30 Of The Very Best (and So Simple!) Self-Care Practices
Self-care is how you nourish and sustain yourself. It is these practical habits that ensure that you have what is needed to care for yourself in the best possible way.
With the world ever-changing to support a new way of life for us all; now is the perfect time to rethink how we care for our self; and what new habits and best practices we need to uphold in order to thrive; to feel nourished and whole, and to live self-sustainably.
Daily and ongoing self-care supports and sustains your health and well being.
During this global pandemic have you become better at relying on yourself for your needs? How have you been caring for yourself? What new practices will you ensure become a mainstay to rely on yourself more in times of need and to remember that you are able to care for yourself; to feel even more capable, autonomous, and self-sufficient.
As you apply self-care and also self-love practices, you support your emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual needs. This boosts your confidence and self-esteem, and the value that you hold in your self.
While caregivers are essential in the initial part of life to provide our every need; to be truly autonomous and independent, we must be self-responsible for our care and well being and to provide what is needed for our self.
Let’s begin with some new ideas about self-care that empower you to take notice:
- The idea of self-love substantiates the care you give to yourself. You become motivated to care for yourself because you matter. Self-care implies autonomy; you don’t rely on others to fulfill your needs because you understand the importance of giving to yourself what is needed; of taking the time to understand and honour your needs.
- If self-care is a high priority, it will serve you as an fundamental pillar of your confidence, self-esteem and self-worth. Your self-care habits will encourage other healthy behaviours and ego strengths. “Ego strengths” are your emotional resilience and the positive ways in which you experience yourself in the world.
- With healthy self-care habits in place, you are better able to manage stress and less likely to experience burnout. When I work with clients, we naturally discuss healthy ego strengths and how this is important for self-worth. Ideally, you need a healthy balance between thinking well of yourself and being self-confident; and without inflated pride or conceitedness.
- To practice self-care is to provide your needs objectively; to also live intuitively; that is, to check in often and ask, “What do I need right now?” (And then to provide this need whether it is exercise, a break from your work, a nap, sustenance as healthy food, etc. to yourself.)
- You will also enhance your current level of self-esteem and self-worth by investing time and initiative daily; and as you implement what helpful habits and practices will honour your needs and be self-sustaining.
Think of self-care as the daily attention and love that you give to yourself.
When you take care of your needs, you feel nourished, content, and in-balance. This supports your ability to feel at peace. Self-care builds resilience in times of challenge. Self-care is self-love. When you identify what nourishes and feeds your soul, and as you provide this for yourself, you feel loved.
It’s important to assess how much self-care you give, especially if you have recently (or if you have for a prolonged time), felt emotionally or physically drained or exhausted. Self-care is also a learned behaviour. We are shown how to practice self-care early in our lives as it is modelled by our caregivers and taught to us. You may need to teach yourself self-care if it is something that you have not learned.
As self-care becomes a naturally occurring daily habit, your positive feelings about yourself grow; and you feel autonomous as you are able to care for your needs – yourself.
Herein is your ultimate list of 30 ways to practice self-care, beginning now:
To curate more items and to personalize your self-care habits and routine, make a list of activities that you enjoy. Include these into your daily schedule to bring more self-care and self-love into your life. ?
I’ve also included here a link for your ultimate self-care guide as a PDF. Within the pdf are links to all of the resources that I mention throughout this episode. Each item in the pdf is also labelled to identify what basic self-care need you are addressing; whether physical, psychological, emotional or spiritual.
These are not in order of importance because all are fundamental to your self-care habits and best practices.
