Self care has become a big buzzword, but how many of us are actually giving ourselves the care we need each day?
As women, we often fall into the trap of prioritising everybody else’s needs ahead of our own. We give and give and give, until we’re running on empty; which eventually leaves us feeling unappreciated, overwhelmed and exhausted.
But this doesn’t serve us, and it doesn’t serve the people around us.
When we take care of ourselves—physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually—we reduce our stress levels, boost our self esteem, and generally feel happier and healthier. We feel in balance, and abundant, and more in tune with ourselves.
Human beings tend to be great at criticising and passing judgement, but we struggle to be kind and loving to ourselves. But you are deserving of your kindness, your care, and your love. And you need it more than you might realise.
When we take better care of ourselves, we’re able to show up for the people we love in a healthier and more sustainable way.
It’s not selfish to prioritise your self care practice.
So, do you have one?
What are doing each day to take care of yourself, and re-fill your well?
And, are you making yourself a priority, ahead of all your other commitments (work, family, friends etc.)?
We’ve put together a list of self care practices, both small and grand, that will help you take care of yourself on every level; so you can feel more loved, centred, and at peace.
33 self care tips to nourish your entire being
1. Be in nature
We’ve become a society that tends to spend most of the day indoors; at school, working, or even watching TV. But this is not our natural environment.
We feel most alive and connected when we’re outdoors, in nature. This is because we’re a part of her; our body is made up of more than seventy percent water.
The air is fresher and allows for deeper breaths. Our eyes get a much needed break from our screens. The body gets to move and stretch and circulate. And your mind is able to bring new perspective to old thoughts or problems.
Get outside at least once a day if you can, even if it’s just a ten minute walk on your lunch break. Put your phone away, and be present in the moment. Try and find green, open spaces; with trees, flowers, wildlife, and natural water if possible.
The more immersed in nature you are, the stronger and more positive the effect will be. Self care like this is free, so there’s no reason not to be doing it.
2. Take a bath
Most of us don’t live by the ocean, a lake, or even have access to a clean swimming pool. But being in water is so soothing and nourishing for your mind, body, and soul.
The next best thing is to run yourself a bath at home. Invest in some candles, salts or bath soak, dried flowers, and a snuggly robe to slip into after.
Put on a relaxing playlist (I love Spotify for this), and let yourself sit there in peace for at least twenty minutes.
This is a beautiful act of self care, and a wonderful way to relax at the end of your day.
3. Sit for five minutes
We’re living in a strange time where we celebrate being busy.
Everything is go, go, go, from one thing straight to the next. It’s no surprise most of us are stressed and overwhelmed. But it doesn’t need to be this way, and it shouldn’t be, either.
You are not a machine, you’re a human being. You’re not meant to be highly productive and efficient all day, every day. Allowing yourself to rest and rejuvenate is vital to your physical and mental health.
Making time for self care is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
Carve out windows of time throughout your day to just sit peacefully for five minutes. Breathe. Ground yourself. Give yourself permission to just be.
4. Sacred sisterhood
There’s a unique sense of community and connection that we can only get as women through being with other women.
We need this time to share, reflect, laugh, learn, heal, and love.
Many of us are still learning to trust other women, as we carry the scars of the witch hunts with us from many lifetimes ago; when we were forced to betray one another. But I want you to know it is safe to be with other women, even if you’ve had negative experiences in the past.
Self care is about making time for all areas of your life, and that includes friendship and sisterhood. Whether you organise a girls night once each week, or attend a local women’s moon circle; make time to be with other women who care about you, and lift you up.
How many hours did you enjoy playing as a child each day, without a care in the world?
I know that when you grow up and become an adult, you do have certain responsibilities that you can’t shy away from. But that doesn’t mean having fun should take a backseat.
I’ve also noticed that adults struggle to let go and have fun; which often means alcohol is our usual go-to. But alcohol pollutes your body and mind. It’s not really play, and it definitely doesn’t count as self care.
Play is goofing around, dancing down your hallway, tickling your partner, having an arts & crafts session, going to the beach and making sand castles, or hopping in your car and taking a spontaneous road trip to a random destination.
Make more time to play each day. To have fun, be silly, and let loose.
If the word “meditation” makes you recoil, then try and just sit in stillness for five minutes like I mentioned above. You don’t need to call it meditating if that doesn’t sit right with you.
I try and begin each morning by sitting for at least ten minutes. Sometimes I’ll put on a meditation music playlist on Spotify, other times I’ll listen to a guided meditation; it depends on what mood I’m in and what I feel I need.
You might want to do a body scan, or focus on opening one of your chakras (like your heart), or even listen to a sound healing meditation.
If you’re new to meditation, aim for something small like sitting for just two minutes, and gradually increase this over time.
And remember, this is a practice. Thoughts and distractions will come and go, and you may not notice the benefits to begin with. Keep going. Stay with it. See what unfolds.
