Despite the frequent mocking of Hallmark holidays such as Valentine’s Day, I believe they still hold value. They provide us a chance to step back from our busy lives and recognize the important people around us. Of course, we should share our love and be kind every day, but sometimes we need a nudge to show our feelings and to go above and beyond. While Valentine’s Day centers around expressing our love to others, I believe it can also prompt us to practice some self love and care.\nIn our full and fast-paced lives, taking “me time” can fall to the wayside. And while self-care is all the rage right now, the latest buzzword, I don’t sense much follow-through. Spa days, vacations, massages, workshops, mental health days, and other self-care modalities are wonderful. That said, the longer (and more costly) the activity, the less likely I see it happening. That’s why I believe in practicing small acts of self love every day. Little moments add up to big results.\n \nSELF LOVE FOR THE SKIN\nWhen pampering yourself, treat your skin and body to healthy, nurturing ingredients. Indulgences can lift our spirits, but unless we keep in mind our entire wellbeing, they can actually be detrimental. Valentine’s Day is, for many, the ultimate date night. Preparations can include an array of treatments and products with toxic ingredients.\nThink twice before slathering yourself in synthetically scented lotion and spraying on fake fragrances. The chemicals in such products can have powerful and harmful effects, from clogged pores and collagen destruction to skin sensitivity, rashes, redness, itching, and swelling. So in this effort to look our “best,” we’re actually being everything but loving to ourselves!\nCommon “pampering” ingredients\/products to watch out for\n\n“Cones” are the chemical family that end in -cone, such as dimethicone and silicone. These act like a plastic film on skin, preventing anything (even good stuff!) from penetrating, while blocking the expulsion of waste. Since consumers are beginning to get wise about “cones,” chemical companies are disguising them under new names that don’t necessarily end in “cone.” Some examples are hydrolized wheat protein, trimethylsiloxysilicates, and dimethicol.\nSodium lauryl sulfate, along with other surfactants, can throw off skin’s pH balance. They’re known to irritate skin by stripping it of its natural oils and protective barrier.\nFragrances\nBubble baths\nMakeup primers\n\nFor more, check out our blog post “10 Cosmetic and Skincare Ingredients to Avoid.”\nSELF LOVE FOR THE SOUL\nWe all have our own personal sources of joy and peace. Whether it’s spending time with family and friends, reading a book in the sun, or being introduced to new ideas, these simple pleasures add sweetness and balance to our lives. I like to call them 5-for-5.\nTake 5 minutes, 5 times a day for 5 times more love.\nBecause who doesn’t need more love?\n5-for-5 suggestions\n\nStart the day and end the day with 3-5 deep breaths.\nCall a loved one.\nUse your 10-minute work break to go for a walk.\nEnjoy fresh air.\nTake 5 minutes to schedule future self-care (a massage, class, or meal with friends).\nSing in the shower.\nExtend your bath routine. Using Sumbody’s Queen Bee Bath Honey is a great way to start.\nMake you shower a spa: use your scrub and\/or mask in the shower to save time.\nPut your feet up.\nCook yourself a wholesome meal.\nClose your eyes and give your mind a break.\nListen to music.\nDance while cleaning the house.\nSnuggle your pet.\nDrink a cup of tea.\nRelax your shoulders down your back.\n\nIndulge in some vitamin J.\n\n\nThis Valentine’s Day, celebrate the love you have for others but don’t forget to shower yourself with sumlove, too!