Let’s face it: We all have a lot to do. And between working and raising kids, investing in our relationships and staying involved in the community, it’s easy to put ourselves at the bottom of our to-do lists. Especially in months like this one, when Valentine’s Day rolls around and our minds are laser-focused on caring for and loving others. Which is incredibly important, of course, but it’s also crucial to take a little time each day to love yourself, too.
Self-care is a phrase that’s used a lot these days, and can sometimes seem a little selfish. How dare we spend time focusing on and caring for ourselves when there are so many other people out there who need our love and support?! But that’s so far from the truth: In fact, the more we care for and prioritize our own health + well-being, the better we’ll be able to show up for others when they need us the most.
So to help you show yourself a little love, we’ve put together a quick list of 27 simple ways to practice self-care in your daily routine:
1. Meditate: Taking some time—even 10 minutes—to sit in stillness + quiet your busy brain is one of the most rewarding ways to care for yourself, both mentally and physically.
2. Document your success: Keep a log of nice things people have said to you or things you’ve done that make you feel proud, then look back at them to remind yourself when you need a quick confidence boost.
3. Spend some time outside, every single day: There’s nothing more refreshing than a few moments with Mother Nature. It can even be as simple as a 5-minute nature break at the end of your lunch hour.
4. Try something new: Learn a new skill, try a new recipe, find a different route to work or just check out a new lunch spot. Changing up your routine, even in the slightest bit, can keep your brain engaged + boost your happiness.
5. Create a morning routine: There’s something about habits that are comforting + restorative. Find an AM routine that works well for you, and incorporate it each day to start out on the right note. We love kicking off our mornings with a warm mug of lemon water and some mindful meditation.
6. Just relax: Our “go go go” culture makes it seem indulgent to slow down, but it’s important to give yourself permission to play and just do…nothing. Take some time each day to relax in the way that you enjoy most, whether it’s reading a book, playing a game with your kids, watching a TV show you love or doing whatever gives you the freedom to decompress.
7. Say no: Many of us are people-pleasers, which is fine to an extent. But sometimes we overexert ourselves by saying yes to every request we get. Practice saying no to non-essentials or things that will pull your energy away from the people + activities you find most important.
8. Clean out your social feeds: There’s no need to get off of social media entirely (unless you want to!), but take some time to unfollow/unfriend anyone who doesn’t bring you happiness + positivity.
9. Don’t forget to breathe: It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how much deep breathing can lower our anxiety levels. Next time you’re feeling stressed, try the 4-7-8 Breath method, where you breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, gently hold the breath for 7 seconds, then exhale slowly for 8 seconds. Repeat it in sets of 3 or 4 repetitions a few times throughout the day.
10. Take a bath: Feel your tension instantly melt away with a relaxing soak in a bubble bath. Bonus points if you light a yummy-smelling candle.
11. Exercise: Working up a sweat not only keeps you physically healthy, but can also help clear your brain and produce happiness-inducing hormones.
12. Eat mood-boosting foods: Tasty treats like avocado, grapes, raw nuts and even chocolate (in moderation) contain vitamins + minerals known to provide energy + lift your spirits.
13. Check in with yourself: We can get so caught up in the daily grind that we forget to take a moment to assess how we’re feeling. Every now and then throughout the day, mindfully check in with yourself to uncover your current mood. If you’re feeling stressed or filled with tension, take time to breathe through it. If you’re feeling happy and relaxed, note how good the feeling is, making sure not to take it for granted.
14. Be your biggest cheerleader: So often, our self-talk is filled with criticism and doubt. Instead, try talking to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend—giving yourself compliments, love + support rather than focusing on the negative.
15. Surround yourself with good smells: Smell is one of our strongest senses, and can make a huge difference in how we feel. Try burning candles or diffusing essential oils in your office or bedroom, especially calm + happiness-boosting scents like lavender, orange, lemon + bergamot.
16. Ask for help: There’s no shame in seeking the support of others. After all, there’s power + confidence in knowing we can’t do everything ourselves.
17. Journal: Whether it’s a gratitude journal, dream log or everyday diary, putting our thoughts to paper can help release tension + negative emotions, while helping you acknowledge all the wonderful things you do have in your life.
18. Spoil yourself: Do something super-indulgent every now and then, whether it’s treating yourself to a spa day or eating a giant slice of chocolate cake.
19. Get good sleep: No one can be at their best when they’re lacking restful sleep, so prioritize shut eye to make sure you’re getting the zzz’s you need.
20. Challenge your brain: Do a crossword puzzle, play along with Jeopardy or learn a new language. Keeping your brain active isn’t just rewarding, but it improves your physical health, too.
21. Create a space you love: Whether it’s your office, your meditation room, your bedroom or your entire house, creating a space that’s super-cozy and extra “you” adds peace + comfort to your everyday life.
22. Stretch: Not only does it get your blood flowing + boost your energy, but stretching also reduces tension, increases your range of movement and helps protects from muscle injuries.
23. Unplug: It’s not always possible to go phone- and computer-free for days at a time, but try to give yourself some space from technology when possible. It could be a hour before bed or all of Sunday evening—you’ll be surprised at how this little change can help lower stress + help you sleep better.
24. Make something: Exploring our creativity is one of the best ways to show ourself a little love, whether it’s sewing, making jewelry, writing poetry or anything else you love.
25. Play with your pet: Animals are proven to lower blood pressure + stress levels (and even make you live longer!). So make them happy and care for yourself by snuggling with your pet or playing a game of fetch.
26. Laugh!: Sounds so simple, but it makes a world of difference. Watch a cute animal or baby video, listen to a funny podcast, even tell yourself a joke—anything that brings a smile to your face.
27. Travel: One of the greatest ways to find fulfillment + increase our awareness is to get out into the world + explore new places. And it doesn’t have to be a dream vacation to Thailand—it would even be as simple as taking a quick trip within your state. The key is opening up your heart + mind to new people, cultures + adventures.
What’s your favorite way to take care of yourself each day? Comment below + let us know!
Wishing you a month of love, compassion + self-care,