equipped to handle all life throws at us. Love is the foundation for a fulfilling and meaningful life, and self-love is where it all begins.

I’ll leave you with an affirmation from the Sock Monkey Oracle deck:
“I love that I am infused with love and that I share it with others.”

Shannon Grissom didn't discover painting until she was 33, but once she discovered this hidden passion, she was hooked and driven. By 1999, Shannon was able to leave her day job and began to create art as a full-time business. At 46, Shannon self-published her children’s book Monkey Made of Sockies, along with a line of licensed merchandise, including a coloring book and the popular Monkey Made of Sockies golf club headcovers that have been carried on tour by several LPGA pros. Shannon is an award-winning artist, television producer/host, author, and songwriter, and she just launched an online creativity school called Painterly. Learn more about her work with sock monkeys at: sockmonkeyoracle.com.

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