One of the biggest reasons I started traveling in the first place, 8 years ago, was to practice self love. I had listened to what society wanted from me for too long. I wasn’t listening to me. As a result, it was hurting my self-esteem.
Because self love is about being true to who you are – no matter what.
It was only at the point where I had studied the ‘right’ degree, got the ‘perfect’ job, met the boyfriend I could safely take home to my parents and become the hipster London would be oh so proud of that I was like ‘Whoah…this isn’t ‘it’ at all. I gotta get out of here asap for my own critical personality development!’
You hear me?
And getting out of there wasn’t running away from my problems. In fact, it was running towards my problems and fears head on so that my self confidence could thrive!
Because I was desperate to see who I REALLY was; what I could do and what I was fully capable of. My self worth!
I’m STILL doing it! I love myself and freaking love life allowing me to explore my soul’s purpose.
What is self love?
Learning to love yourself is accepting and being proud of who and what you are. You appreciate, support, respect and care for yourself so that you get to the top of that freaking mountain…physically and theoretically!
Self-love, like most skills we have in life, can be practiced so that we become a master at it. Are you ready for some radical self love?
Why self love exercises are so important
Life is tough and solo female travel is a wonderful challenge. If you’re building confidence and belief in yourself, you’ll have the strength to take on any challenge you’re presented with on the road. Because oh boy, I’ve had some challenges.
Self love helps keep your mind, body and soul totally kickass. And by becoming a warrior woman, you can embrace your time with others you meet along your way.
Better relationships. Happier moments. Awesome resilience. These are just some of the lovely things you’ll get by spending some quality time on yourself.
How to love yourself?
Firstly, allow yourself to travel. You’ll feel uncomfortable facing your fears full on but ultimately, you will discover YOU.
Secondly, you can pop some of these self love exercises I’m going to show you right into your traveling pocket.
What makes me qualified to even tell you this
I used to work as a therapist for the NHS (National Health Service) in the UK using CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) techniques. If you were feeling sad, stressed, anxious or not getting enough sleep, your doctor would send you to me for 8 sessions. From one-on-one to massive group sessions, I have worked with thousands of people to help them improve their mind difficulties.
And I used to be very socially anxious! However confident I was on the outside, and however much I loved socialising, I was still fretting on the inside about what people thought of me.
Try out these self love exercises, with patience and determination, and you will start to see changes
1. Do all the things your mamma told you to
You know what I’m talking about. Brushing your teeth, eating your fruit and veg, getting enough sleep, having time out and relaxation instead of being on the go all the time. These simple self care exercises can start to slip when you’re on the road. You need to keep your body happy and healthy, so that your mind is like a tiger rawr!
2. Find routine in an unpredictable world
Travel can be fast-paced, especially if you’re on a tight schedule and want to make the most of a destination. This can mean changing locations, routines and even time zones quickly. And that, wrecks havoc with your inner compass. Yikes. To combat this, wherever I am, and whoever I am with, I make sure that the first thing I do in the morning is my morning routine.
By doing the same thing everyday, this creates familiarity, structure and strength for my day ahead. I am building confidence within myself every morning, so I am ready to succeed!
You can mix things up so that they suit your lifestyle and what feels good for you. Here’s just some of the things I love to do in the morning to get you started:
Drink a big glass of water
Give myself some self love affirmations
Plan my day out so I have discipline and focus
Visualise myself achieving my activities successfully
3. Keep that devil on your shoulder in order
Daily, regardless of how much you currently love yourself, you’re going to be tackling that ‘devil on your shoulder’. You know, that mean voice, that tells you you’re not good enough, are stupid to have made that mistake, aren’t capable of doing that activity because you’re not confident, brave or capable enough.
Sometimes, we get so used to this devil talking to us like this, that we just let it get along with it. Want to know how to build confidence? You need to whack that devil and show this meanie who’s boss. Because on your other shoulder, is your angel. And oh my, she is powerful.
The angel answers back to the devil and questions its statements every time, like Detective Sherlock on double time. For every mean thing you find yourself hearing from the devil; question it. Question it methodically, like a true detective.
You can ask, ‘What factual evidence do I have to support this statement?’ ‘Is there any evidence that contradicts this thought?’ ‘What would my best friend say in this situation?’ There are lots of kickass questions you can ask yourself, with the help of your angel, to keep the devil in check. Because let’s face it; he is most likely talking bull.
4. Say no
Setting boundaries and protecting yourself whilst traveling is incredibly important. This can involve learning how to say no.
I understand that saying no and being assertive can be really difficult, especially when we’re in an unfamiliar culture and don’t want to make any faux pas. Yet, saying ‘yes’ when you really mean ‘no’ leads to stress, resentment and anger. And no one wants that.
Personally, I’m still working on saying no. I love seeing people being happy and environments being harmonious. I’m a people pleaser.
I have however, got so much better at it.
If I don’t want to go to the club, I don’t. If I don’t want to eat that duck’s head, I don’t. And most importantly, when I feel I’m in danger, I whip out my full assertiveness skills, because saying yes could be detrimental to my travel safety #truth.
Want to know how to say no?
There are many ways; the first being the simplest. Just say ‘no’. No reason, no being apologetic. If someone is really pushing you to do something that makes you uncomfortable, just flat out say ‘no’.
If they are not listening to you, go for the ‘broken record’ approach. Yep, you got it: whatever they say to you, stick to your guns and keep on saying ‘no’. Repeatedly.
There are of course situations where you do not have to be so direct.
5. Take time to be grateful
Traveling allows you to experience so many fantastical things in one day. This also means that you’re learning a lot about yourself and the world around you. If you’re not keeping a travel journal, I highly recommend you at least write down 3 things you’re grateful for at the end of each day.
Did you meet someone who said an inspiring quote? Did you see something which triggered a feeling within you? What did you accomplish today that has taken you one step further in building confidence? Take time to be grateful…and record it.
6. Acknowledge how awesome you are
You will achieve so much on your solo travels. Don’t let your accomplishments and personal growth be left unrecognised. One of the things we can do to give ourselves a well-deserved confidence booster is to sit down and list our awesome qualities. Here are some sentences you can note down and complete to help you get started…
I thrive when __________
This week, I have discovered that I am __________
I gain strength from __________
I am proud that I __________