Imagine your best friend has a high-stress job. She works 50-60 hours during the week and often puts in extra hours on the weekend. She hasn’t had time for exercise over the last 6 months and has gained weight. She’s gotten over a nasty cold but has a lingering cough that just won’t go away. Her husband works similar hours, comes home and sits on the couch while she cooks dinner and cleans up afterward. She only sleeps about 4 hours every night living off caffeine by day and wine by evening. Her hair and cuticles are a mess. Yesterday at school pick up, her child’s teacher asked her to be in charge of the 3rd-grade holiday party. She calls you in tears and asks for your advice.

What do you say to her?

First, I love you. Then…

You will probably suggest a trip to the doctor to check on that cough. It could be something serious but most likely a round of antibiotics will knock it right out.

Next, you might suggest she get some rest. Don’t work this weekend. Stay in bed and sleep. Let the father take care of the kids.

You could use some pampering yourself so you make an appointment for the two of you to get manicures and pedicures on Sunday afternoon. You haven’t seen each other in ages. Catching up would be nice.

You tell her about the walking trail that recently opened in the neighborhood or the meditation app you’ve been using a few times a week to clear your head.

And if you don’t tell her to say no to the holiday party, I will. What’s her number?

Now, how much of what I described about your “friend” sounds like your life?

What would your friend say to you?

Self-care is self-love.

It’s caring for yourself the way you would care about someone else – someone you love and respect. If the quality of your self-care has been less than stellar lately (like your friend’s up there), you might feel like you don’t deserve such love and respect. It’s an easy downward spiral to get into. Sometimes we have to let the action of self-care precede the feeling of self-love. The more you care for yourself the more love and respect you will feel. AND the more love and respect you will demand from others.

You matter.

To begin your journey of radical self-care, be your own best friend. Pick one thing you could easily do in the next few days that would make you feel a tad more relaxed, comfortable, beautiful, or loved. Schedule it on your calendar and keep that time sacred. If you think you might be tempted or coerced into backing out, enlist a friend to hold you accountable.

What is one simple act of self-love you can incorporate into your daily routine?

Recommended reading: An Invitation to Self-Care: Why Learning to Nurture Yourself Is the Key to the Life You’ve Always Wanted, 7 Principles for Abundant Living

Join my community network for almost daily tips on self-care and living healthier and happier!

Originally published at