Loving and caring for yourself is the greatest form of gift you can give to yourself. While Self-Love refers to accepting and loving yourself the way you are, self-care means to nurture and to take care of your precious self: mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Practicing self-care can come in different forms. In this post, I share with you 14 ideas on how you can practice self-care easily every single day. Try to pick at least 1 thing per day and use it as your self-care practice.
1. Self-care for your body
Fuel your body with high nutritious, healthy food and healthy drinks. Aim for the stars, but give yourself the grace to start small. Depending on where you are right now, choose which foods and drinks to swap for a healthier version. Let’s say you love soft drinks. Next time you want to drink one try to swap it for a smoothie, tea or water.
If you love chocolate as much as I do, try to swap it for a healthier version, for example, a raw sugar-free chocolate bar or a piece of fruit. I find dates to be very effective for this purpose. It won’t replace the chocolate, but it will help you get your sweet tooth craving a little bit under control.
It won’t be easy to swap your food for healthier alternatives but it’s a good start and I’m convinced it will be beneficial for you in the long run. Remind yourself of why you are doing it. You are swapping the food for healthier alternatives because you want to take care of your body and fuel it with the things it deserves. High nutrition instead of poor food.
A loved body also wants to be moved. Try to get some exercise at least 2x / week to give your body what it needs. You can simply go for a run twice a week, swimming, dancing or doing your exercises at home depending on your physical condition. There are a bunch of great videos on YouTube for free you can tune in and follow along.
If you don’t want to do it at home, sign up for a Pilates or yoga class at the gym. If you have trouble sticking to it, choose an accountability partner who has the same goal as you do. Having a friend with the same goal will help you both stay on track
And if you feel like, “Naah I’m not an exercise kind of person at all” you might want to try something completely exciting and new which you haven’t done before.
There is constantly a new sports trend coming out, it will never be boring.
3. Self-care for your mind
Fueling your mind with good stuff is just as important as nurturing your body. However, it’s oftentimes overlooked, because we are too busy with living our lives. The things we surround ourselves with and consume do matter. They influence us subconsciously. They influence how we think, feel and behave. We have control over our minds, but can only become fully aware of what’s going on inside by silencing our mind and by removing all the distractions which don’t serve us any purpose.
My self-care tip number 3 is to consciously choose what you want to feed your mind with. Choose a great inspiring book over negative news or an interesting documentary instead of an action loaded movie.
Meditation is an ancient technique arisen from Buddhism about 2500 years ago. It was practiced by the Buddha to reach enlightenment. You won’t be awakening by just 5 minutes practice a day, but it´s a start to become more self-aware and more mindful about your body, mind and soul´s calling. You can use meditation to connect with your inner self and to silence your mind. By doing so regularly you will:
- sharpen your focus
- increase your awareness
- reduce muscle tension
- improve your memory
- reduce stress in your body and mind
- expand your consciousness
There are various types of meditations and you don’t have to be a Buddhist to practice it. One of them is the mindfulness meditation practice which is simply explained and practiced by:
- sitting down
- closing the eyes
- paying attention to your own breath
- simply observing how you are breathing
- whenever you are caught up in a thought return to pay attention to your breathing
5. Be grateful
Be grateful for what you have right now. Not only in terms of materialistic possession but more importantly about the little things in life you enjoy. Think about what you love. No matter how bad your day is going, you will always find something to be grateful for. It can be the sunshine, a little beautiful flower along the street, your beloved family, anything you love and want to express thankfulness for. You can take a few moments per day to think about what you are grateful for and note it down in your journal.
Practicing gratitude will direct your focus to the positive things in your life and train your brain to see the bright side of things also in the dark moments of your life. It will also help you to slow down and to be in the present moment.
6. Reduce the negative self-talk
Negative chatter in your mind is inevitable. Our brains are more sensitive when it comes to negativity. It´s wired towards negativity. In psychology also called the negative bias. It serves us a good purpose. Our brain wants to keep us safe and alive. It wants to protect us from danger which is obviously a great mechanism.
However, it’s important to know the facts about our negative biased brain. We have about 60.000 thoughts per day, around 80% of which is negative. Many of these thoughts are also directed against us. These can result from thoughts of comparison, self-doubt or regret. For example, when we compare ourselves to others, beating ourselves up for past mistakes or making us smaller than we are.
What can you do to reduce the negative self-talk? Pay attention to your thoughts more often. Whenever you notice negative self-talk, choose another thought instead. You are the master of your mind and not vice versa.
7. Stop the comparison game
Hand in hand with the negative self-talk goes the comparison game. Having a role model, coach or mentor you look up to and learn from is great. However, we usually do not simply take the inspiration or information from a person we admire and apply what we learned to our own lives but start to compare ourselves with the person, which is counterproductive.