Your Ultimate Self-Care Guide:
- Restful sleep. The importance of sleep may be overlooked unless of course you have experienced difficulty sleeping or falling back asleep if you wake during the night. In fact, sleep is an important healing and self-nourishing practice. Go without it or have disruptive sleep cycles and you will feel irritable, distracted easily, and it will be difficult to feel productive. (physical self-care)
- Movement and Exercise. We know the benefits of exercise but do you think of them as self-care? Exercise stimulates the release of serotonin. These are mood stabilizers and they help us to feel motivated and happy. Not only are there several physical benefits, but you build greater resilience to stress by building in daily exercise sessions. This is how you continue to support yourself and to feel at your best. (physical & emotional self-care)
- Be kind to yourself. This is also called kind and loving self-talk. What you say to yourself often goes unnoticed. What you say, you believe; so to nourish and care for yourself best, you need to begin a practice of kind and positive self-talk that encourages, accepts, and loves who you currently are. This self-care habit is one that we all must give our attention to since we all hold messages and beliefs taught to us that are less than kind. (emotional & psychological self-care)
- Do something each day that you love. Ideally, there will be much in your day that you enjoy and that allows you to feel happy and fulfilled. Identify what you love and then decide how you can include one or more of these activities in each day. Doing what you enjoy allows you to nurture and care for your needs, and it reinforces your confidence and worth. (emotional & psychological self-care)
- Learn. There is always something new to learn that nourishes your mind, and that adds to your growing confidence in what you know. Each day, make time to learn something new. Carve out time for daily learning and you will look forward to this self-care practice that focuses on your ability to know and experience more. (cognitive self-care)
- Be love. One of my favourite self-care practices is to begin each day in a state of love. This means finding your inner calm and peace so that you can you shine brightly of this light in the world. There are many ways to conjure your inner love vibe; some of the easiest and most direct ways to feel your inner being is through meditation, prayer, gratitude, being in the present moment, and to think thoughts of positivism and love directed towards yourself and of others. Consider what allows you to be of your loving nature. When you connect with this energy and live out of this heart-centered kindness, you are love in action. You may also want to take mini-breaks throughout your day to re-establish this state of being. It will prove to be so helpful to you. If you would like practice on this now, please check out these resources on self-love, loving kindness, and being of love unto yourself. (emotional & spiritual self-care)
- Healthful foods. Self-care is investing in your physical well-being. It means eating healthy, whole (unprocessed), and if possible, organic. Consider how you may take more time and presence with preparing your food with care and love; holding gratitude for the healthy food and clean water that you have, and for nourishing your body and mind since you will always think and feel better when what you eat and drink is supporting your health. (physical & emotional self-care)
- Meditation and Prayer. Inner contemplation and self-reflection requires time in silence with yourself. To be alone and in thoughtful pursuits of what is important to you now and for your future will uplift and inspire; and it will allow you to feel at peace. Meditation is the quieting of your mind so that you can experience the present moment. With meditation practice, you begin to find yourself living out of the present moment far more often; and with this, appreciating the beauty and perfection of life. Prayer can take many forms, but most simply it is the conversations that you have with your highest self for guidance and nurturing. Meditation and prayer support our need for connection with a power that we hold within ourselves for free will choice; for choosing a path that is remarkable; for inner reflection and our sacred dedication towards what positive action will support us. (emotional & psychological self-care)
- Journal Writing. Be willing to write your thoughts and feelings; to express your inner world onto paper (or as notes that you record in your technological device). Writing is the physical manifestation of your inner world; and it is the outward means of expressing what you desire and dream of. As you bring these experiences to light, you manifest their form; your provide the space and the transformation of these experiences to live beyond what they are inside your being. As a self-care practice, writing is a way of connecting with your inner world; with validating how you feel; as a tool for helping you witness your perceptions and beliefs, and for problem solving. Take 5-10 minutes to write some of what you have been thinking on any topic; what you feel right now; or a goal or intention that you would like to formally acknowledge. Notice how your regular writing practice brings to the surface what is needed; how it sheds light on who you are. Journal writing is a wonderful process to discover more about yourself. (emotional & psychological self-care)
