Self love. Seemingly such an easy concept to master, and yet, so many of us struggle to achieve this state of unconditional self love. 

While you may not associate the fashion industry with self-love, I’d like to challenge that notion. I believe that my three year career at Harper’s BAZAAR has given me the strength to be my most self-loving self yet. The busier I became, the more I realized how essential it was to find time for me.

Very quickly – let’s look at the definition of self-love.

The definition of self-love, according to Merriam Webster, is as follows: regard for one’s own happiness or advantage.

Regard for my own happiness – this is something I consciously place emphasis on. As my deadlines got tighter, my working hours got later and the pressure of being a daughter/sister/girlfriend/editor got crazier, I had to knowingly place value on my own happiness.

I get it – you’re busy. We certainly all are. Loving oneself unconditionally, unfortunately, does not necessarily come naturally. Self-love does not come easy. In fact, it takes work, dedication and lifelong commitment.

If you do a quick Google search, you’ll find that self-love is nothing short of a phenomenon. Life changing for some, and perhaps frightening for others. It’s both a radical state of realization and a worldwide movement; as such, I encourage you to look at self-love not as a synonym for self-esteem, but as a synonym for happiness.

The definition of happiness, according to Merriam Webster, is as follows: a state of well-being and contentment.

Is it just me or do happiness and self-love seem all too alike? Here’s where focusing on myself became loving, as opposed to selfish.

For me, happiness starts with physical health. I always wake up and move. As my nights became more eventful, my mornings became all about me. Happily selfish!

The Work it Out community is built on an entourage of movers and shakers. Together, we’re looking to fuel our bodies, physically and mentally. This starts with movement, an experience that anyone can achieve. An experience that we all seek together at Work it Out morning, noon and night.

Here are five quick ways to practice self-love this week. I’m tasking you with the assignment opportunity to love yourself. Whether you tackle one or all five, that’s up to you - your prerogative. This is not an assignment where you say you’re going to do all five, only do one, and later, beat yourself up. Reminder: this is about self-love!

1.  Spend quality, connected time with yourself. Re-connect with your dreams and desires.

2.  Choose yourself. Whether this means getting more involved in social plans or respectfully declining yet another night out for work drinks, choosing yourself will make you feel empowered.

3. Make a decision and stick with it. It feels so wonderful to firmly make a decision and act upon it.

4.  Follow your gut and ignore your ego. In short, leave the “I” behind. The ego is responsible for hate and fear.

5. Push your limits and move outside of your comfort zone. You’ll be surprised at how much you’re capable of. This can be as simple as trying a new gym class, or wearing a new lipstick. Go for it.

Suddenly, you won’t feel as busy.

It’s not selfish to take care of oneself. Let’s defy that misconception. You’re worthy of your own unconditional love.

Alana works for Harper's BAZAAR as their Special Projects Editor. She believes that working in fashion has taught her to be self-loving, and not selfish. Alana is also a fitness enthusiast and when she's not working, you'll find her in class at WiO!