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For over a century International Women's Day has celebrated the women of the world and advocated for women’s rights and equality. Aleney de Winter shares the best ways to celebrate the most important woman in your life, you!

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nternational Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women, recognising how far we've come towards gender equality, and acknowledging how far we have to go.  It’s also a great opportunity to celebrate self-love, a journey that requires commitment and practice…

1. Start your day in a positive way 

Before you even consider checking your emails or organising the kids for school, set aside a little time to talk to yourself and set yourself up for the day with some self-love affirmations. Filling your head with positive thoughts about you will not only aid in building self-esteem but helps you to attract more positive outcomes into your day. 

2. Put yourself first 

Women have been socialised to prioritise other people’s needs over their own, and the burden of the mental load can be all consuming. Though there is a time and a place for taking care of others, especially if you’re a parent, it shouldn’t be at the cost of your own wellbeing. Don’t forget to schedule in some alone time to decompress and simply do things for you.   

3. Stop worrying about what other people think 

I know, it’s easier said than done but caring too much about other people’s judgment and criticism, things that are mostly out of our control, is a one-way ticket to paralysing unhappiness. Be true to yourself and invest your energy into caring about the things that that really matter to you, and not what other people think. Unless they think you’re wonderful, of course!

4. Take responsibility for your life 

You may not want to hear this but by taking responsibility for your life, including the parts of it where you feel you have been hurt or wronged by others, you bring the power back to you. No matter how tempting it is to place the blame on others for the direction your life is heading, you are in charge and how you choose to move forward is entirely up to you. 

5. Forgive yourself

Self-love starts here. Stop beating yourself up over things that are in the past that made you feel sad, bad or embarrassed. Everyone makes mistakes and is guilty of behaviour they regret, but you can treat them as a learning experience, become better for them and then let them go. While what’s happened in the past is no longer in your control, you can control your future and it will look a lot brighter if you enter it without unnecessary baggage. 

6. Surround yourself with wonderful women 

Be picky about the people you spend your time and energy on. Don’t be afraid to declutter your life of the people who make you feel anything less than amazing, because they don’t deserve you. Instead, surround yourself with positive people who inspire you, uplift you and regularly demonstrate to you just how amazing they think you are. 

7. Walk the walk

Treat other women with the same love and respect you wish to receive. Tearing other women down, no matter the circumstance, helps no one. Criticism and judgement simply don’t have a place when it comes to supporting the women in your life. Instead check in, listen, boost and be present for the amazing women in your life. And remember that those friends who seem the strongest may need support to. Offering kindness is the easiest thing in the world, and best of all a simple act of kindness doesn’t only make other people feel good, it produces a phenomenon sometime called a “helper’s high”, releasing feel-good hormones that makes us feel great too. 

8. Learn to accept sincere compliments 

Women have been socialised to believe that it is well-mannered to wave away compliments on their abilities and achievements. But that’s utter tosh! It’s time for women to own and celebrate our greatness. Responding to a compliment with self-deprecation can have an enormous negative impact on your self-esteem, notwithstanding the fact that that rejecting someone’s compliment is rude as you are in effect insulting their opinions and attempts at being kind. So next time someone throws a compliment your way, skip the rebuttal, and accept it with a simple thank you. 

9. Stop comparing yourself to other women 

Comparison with yourself brings growth while comparison with others brings grief. There’s always going to be some woman who’s smarter, funnier, more successful, or better looking than you, and that’s okay because there is literally only one you and no one is better at being her than you. Instead of wasting time worrying about what others have that you don’t, praise them for it, then set yourself to making your own life the best it can be.  

10. Praise women thoughtfully 

Take every opportunity to remind the women in your life, including yourself, that they are so much more than how they look. Thoughtful and sincere compliments are powerful tools to boost a mood. Compliment women on their smarts, their work, their achievements, their laughter and their braveness, instead of telling them they look “pretty” and that they have so much to be proud of. Just don’t forget to compliment yourself too because you are fabulous. 

11. Practise saying no… and yes! 

Saying no to the things that don’t serve you doesn’t make you a bad person, it makes you a clever one. By saying no more often you can reclaim your time and wellbeing so you have time to say yes to yourself, new opportunities and the things you really want from life.

12. Don’t be afraid to ask for help 

It’s okay to not be okay. Research suggests that most women don’t like to ask for help for fear it will reinforce the idea that women are less capable. But while admitting your vulnerabilities can be difficult, asking for the support you would readily offer anyone else is a step on the road to self-love. 

13. Embrace healthy habits 

To truly show self-love, you need to make room for healthy habits. Become your own wellness advocate by practising self-care. This starts with proper nutrition, exercise and plenty of sleep: the fuel you need to keep yourself mentally and physically well. Stock the pantry with a range of healthful food choices, meditate to feel great, cut back on alcohol and hit the gym, or if you’re not a gym person, head out for a walk with an empowering podcast to keep you company.   

 14. Create a space 

Wherever it is you spend great deals of time, try to create an environment that ignites happiness. Whether it is at your work desk or in your home, surround yourself with messages of positivity, fresh flowers and plants, favourite books or oil burners with fragrances that spark joy. 

15. Practise gratitude  

No matter what life throws at you, find something to be grateful for every single day. Rather than focusing on negative thoughts, think about all the positive things in your life. Practising gratitude lowers your levels of stress hormones, increases personal happiness and boosts energy. That’s something to be grateful for right there. 

16. Become an advocate for women’s rights  

As a woman, advocating for women’s representation and rights is about you. There have been many battles fought for women’s rights, but there’s still a long way for us to go. Don’t be complacent in standing up for equality and ensuring the rights of all women, everywhere, are realised. So, instead of climbing over or around the barriers that as women we face every day, embrace your inner activist and advocate for sustainable change to the unequal power relations and structures that build them. 

This article provides general information only, and does not constitute health or medical advice. If you have any concerns regarding your health, seek immediate medical attention.

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