The year 2020 brought stress and uncertainty and offered little opportunity for self-love. Lockdowns and restrictions found us isolated and insecure about our future. As much larger concerns overshadowed our personal needs, it did not feel like the appropriate time to invest in ourselves. We reached out to leading psychotherapist and coach Crystal Stokes and popular beauty, and lifestyle influencer Katie LaFrance, to discover how to make self-care a priority in 2021

Crystal Stokes and Katie LaFrance
Crystal Stokes and Katie LaFrance Crystal Stokes and Katie LaFrance

Exercise your self-appreciation muscle

According to Crystal Stokes, far too many of us partake in harmful self-criticism. She suggests taking the time in 2021 to strengthen your self-appreciation skills. "Rather than continuing to overtrain the self-criticism muscle, start to flex the self-appreciation muscle," she says. "You can do this by asking, what do I appreciate most about me?" Katie LaFrance agrees with this point, adding, "Feeling beautiful starts with your perception of yourself, if you are too critical of yourself, you will struggle to feel true beauty inside and out."

Learn to accept compliments

We are taught not to brag or boast about our achievements. This can lead to us feeling uncomfortable when we are complimented, our instant reaction being to brush off praise or be self-deprecating. Katie LaFrance shares that compliments can fuel self-love if we let them. She says, "By truly accepting and absorbing a compliment, you can store it for when your confidence needs a boost." Crystal Stokes believes that we need to fight the urge to reject compliments by "learning to accept compliments with grace. Truly let the person's words land in your heart. Accept that they genuinely want to give you the gift of a compliment. Simply say, 'thank you.'"

Honor your body

Your body will often send you signals that let you know what it requires. Recognizing these signals and honoring what they ask of you will help you to feel beautiful, acknowledged, and loved. Crystal Stokes says, "When we treat our bodies with respect by honoring signals of hunger, fatigue, and restlessness, we build a robust sense of safety, trust, and confidence." Katie LaFrance adds to this saying, "We often feel like we have to be plugged in at all times and will ignore what our bodies are telling us, but by listening to your body and you will find a greater sense of inner peace."

2020 was a challenging year but Crystal Stokes and Katie LaFrance believe that 2021 will be better if you treat yourself with kindness and allow yourself to feel beautiful inside and out.