Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate love in a variety of forms. It’s marketed as the day to cherish romantic love, but that’s not all you should appreciate on February 14th. Valentine’s Day is a great time to reflect on the role of love in your life, starting with yourself. How you treat yourself mentally and physically is the foundation for even beginning to find your ideal partner. This Valentine’s Day (and why not every day?), take time to reflect on your relationship with yourself.
Much of what I discuss with patients on a daily basis stems from mindset. Everything begins with what you tell yourself each day: what you think, you become. This is true across the board; your mentality determines your stress levels, ability to problem-solve and limits the amount of energy you can spend focusing on the needs of others. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, stressors increase the risk of injury due to the body’s inability to react properly to the surroundings. On the same note, stressors decrease our ability to reason rationally and remain positive in the emotional aspects of our lives.
Think about it: when you’re stressed (even slightly), you tend to be on edge and exert negative energy in areas where you typically wouldn’t (or don’t intend to). The regular accumulation of stress isn’t only horrible for your physical health, but it wares greatly on your emotional health, especially in your relationship with yourself and others. With Valentine’s Day approaching, now is the perfect time to focus on your mindset, revisit what is required to make yourself feel relaxed and in turn, you will notice that your capacity for loving others will greatly increase.
“Do What You Love” versus “Love What You Do”
Yes, there is a difference between these two sayings. Noting the distinction between these phrases is important when it comes to self-care and your relationships. To do what you love means to put into action what makes you happy, carefree and more in tune with yourself. To love what you do means you put your personal preference second and learn to love what you must do to better your health, your career and your relationships. Ideally, you will incorporate both in your daily life.
Doing what you love brings you contentment in a way that only you will know how to do. Take time to care for yourself and meeting your own needs. Book a spa service, reserve extra time in your schedule for sports you enjoy or plan one night per week to see friends. We are all fulfilled by different activities based on our individual needs, so observe your own desires and make the effort to not forget about yourself in the shuffle of jobs, school, household responsibilities and day-to-day stress. When you make a point to do what you love, you set yourself up for success in your relationship because your happiness will come from yourself, not external sources. If you base your inner happiness off of things that are out of your control (how your boss treats you at work, how often your family members say “thank you”) you are doomed to unhappiness. As Aristotle says, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Loving what you do is essential when it comes to fostering relationships, climbing in your career and reaching fitness goals. When you learn to love what you do, you are putting the necessary task before your personal preference. Athletes win because they sacrifice comfort for long, arduous practice sessions and hours of mental training. Business executives build successful companies because they do what is best for the overall strategy of the company, not only what they prefer to do. Happy couples achieve balance and longevity by attending to one another’s needs often before their own. The key is that those who love what they do don’t simply perform the necessary tasks once or twice to please someone and then revert back to old habits; they learn to love doing what is necessary for success in all aspects of their lives.
How do you learn to love what you do? You need to realize the value in the tasks at hand. Visualize how they connect to your larger goal — weight loss, love, a promotion — and keep your goal in mind whenever the going gets difficult.
When it comes to planning your Valentine’s Day, make sure you take time to do what you love, but when it comes to showing your partner that you appreciate him or her, it’s best to love what you do.
Best of health,
Dr. Chad M. Hoffman