- Find ways to express your creativity. This is how you feel your innate happiness; and how you connect with the deeper meaning of life through your connection to what it is that you create and your enjoyment of this with appreciation and love. Through the flow of creative expression, you experience the present moment; you feel a connection with the greater whole of life, with your physical surroundings; and what you may deem to be your spiritual self and an inspired oneness with an infinite intelligence. Through creativity and flow, you also come to witness your innate gifts; what you are instinctively good at and how you may use your abilities to be of service in the world. Creative expression may become a way of illuminating your greater purpose for being here. You rise up to meet the world through creativity and the expression of your soul consciousness; the result being a collaboration beyond what you may have considered. Pursuing a creative passion allows you to express yourself in varied ways; the experience of this nourishes and fulfills you in ways that are intrinsically meaningful. Self-care is the enacting of your creative pursuits without constraints of thought in order to allow for the pure ‘flow’ of inspiration. (emotional & spiritual self-care)
- Self-Forgiveness. Self-care is the emotional expression of giving yourself permission to heal, to return to peace; to be whole. It is the permission to release past hurts and self-recrimination. When we forgive our self, and as we use our experiences as a learning ground for how we wish to be in the present and future, we can hold comfort in knowing that the experiences of our life, and our actions may hold presence; they are towards something pure and of meaning. If you hold yourself in contempt for the actions of your past, you are not allowing yourself to heal; nor integrate what new information and choices you are now choosing. We learn through trial and error; of not always knowing the right answer, of not having the capacity in some moments to live from our heart; to do our best. If you want to practice self-forgiveness, begin with your gentle urging; your willingness to accept all of you as imperfect and perfect; as a work in progress towards all that you desire to be; and of the knowledge that everything serves to teach you much if you allow it. Start with these words, said out loud: “I forgive you. I love you.” Notice how these words resonate at a much deeper level, offering you the permission to forgive yourself. Say these words with compassion; allow yourself to take them in, to feel their weighted presence and relief. (emotional & spiritual self-care)
- Clean/Tidy/Organize. Self-care is present in the moments of time that you choose to organize, tidy, or clean your physical environment. This is how you simultaneously offer appreciation, respect and kindness directed to yourself as cleanliness and care. You may wish to expand this to such broader acts of collecting garbage off of the street as you take your evening walk or tidy an area of your workplace. These actions benefit how you feel about your space and environment and they also invoke personal pride and a sense of accomplishment. (physical self-care)
- Yoga. Yoga may be considered exercise, but it is also a philosophy, a mindset; and a way of approaching life that includes the union of body, mind, and nonphysical awareness (as energy). Whether some gentle asanas (postures) to stretch and strengthen your body first thing in the morning, as a healthful break during your work day, or perhaps an online class after work; you are choosing to nourish all aspects of yourself through mindful attention, posture awareness, breathing, care and love of yourself. The benefits of yoga are remarkable. (physical & spiritual self-care)
- Unplug from Technology. We are all so dependent on our devices that we are often distracted from the care and love that we need to give our self on a moment to moment basis. Self-care is possible when you focus on yourself without multi-tasking or other distractions. Unplug for 10 minutes at a time, or take a longer ‘detox’ of an hour or more, and pay attention to the world that you live in as you check in with yourself; and to your intuitive needs – and then honour what is needed. For further inspiration on this, please have a listen to Episode 6, Season 2 of The WISDOM podcast for Why a Digital Detox is So Important. (emotional and physical self-care)