Think about the last time you had a real belly laugh. The kind where you’re laughing with your entire being, and your sides begin to ache.
Doesn’t it feel so good?
Laughter is another act of self care that is completely free, and one of the many gifts of life.
Most of us know at least one person who can make us giggle without trying very hard. Who is that person for you?
Other options are watching a funny video clip online, or even a stand up set at your local comedy club.
And don’t forget to make yourself laugh; whether it’s over a funny memory, or something silly you did. Most of us take ourselves, and life, far too seriously.
8. Do something your future self will thank you for
One of the biggest misconceptions about self care is that it should always feel good when you’re doing it.
But it won’t always feel good. Because self care is about doing what’s best for your mind, body, and soul; and what’s best isn’t always what you enjoy, or think you enjoy.
What’s best for your body might be eating a piece of fruit instead of a biscuit, but you might want that biscuit.
What’s best for your mind might be skipping that TV show, and reading a book, but you really want to watch TV.
And what’s best for your soul might be quitting that job you hate, and finding a new one, or starting your own business. But you might be scared, and afraid of leaving what’s comfortable.
So do your future self a favour, and do something that feels uncomfortable; something you’ve been avoiding or putting off.
9. Say no
I’ve noticed more women struggle with this than men. We learn to put everyone else’s needs ahead of ours, and we think it’s wrong to be selfish sometimes. But it’s not.
You need to make your wants and needs a priority, and make sure your well is topped up; otherwise you won’t have enough to give to those around you.
Saying no to something you don’t want to do, or know won’t serve you, is a courageous act of self care.
If no isn’t something you’re used to saying, then this may feel strange or scary to begin with. That’s okay. The more you practice making yourself a priority, the more naturally it will come to you over time.
10. Let go of a toxic habit
Do you smoke? Do you binge eat, or count calories? Are you a shopaholic? Do you allow yourself to be mistreated in relationships? Have you gotten into a pattern of turning the TV on when you get home from work, and numbing out until you go to sleep? Are you eating too much processed food? Are you going to bed too late, and not getting enough good sleep?
These are just a few examples of toxic habits, and most of us have at least one.
Think about the one that is the most toxic; the one you really want to make an effort to change.
Next, think of the first step you can take to breaking that habit, and replacing it with a positive one that serves you.
Research suggests it takes the average person around 21 days to break a habit, but this really depends on how ingrained the habit is, and your mindset and willpower. Even if it takes months (or longer) to finally release a toxic habit, make this a long term exercise in self care.
11. Learn something new
As long as we’re living, we should never step learning new things; because this is how we grow.
Most of us are used to completing a training day at work, so we can be more competent in our job; or studying for an exam because we have to pass it. But when was the last time you learned something you were interested in, that was just for you?
It doesn’t matter what it is. Baking bread, learning to code, flower arranging, how to teach yoga, how to cut hair, life drawing, starting a blog, or writing a book. The list is endless.
Make a list of your own. Write down all the things you’re interested in learning more about, then choose one to get started on this month.
We’ve gotten so used to our phones, laptops and TVs being an extension of ourselves, that it’s often a struggle to switch them off. But regularly unplugging is a wonderful way to practice self care.
It will help you relax, and release stress and overwhelm. And it will help you focus on being fully present, and awake to all that’s going on around you.
Perhaps you could try switching your phone off as soon as you walk through the front door after work. Or set a time in the evening where you turn all the screens off, and begin to unwind.
While I was living in Bali, I was lucky enough to experience a day called Nyepi. This is a day of silence, where inward reflection and stillness is encouraged. Everything is closed, nobody works, lights must be kept low or off for the day, many people turn their phones and TVs off, and some will even fast. The entire island rests for the day.
It was interesting how challenging this was for me and my partner to adhere to and keep everything switched off. But at the same time, I really enjoyed the contrast of completely slowing down, and unplugging.
If you’re feeling like you need a real break, I encourage you to try your own day of silence, where you unplug.
13. Eat more of a plant based diet
We are earth beings, so it makes sense that we fuel and nourish ourselves with the fruits of the earth.
The more produce you eat that directly comes from the ground or a plant, the better it is for your body and health. That means fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and unrefined grains.
You might not be ready to give up meat or dairy for good, but can you try and reduce your consumption, and replace this with more fruit & veg? We should all be eating at least five portions a day, but many of us don’t come close.
I’ve been eating a vegetarian diet for the past 11 years, and I’ve noticed I get ill a lot less, and feel a lot lighter energetically. I’ve dabbled with veganism for a few months here and there, but haven’t managed to make the full transition—yet!
It sounds so cheesy, but you really are what you eat. The food you eat is a reflection of what you believe you are worthy of; and this effects your energy, mood, and long term health.
You can go a step further and be more mindful of where and how your food is grown. Buying from local farms and small producers is a way to eat more organic, seasonal food, that is better for you as well as the planet.