Comparing ourselves to someone else stops the flow of our own creativity. We start to make us smaller than we are, and we instantaneously start feeling bad about ourselves. Be inspired by beautiful Instagram feeds and learn from the people you look up to, but do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself to them. You are unique and amazing as you are and only you are able to be yourself.
8. Create something
Being creative is relieving for your mind and soul. Especially when you feel tensed creativity is a wonderful tool to release tension in your body and to get in touch with your feelings. Drop your expectations to make a masterpiece, just take out your equipment and start creating.
Draw, paint or doodle in your journal, don’t expect anything, just let your creativity flow. You can also be creative by writing out your thoughts and feelings. If you don’t feel like drawing, painting, doodling or writing, sign up for a class and learn a new craft.
9. Connect with your family and friends
High-quality relationships are crucial for our happiness and health. This is the result of the longest study on happiness conducted by the Harvard University in a nutshell. Schedule in regularly space for quality time with your loved ones as a self-care activity for your mind and soul. Quality is hereby more important than quantity. Spending a great time with a fewer high-quality relationships is more beneficial than quantity.
10. Be in nature
Being in nature has many positive effects on our body, mind and soul.
In Japan there is a trend called forest bathing, where people go into the forest to enjoy the sounds and scents of the forest.
Being in nature has several positive benefits:
• Reduces stress
• Improves memory
• Reduces anxiety and depression
• Improves sleep
• Enhances our senses
As a self-care practice, you can go into the nature and simply walk around, be there and enjoy the presence of the trees, plants, animals and yourself.
Declutter your physical and mental space from unnecessary, unloved items. In self-care tip no 6, I mentioned decluttering the mental space by reducing negative self-talk. Getting rid of unnecessary, unloved things in the physical space is just as important.
We live in a consumer society where all the achievements and success are measured by the possessions we acquire. There isn’t much attention directed towards our inner world. We are used to buying stuff after stuff in any given situation. We buy something when we feel good and we buy something when we feel bad and want to cheer ourselves up. I’m no different than you and know how much stuff can accumulate over time.
Check your house, room by room, and see what you don’t use, don’t love and don’t need anymore and let it go.
By letting go of unneeded, unloved stuff your physical space clears up and simultaneously you will also feel a relief in your head. Clutter weighs us down whereas decluttering helps us gain more focus, reduces anxiety, increases creativity and improves our mood.
12. Set healthy boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is one of the self-care practices which I think gets overlooked quite often; however, it is crucial for our health and happiness. Sometimes we tend to say yes to things we don’t have time for or to the things we simply don’t want to do. This results in us getting stressed especially when we have already planned to do something else instead.
Example: Your boss is coming to your desk a few minutes just right before you wanted to call it a day and is asking you for another little favor. Do you say yes or no?
If you say yes to him, you also say no to yourself because you wanted to go home. So how are you going to decide?
This is only one small example of a situation where you might put your interest behind the interest of your boss, because you might be afraid to lose your job. In which situations are you saying yes too easily to others and at the same time no to yourself?
Try saying yes more often to the things which really matter to you and no to the things you don’t care about so much.
13. Get clear about your dream
Take your time and get clear about your dreams, goals and future vision. Move towards your dream step by step every single day. Your soul is urging to unfold your full potential. Questions you can ask yourself to be clearer about how a fulfilled life looks to you are:
- How do I want to live my life?
- What am I truly passionate about?
- What fills my heart with joy?
- What do I want to learn and do in my life?
I know this is a tough one, but it’s so important to know what your dream is in order to be able to design and to live a fulfilled life according to your own measurements. Because to be honest, living your dream is the greatest gift and act of self-care you can give yourself. Check in with yourself at least once per week and see if you are on track in terms of your dreams and goals. A journal where you have all your notes about your dreams and goals in one place is a great starting point to design your dream life.
14. Pamper yourself
Here are 21 more ideas how you can pamper your body, mind and soul.
- Take a bubble bath
Light a candle
Read a good book
Spoil yourself with a spa day
Listen to an uplifting podcast
Indulge your face with a face mask
Watch an inspiring TED talk
Manicure and pedicure
Get a new haircut
Light an essential oil
Try a new healthy recipe
Take yourself out for dinner
Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers
Smile at yourself in the mirror
Start your day with a positive affirmation
Switch your cosmetics to natural, organic products
Treat yourself with a makeup-free day
Get a massage
Unplug from social media
Get enough sleep
Drink a tea and just relax
What’s your favorite way to practice self-care? Leave it in the comments below.
Lilla blogs at lillaliptak.com where she teaches creative women how to plan their future, master their mindset and take conscious, mindful action to design their dream life. Follow heron IG and Pinterest @lilla_liptak.