Did you know, in addition to ensuring happy couples, St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeeping, epilepsy, the plague, fainting and traveling.
Every February, we celebrate our love for family, friends and community (and dark chocolate) and express gratitude for our abundances and health. This year, why not also focus on self-love? When we appreciate and prioritize ourselves and our way of being in the world, this love permeates our feelings, actions and experiences. Self-love begins with how we nurture our minds and our bodies.
St. Valentine’s expression of love may also be interpreted as protection for our wellness. A healthy population of pollinators ensures an abundant plant-based food supply. The immune boosting sweetness of honey supports our immune system (to survive the plague), to offset the mechanisms that affect our nervous system (connected with epilepsy), and to improve blood flow (a common cause of fainting), all of which are important for human health and happiness.
But this is not an article about loving chocolate, or honey, or local food. It’s about the nutritional benefits of loving oneself. LOVE YOURSELF = LOVE YOUR HEALTH.
With self-love, we are healthy, we feel alive, we have more energy, we do more for ourselves, and give more to our loved ones. When we’re unwell, our health declines – along with our energy, immunity, and expressions of love.
Even when we feel somewhat “well”, we survive on autopilot in the daily routine as we give, guide and put others first. Mostly, it’s rewarding and fulfilling. For many of us, burnout and poor immunity eventually force us to slow down or stop.
When unwell, we wish we had been more appreciative of our health when we were healthy, and we vow to instill better eating and lifestyle habits when feel well again. Sometimes, lack of self-care plunges us into chronic disease, and getting well again becomes a lifelong endeavor.
What if, this year, we celebrate self-love on Valentine’s Day?
What if we invest the same energy into loving ourselves as we do for others? What if we take action toward good health through our thoughts first, expressing self-compassion, non-judgment and deep appreciation for our uniqueness and gifts? Compassionate thoughts trickle down into positive feelings about ourselves. We soften, accept and respect ourselves as we are and feel worthy of being healthy, energetic and alive. We become more attuned to our body and mind. We shift from, “It’s not worth the effort,” to, “I am worthy of my own attention.”
Our feelings, then, directly affect our actions, and we become intentional and consistent because it’s important. We pay attention to our mental and physical needs. We pause more. We breathe deeply. We prioritize stillness, meditation and moments of gratitude. We pay attention to minor aches and pains and devote time to healing them before they become problematic. We practice regular physical activity and spend time in nature. We eat wholesome food and drink pure water to nourish our cells and stimulate natural energy.
With self-love we desire to be well and surround ourselves with supportive, trustworthy and uplifting people. We seek out practitioners who offer tools to distinguish individualized needs and remedies vs. those of the general public.
As we gain greater self-control and a sense of purpose, our choices become beneficial – rather than destructive – to the body, mind and spirit. The result: we live more fully in mindset, mood, food and other behaviors.
This year, be your own best friend, your true love, your Valentine. Love yourself. Love your health.
“6 Surprising facts about St. Valentine” (2013). History. Retrieved from