Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but there’s no reason to stop focusing on love—especially when it comes to loving yourself. At least once a week, I try to have a “Mary Date,” which involves doing whatever I feel like (sans judgment). Sometimes I make time to go for an extra long run, get my happy hour yoga on, or make a cup of vegan hot chocolate and catch up with my favorite magazines.
Now, I’m always a fan of using the word “date” loosely. In college, I had “study dates” with my roommate, during which we locked ourselves in the room and did school work in silence (aside from the occasional chat about boys).
Dating yourself may not mean dressing up and going to a dimly lit restaurant (although it could!). To me, a “Mary Date” is anything that I do to consciously pamper myself and restore my general well being—and the best part is, I don’t have to wait until the weekend. (In fact, I need my “me dates” more during the workweek—they’re essential for avoiding a burnout!)
There are a few traditional elements of dating that apply when dating yourself, however. Remember your first few dates with your current SO? I do. One of the most beautiful things about our first dates was how we were so interested in getting to know the other person’s mind. In the process of sharing my story with my now fiancé, I learned a lot about myself. Dating yourself can be like this too–beneath the surface of your everyday thoughts lies a magnificent subconscious. Make room for self-discovery by giving yourself time to do the “little things” that matter so much.
Second, think about what dates are like when you’ve been with someone for a while. These days, if my fiancé takes me out, it’s by and large a nurturing gesture–and one that makes a huge difference. Nothing is more important than self-care, however. Remind yourself that you are perfectly capable and deserving of treating yourself like the dear person you are.
Here are a few of the restorative things I’ll be doing during my date this week:
1. I’ll start with Yoga Happy Hour.
2. I’ll make a cup of my favorite vegan peppermint hot cocoa.
3. I’ll sit down with a few good reads. Lately, I’ve been reading the ever-inspiring Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott and planning my 10-Item Wardrobe. It’s been a while since I’ve launched into a novel—which is too bad since I love them! That’s why I’m super excited to being Susan Minot’s latest book Thirty Girls. Add a kitten in my lap, and I’m set!
4. I’ll top things off with a little collaging and journaling. Journaling is especially important to me. For the past six months, my schedule and routine has been unpredictable from one month to the next. I think I’m keeping up okay, but in order to really stay on my game, I need to check in with myself by writing about what’s working and what’s not.
Collaging is one of my favorite ways to create something beautiful in a small amount of time. I take great pleasure in working with different textures and mediums. I have always believed that sensory beauty restores the soul. That why small things like a pretty collage or a bright red mani have great power to turn a good day into great one.
Now it’s your turn! What will you be doing to show yourself how much you care?
Photos: Mary Hood