If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, you know that everyday thoughtfulness goes a lot further than the occasional grand gesture. Not that we don’t like grand gestures—they’re great, too—but in the absence of the little things, the big things aren’t as meaningful. This very same theory can be applied to the longest of your long-term relationships—the one you have with yourself.
Think about the last time you did something kind for yourself. Was it more than 24 hours ago? If so, then it’s been too long. Here are a few suggestions of how to inject a daily dose of TLC into your life that will boost your confidence and stoke the flames of self-love for a lifetime of happiness.
1. Play dress up. I always feel prettier, smarter, more sophisticated when I’m wearing something nice. Nice doesn’t have to mean uncomfortable, just something pulled together and coordinated.
2. Bragging rights. We women have a hard time tooting our own horns when it comes to accomplishments. Instead of minimizing yours, try saying them out loud as a pre-dinner ritual. If you’re a mom, you’ll be teaching your kids that it’s okay to be proud of yourself.
3. Keep a gratitude journal. In a 2008 study at Kent State University, writing letters of appreciation led to an increase in a sense of satisfaction and happiness among students—so much so that 75 percent said they planned to continue writing the letters after the study concluded.
4. Reward yourself. Give yourself a nice treat each day. Notice I didn’t say “sweet” treat! Of course, I enjoy a little piece of chocolate, but I try to keep these rewards non-edible. A few minutes of guilty-pleasure reading (romance novel, anyone?), an after-dinner walk, or a DIY facial are all ways to show yourself the love.