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By the time you read this story, Valentine’s Day will have come and gone. Perhaps you are still indulging in a box of chocolates. The flowers you gave or received still have some life in them. And that heartfelt card is still displayed on your desk.

I just adore Valentine’s Day because it celebrates love, something we all cherish or hope for. Relationships ebb and flow, but I find it amazing how you can react when you see your partner walk your way. Your eyes widen while the corners of your mouth raise, and a sense of warmth envelops your upper torso. There’s nothing like it.

Valentine’s Day is the one day that we get to celebrate and acknowledge the people in our lives that make us truly happy and content.

But why does it have to stop there?

Why do we have to acknowledge and celebrate it just for one day?

And why does it have to be for someone else?

I have an idea.

I say, let’s invent Valentine’s Day—forever and for you!

Although it can be nothing short of incredibly generous to shower your loved one with what I described in the first paragraph, however, for the sake of my superb lightbulb moment, what I would love to focus on is to celebrate love—forever and for you.

You probably heard this before, but it’s worth mentioning again.

We tell our loved ones that we love them. But don’t you think it’s time to face the mirror and say, “I love you” to yourself?

Yes, you.

And I want you to celebrate it every day!

And, of course, what follows the beautiful sentiment that you will tell yourself every day comes a list of oh-so-lovely things that will help you express the love you have for yourself.

What kind of things?

Let’s start with presents!

Who doesn’t love a good “prezie”? Especially if they are for you! Expensive candy or a dozen long-stem roses aside, I’m talking presents that don’t have an intimidating price tag, but when you give them to yourself, they feel like a million bucks.

I can see you squinting. Trying to think what kind of presents you can give yourself that won’t exceed your daily budget. Don’t worry, my love—I got you.

Time

Let me guess, your days run by a schedule, jammed with appointments, meetings, carpool, and the like. And you probably have an agenda of some kind where you can write or type all this down so that you show up on time.

To begin, I want you to make time for yourself.

Go ahead and mark it down on your schedule. As many times as you can manage per day for as long as you need it. Call this “activity” Dr. Time, to make it sound important, like it’s a matter of life or death, because it really is. Time for yourself is excellent for your mental health—just ask your health professional.

And what do you do with this time?

There you go again, squinting. Raising your hand to your mouth. Gasping at the idea of having a whole ___ (fill in time here) minutes/hours to yourself.

Whatever the heck you want! As for me, I like to do something that makes me scream “happiness!”

Exciting, isn’t it?

What else can you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day Forever and for you?

Take care of you

Pull out this broken record and glue it back together because it needs to be played. Loudly.

Eating well and exercising is the best gift you can give yourself.

Read that again.

It keeps you focused. Provides energy. Protects you from a list of diseases. Most importantly, it makes you feel fantastic.

You don’t have to run a 10K every morning at 5:00 AM. Eating just a carrot for lunch won’t cut it. Treat your body like a Ferrari. You wouldn’t put any old gasoline in that baby, would you? It’s premium fuel all the way!

Find an exercise activity that brings a smile to your face and gets your heart rate up. Bonus points if you break a sweat, as it releases all those toxins and activates the endorphins—that happy hormone. Trust me—you want to feel this!

And indulge and enjoy those treats in moderation. A Ferrari runs best on the good stuff.

I am not an expert in this field, but when I make it a priority to take care of myself physically, it makes me feel amazing.

Who doesn’t want to feel amazing?

One more Valentine’s Day Forever act of love, for good measure.

In good company

The company you keep can make you feel as if all the weight you have been carrying on your shoulders has miraculously vanished into thin air.

Or it can add an extra ten-pound weight that makes your body resemble The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

How do you want to feel?

I know, I know… but you have been friends for years! They gave you a job. Took care of your cat when you’re away. Named their firstborn after you.

It doesn’t matter who or what they did; if they don’t make you feel good when you are with them—ditch them. And wish them well.

It’s as simple as that.

I declare Valentine’s Day—forever and for you to officially start, the moment you finish reading this essay. Take out your agenda and make time for yourself. Schedule exercise time to release that happy hormone. Surround yourself with people who matter.

And then turn to the nearest mirror and repeat after me.

I love you.

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Love,
Judy