- Listen to Your Body. Treat your body as the ultimate source of wonder and love that allows you to experience the physical world. Give your body what it needs to thrive. We often push ourselves, working around the clock; and not truly giving our body (or mind) enough rest and all that it needs. I have on several occasions, heard client stories of being admitted to hospital because they have; and for a prolonged time, pushed themselves beyond what has been healthy; because of their thoughts and beliefs that they should or must work harder, longer; and because they have ignored their body’s needs. Your body is always giving you signals to help you remain in a state of equilibrium. Check in with your physical needs by being mindful and self-aware. Ultimate self-care is the nurturing of your physical needs, whether that is a power nap, a rejuvenating yoga nidra meditation, healthful food or supplements, water, exercise, or the presence that comes with taking a few conscious breaths. Your body as a vessel of health; as a temple that houses your eternal self are metaphors for reminding you, of the care that you need to attend to. Check in often and ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment?” Provide this to yourself to feel nourished and cared for. (physical & emotional self-care)
- Future Planning and Visioning. Self-care is the ability to set goals and plan for your future based on what is most wanted. Habitually ask yourself these two questions: “What do I want for my future?” and “What is most important for me to focus on now?” These questions help guide and direct your energy and time in ways that will be most helpful and productive, and which will move you towards your long term goals. When you create goals, remember to decide on the action steps that will allow you to see your goals through. Have a plan and a course of action for how you will attain what you want. Follow through on this plan and update it regularly to ensure that you are always focused on what is most important now and for your future. Self-care is future planning to ensure that you have in place; what is most desired for your life. Make time each day for self-reflection as self-care so that you can plan and envision what is most important to you. Set your timer for 10 minutes and let your mind take you into your future. This is also how you manifest. (cognitive & physical self-care)
- Visualize Your Ideal Self. Together with future planning, visualize your ideal self. This is how you become the best version of yourself. It is also how you feel inspired to continue on your path towards your ideal. Visualizing builds greater confidence in how you think and feel about yourself. (cognitive & psychological self-care)
- Music and Sound. Whatever sounds are most nourishing for you is what you need to hear each day. For some, this is a particular type of music; for others who are musicians, it is important that they practice and hear the music that they co-create. For many others it is nature sounds: birds, the ocean, the breeze as it rustles leaves in the trees; or perhaps the sound of a fountain or waterfall. We can find reproductions of sounds in nature to play in the background as we are indoors. The benefits of sound and music are great for your well being, and they offer self-nourishment and care. (emotional, psychological & spiritual self-care)
- Go Outside. Be in nature. Enjoy the healing effects of Mother Earth. Ground yourself by planting your bare feet unto the earth. Earthing or Grounding are terms used to denote healing effects; of connecting to Earth’s electrical energy as a way of promoting physical well being. The act of earthing refers to a physical connection between the electrical frequencies of the human body with that of Earth’s. Just like the sun provides us with energy and vitamins, the earth too is a source of subtle energy that contributes to optimum health. Whether you plant your feet on the grass or sand, or lie in your backyard, this self-care is a whole body experience.
- Break Old Habits. Self-care is about recognizing what habits and behaviours create dissonance, and which sabotage you from your goals. There are many ways to break an unhealthy habit. One of the ways that I teach this to clients is to think of it as “shedding an old aspect of yourself that is no longer needed”. If you choose to think of your unhealthy habits in this way, and to let go of them, decide what new healthy self-care practices or habits you will replace them with. Think of what will best serve your highest good and what new practices will allow you feel great so that it will be easier to teach yourself the new habit.
- Self-Love. Self-care is self-love. When you do for yourself what is needed; when you make time to care for and nurture yourself, these are examples of self-love. Self-love is reflected in the words that you say inward and aloud. It is your messages of kindness spoken unto yourself that serve as reminders of your care and self-love. I’m going to share a link here for a previous episode of The WISDOM podcast on self-love. It’s one that I know will be so helpful to listen to.
