A Whole Lotta Love

It’s time to focus some of it on ourselves—and accept the goodness that results.

Magazine World is a strange one, with its off-kilter timing. We work months ahead, studying and predicting trends (I totally called the Pantone Color of the Year—emerald: ask associate editor, Ellen Burkhardt, for proof). But one thing I couldn’t have predicted is what happened on my birthday, in early December, when I found out my baby was trying to make an early debut—she will almost certainly be here by the time you read this.

But there are certain things about certain months that are just true, no matter what. February is the month of love. I think of it less as “Valentine’s Day” and more as a time to reflect on that love, both for others and—what’s always harder to admit—for ourselves. I hate when people feel left out on Valentine’s Day. Surely their lives aren’t devoid of love, even if they don’t have a current flame, right? And people shouldn’t forget that self-care is part of being stylish. When we are filled up emotionally and mentally, we are better people not only to the people we love, but also to complete strangers. And that is what really makes the world go ’round.

In February, we’re still eyeballs-deep in Minnesota Hibernation, which makes it an ideal time to treat ourselves right: spa treatments, long hot baths, making a valentine for someone who needs a little lift. (My best friend and I have a running contest: Who can find the most obnoxious Valentine’s Day gift? It’s an exchange that often ends up in laughter-until-tears, a necessity this time of year.) Those little lifts often keep our January resolutions going strong, too. Have you given up already? You can always get back on the wagon, you know. No judging here.

So what are you going to do to keep your heart full in February—and beyond? In the spirit of full disclosure, I’ll share a few of my tricks, both silly and serious. Life should always be a mix.

For the silly: red lipstick. It never fails to put a smile on my face and make me feel ready to face the world. And in a season of life when I’m going to have a lot less time on my hands, it’s maximum impact for minimum effort. Lavender-scented anything calms me and gives me a feeling of well-being, no matter the circumstance, which also qualifies it as an easy fix as I head into a new, difficult, and lovely time of my life. And you know what? I’m not afraid to admit it: silly animal videos on the internet. They provide a no-fail laugh in two minutes or less.

For the serious: a return to my yoga practice. It’s been many moons, for many reasons, and I can’t wait to return to my mat and do some hard work, stretching both my mental and physical energy.

And last, but certainly not least: focusing on the new arrival who’s well on her way, ready to add to the family that currently consists of my husband and two furbabies, Murray and Ernie.

I have no idea what’s ahead—whether that’s a few days from writing this or a few days from the publishing of this story—but I look forward to it with total exhilaration. I’ve learned over time that you can anticipate lots of things, and even try and control the outcome, but the sweetest parts of life come with the surprise. The very best things that have happened in my life far surpass what I thought little old me deserved. I can’t wait to see how my heart stretches to accommodate a new little—but Big! Life-shaking! Earth-shattering!—love.

Now, it’s your turn. Expand your heart. Let me know what you find. 

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