Monday, June 17Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Because you’re worth it.

You’ve probably heard the saying, before you can love someone else, you need to learn to love yourself… Well, the same is true of connections. Before you can create meaningful and lasting connections with anyone else, you must first connect with yourself. In today’s frantic world, we may forget to take the time to check in with ourselves, and we end up neglecting the most important relationship we have. Self-connection is the process of being in touch with the worthiness and wholeness of yourself. This may sound like a scary prospect, especially if you purposefully avoid being alone with your thoughts. However, forming deeper connections with yourself can boost your mood, help you understand yourself, and can even have a positive effect on other relationships in your life.

If you feel disconnected, overlooked, or just in need of some self-love, here are five ways to start reconnecting with yourself:

1. Mindfulness meditation

It is estimated that 200-500 million people meditate worldwide, and it is recommended by many health professionals as a way of keeping in touch with oneself. Mindfulness is a form of meditation which aims to focus awareness and attention on inner thoughts and feelings. This practice involves observing and allowing your thoughts to exist, without judging them or getting involved. It may help to focus on your breathing, or an object, to centralise yourself. Mindfulness can be practised anywhere, even on the train to and from work (though finding a quiet space usually makes it easier)! Taking 5-10 minutes to sit with your thoughts, allowing them to exist, can strengthen the bond you have with yourself, while also letting you get to know your mind a little more. Being alone with your thoughts doesn’t have to be so scary if you let them do their thing.

2. Date yourself

The excitement of date night: booking something special, making plans, getting glam – and who better to take out on a date but yourself? There will be no arguing over which film to go and see, or who controls the music on the drive, and you can have the whole bucket of butter popcorn to yourself – sounds pretty good, right? From wine-ing and dining yourself, to a roomy trip up a Ferris wheel, the possibilities are endless… Don’t save the fun of date night for someone else, you deserve to take yourself out!

If you are the type of person who doesn’t enjoy public activities, do not worry! To make this stay-at-home friendly, order or make yourself some popcorn, whack on Netflix, grab your comfiest blanket, turn the lights down, and enjoy a night in all to yourself.

3. Write it out

A technique called ‘automatic writing’. To start with, you give yourself a prompt (it could be anything, even as simple as “what do I need to do today?”) and let yourself write, without judgement or much intervention. This can help clear your head, as well as offering some surprising insights as to how we are feeling.

If you are finding it difficult to think of a prompt, or are just having trouble starting, you can try writing in a stream-of-consciousness style. This is basically just noting down all your thoughts, unedited, exactly as you think them. 

The benefits of writing are unquestionable and can lead to real self-discovery. It may feel odd at first, but trust me, it’s better out than in!

4. Get moving!

Our bodies are miraculous, but we don’t give them enough credit. Oftentimes, we can forget how incredible our existence is, to the point where we take everyday actions for granted. Starting to move your body, and observing the abilities it has, can help build respect for ourselves. It doesn’t matter whether you decide to take a walk to the post office, or do a full marathon, the endorphins and pride you feel from moving your body can help make you feel worthy, alive and free. 

For those who struggle to exercise, or physically cannot, fresh air has the same benefits. Going outside for even a few minutes a day can improve your mood, and make you feel grounded and connected.

5. Self-care routine

Many people view taking time for yourself as selfish or egotistical, however, it is actually the opposite. If you make sure to set aside some time for self-care, you will find yourself becoming much more selfless the rest of the time! It turns out that to be the best version of ourselves, we need to nurture the self. This can be done through a pampering process, cups of tea, or even an early bedtime – whatever works for you. Just make sure you embed self-care into your daily routine. For example, I like to take some time each morning for a lengthy shower and skincare routine, and I make sure I do this every day. If I’m busy, I will allocate some time at the end of the day instead, but I always make that time for myself. The golden rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, works both ways. Treat yourself with as much care and respect as you do others because the more love and time you give yourself, the more love and time you will find you have for others. It all starts with you.

These five ideas are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to self-love; you can find plenty more advice online and through professionals. Overall, it doesn’t matter too much how you do it, only that you actively encourage a healthy relationship with yourself, because, as L’Oréal said, “you’re worth it”.