- Present Moment Awareness (Mindfulness). Self-care is the ability to know what you need in any given moment and to be able to then give this to yourself. To do so, you need to be able to witness yourself in the present. When you are distracted or busying yourself, you miss out on the precious moments of life, always in motion. Practice stopping for a time what you are doing and sit or stand in stillness. Take in everything for 1 full minute; all of your senses now open to what you are aware of. Notice how your senses become attuned to both your external world and what you witness within. This is how you build greater presence in your life; how you hone the ability to step into the present moment by choice, aware and awake. For more on practising mindfulness and present moment awareness, check out these resources: How to Live In The Present Moment and The 5 Best 5-Minute Mindfulness and Meditation Life Hacks. (emotional, psychological & spiritual self-care)
- Breathe. The most simple self-care practice you could give yourself is to take conscious deep breaths and often. New research suggests that 5 minutes of deep breathing is as beneficial as meditation; because when you breathe with conscious – mindful – awareness; you experience the benefits of calming your vagus nerve which is responsible for calming your entire body. For more on the benefits of 5-minutes of deep breathing, read this: Why Taking A Deep Breath Feels Good. (emotional & physical self-care)
- Self-Compassion. Kindness in self-talk is self-compassion. We need to practice self-compassion: to enjoy a positive and uplifted way of experiencing our self; for being patient and for giving our self permission to feel good and nourished. Self-compassion is a central construct in Buddhist psychology. It is how we practice kindness to our self. (emotional, psychological & spiritual self-care)
- Self-Honesty. When you are completely honest with yourself, you soar; because in self-honesty lies the opportunity for change, growth, self-awareness and discovery. Your willingness to be self-honest proclaims to yourself and others that you are someone that can be trusted and relied on to be truthful. When you are willing to reveal the truth to yourself about anything, you no longer hold yourself back in life by wishing for something that is not going to be; instead, you take charge to move forward on what you do have control over. Self-honesty is how you honour your inner being; it is how you align yourself with what is right and best for you. This is one of the highest examples of practising self-care. (emotional, psychological & spiritual self-care)
- Sunlight. Sunlight received by going outdoors shuts down the production of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps you sleep at night. This natural means of shutting your melatonin down during the day, helps you to be awake and alert. 10 or 15 minutes in the morning as you take a brisk walk would be ideal. Sunlight (and in particular morning sunlight) as it absorbs into the skin, triggers the body’s production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is a crucial ingredient for overall health; it protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps support your muscles, and improves brain function. Your body is meant to be in the sun, and exposure to sunlight during the day is crucial to your well being. As well, exposure to sunlight has a huge impact on depression, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and sleep quality. The recommendation is at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight daily. (physical & psychological self-care)
- Evening Self-Reflection. Take 10-15 minutes each evening to reflect on the self-care that you did that day; and plan for what self-care you will give to yourself the following day. This is a wonderful practice that encourages you to reflect upon what self-care practices were most helpful; and as a gratifying means of honouring your commitment to your self-care. As you make your evening self-reflection a habit, it will become a self-care ritual that you look forward to. Reflect upon what self-care practices have helped you feel nourished and cared for. This will be a meaningful reminder of what you will choose for yourself for the upcoming day. (emotional, physical & psychological self-care)
- Maintain Healthy Boundaries With All People In Your Life. Boundaries are the expressions that we uphold for our self that allow us to feel safe and secure; to be in control of our choices, and to honour our needs. If we overextend our self, or if we do for others at the expense of our needs, we are not respectful of our care, nor personal boundaries. Having boundaries allows you to say “no” when something does not feel right to do. It is also what helps you to instill the right kind of care each time that you recognize what is needed. (emotional, physical & psychological self-care)
- Yoga Nidra. Different from the practice of yoga, research on the overall benefits of yoga nidra has revealed improvements in emotional self-regulation with reduced levels of depression, stress and anxiety, and an increase in mood, quality of life and well being. During yoga nidra, we allow our awareness through the whole body. While doing so, we move through different stages of consciousness just as in sleep. We shift between the waking state, dream state, and finally to deep, dreamless sleep. Yoga nidra creates deep relaxation for physical health, mental peace and higher awareness. (emotional, physical & psychological self-care)
- Gratitude. Gratitude is self-care and self-love. One of the most powerful ways to feel instant joy and inner contentment and to feel blessed and nourished in your life is gratitude. I will leave a link for you here for: a special meditation on gratitude. I believe that it is so important to experience this firsthand; to witness how uplifting gratitude is as self-care and self-love. (emotional & psychological self-care)
There you have it: 30 of the best practices for your ultimate self-care guide.
Please remember you can download this list; and please share it with those you love! ? My recommendation is that you begin with 2 or 3 from this list that resonate most with you.
You will soon be on your way to feeling nourished, and your needs cared for; and you will be happier and more resilient in your life. I wish for you to have an ultimate self-care routine always; and to feel it support you in the rest of your life. Sending you all of my love always. Namaste! xo
“When self-care is a high priority, you feel happy; as your needs continue to be met, you have greater resources from which to support and soothe yourself. Self-care empowers you, knowing that you are self-sufficient and able to care for you needs.” – dorothy