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A (Plastic-Free) Guide to Self-Love

Featuring Meditation, Exfoliation, and Masturbation

Valentine’s Day can be a real bummer of a holiday, especially for the newly heartbroken. Even the narratives about “self care” and “self love” feel saccharine, capitalistic, and insincere. They prey on our feelings of sadness or vulnerability and tell us, in one way or another: “in order to feel better, you have to consume more.” We are so over it.

We challenged ourselves to really think about how to best love ourselves this Valentine’s Day. It will be different for everyone. There is no magic formula, which is disheartening but also beautiful—if you want to try to love yourself, you actually have to start by getting to know yourself better.

Oh, and we wanted everything on our list to be plastic-free, because loving the environment is also an act of self love (and no, it doesn’t require you to purchase anything new at all).


BREATHE 

Major eye roll, but here is a thing I know to be true: It is impossible to focus on worry or anxiety when you are focusing on breathing. Sometimes I feel like I hardly draw breath all day long. When I finally force myself (using lots of expletives and not a lot of kindness) to sit down and breathe, it’s like pulling back a curtain of gloom. I have to count my breaths, inhale through my nose, hold a little, and then do a longer exhale out of my mouth for this to really work, but it does.


SCRUB YOUR NAKED BODY

I am not the kind of person who regularly exfoliates, but I like how invigorating a good scrub-down can be. It feels luxurious simply because you took the time to do it at all.

Our recipe is:

  1. ¼ cup of sugar or salt or both
  2. 1 teaspoon of our Body Oil or olive oil
  3. Mix the two together in a bowl. In the shower, wet your skin. Step out of the water stream and massage a small handful of the scrub over your skin. Rinse and towel dry. (Be careful, because your tub could get a little slick from the oil.)


LOVE YOUR THINGS MORE

 Jeff says “one would inherently consume less if they appreciated their consumables more.” I think this is so nice that it deserves a ritual. Find something—anything!—that you already own and that you love. Notice what you love about it, maybe even tell it that you love it. Take a minute to think: It’s cool that I have this thing that I love. (For me, I am thinking of my favorite wooden spoon.) The End.


MASTURBATE

Literally, get in touch. When I think about masturbation, I think about the luxury of time. Carving some time out just for pleasure—what a treat for your body and spirit. Teen Vogue wrote two great guides on the topic. They really get into the anatomy and demystify how to masturbate if you have a vagina, and how to masturbate if you have a penis.


If you’re struggling this Valentine’s Day, you’re not alone. It is hard. But maybe you can rewrite this holiday as a chance to learn more about who you are, and how to love yourself more sincerely. (Or maybe it’s just an opportunity to give yourself an orgasm.)


Written by Vera Kachouh, a writer at Meow Meow Tweet.