14. Cook from scratch
Self care has taken a backseat to our jobs, hectic family lives, and our active social lives. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything done, so naturally, certain things take a back seat.
One of these is cooking. And because of the array of ready meals and fast food available to us, it’s an easy fix. But this comes at the cost of your health.
Processed food is often high in fat, sugar and salt, and doesn’t provide your body with the right calories and nutrients it needs. It’s okay to eat out now and then, but try not to make this the norm.
Planning your menu for the week, ordering groceries online, doing meal prep, and cooking in batches can really help you save time, and eat a healthier diet.
Even if you only make one home-cooked meal each week, that’s a great start. Look for a recipe that’s healthy, quick and simple; or try a meal delivery service if you’re really stuck for ideas.
15. Find the imbalances in your life
Our lives are made up of a mix of internal and external elements.
- Your heart
- Self care
- Inner growth
- Self development
- Physical health
- Social life
To experience true harmony, we need to find a balance between all these areas.
But usually, we focus on a few elements, and don’t prioritise the rest. This leaves us feeling out of balance, un-aligned, and unfulfilled.
Spend some time thinking about which of these areas take up most of your time, and which ones you’ve been ignoring.
Where can you create more balance in your life?
Where are you being called to show up more?
What can you do today?
16. Understand your own cycle
One of the best ways to practice self care as a woman is to get to know the ins and outs of your menstrual cycle.
On average, this is a 29 day cycle, which mirrors the cycle of the moon. You will have peaks and troughs in energy, creativity, and focus. One half of your cycle has an inward focus, while the other half has a more outward focus. This is based on the science of your hormone levels at any given time.
When you choose to work with your own sacred cycle; speed up and slow down when you feel called to, you can get more done by doing less.
If you’re new to working with your menstrual cycle, there are lots of period tracking apps you can use to start tracking your cycle today.
17. Write a celebration list
Many of us are familiar with writing daily, weekly, or monthly to-do lists; filling them with far too many things, then beating ourselves up when we fail to cross something off by a certain date.
Why do we do this?
I understand the importance of having a list of things you want to get done each day. But what I don’t get is the way we disregard everything we did complete, and focus on that one thing we didn’t do.
If you need more self care in your life, I invite you to start writing a celebration list at the end of each day.
This is a list filled with all the things you did do, everything that made you smile, and all the things you’re proud of.
Read it back to yourself when you’re done, and celebrate, because life is fabulous and so are you.
18. Dress up
Okay, you don’t necessarily have to dress up. This is more about choosing and wearing an outfit that makes you feel incredible.
I work from home, which means I can eat, work, sleep and repeat in my pyjamas if I want to. But this doesn’t make me feel good. And I’ve noticed how much I miss the act of getting dressed up, styling my hair, and putting some make up on.
If you ever need a confidence boost, make an extra effort with your outfit. Choose clothes and accessories that flatter your body, and make you feel vibrant and sexy. You can go as casual or as dressy as you like.
You might want to invest in a few new pieces, or pull out some old pieces from your wardrobe you haven’t worn in a while.
Even if you’re not leaving the house today, or you’re only popping to the local shop to pick up some bread, make an effort to dress up just because. You don’t need a reason.
19. Invest in yourself
Self care is all about investing your time, energy, and money into your wellbeing. So make sure you do invest in yourself, and regularly.
I’ve noticed this is something a lot of women struggle with, particularly when it comes to investing money in their self-development. They remain stuck in a scarcity mindset, don’t believe they’re worthy of money, or continually put things off for another time.
If you’re one of these people, then think about what is holding you back from investing in yourself.
If money is extremely tight, think about something else you could potentially cut back on this month, and use that money to invest in something like an online course, a book, or a workshop.
Think about setting up a separate savings account called “self-development,” and put in a small percent of your monthly income each month. Use this fund whenever you like, to invest in things you feel drawn to.
20. Have an orgasm
If you’re single, then get to know your own body intimately. Create space to play, figure out what you like, and explore pleasure. You don’t need a partner to enjoy orgasms.
And if you do have a partner, then you get to enjoy solo time as well as time connecting and exploring as a couple.
Sex (if it’s good sex that gives both of you what you need) can help reduce stress, encourage you to be more present, and have a positive effect on your physical health. Plus, when it’s good, it feels amazing.
And we all deserve that kind of pleasure in our lives.
21. Get enough (good) sleep
We’re all different, and need a different amount of sleep to feel happy and well rested. Usually, this is somewhere between 6 and 9 hours.
But it’s important that you get enough of the right kind of sleep, which is REM sleep. This is the deepest sleep stage, where the body repairs itself, rebuilds, and strengthens.
Being exposed to too much artificial light or screens right before sleep can have a negative effect on the kind of sleep you have. Going to bed after 10PM can have a similar result.
Try and switch off all screens at least an hour before you sleep. Minimise artificial light, and opt for soy candles and salt lamps instead. Invest in blackout blinds or curtains for your room, and silky bed sheets that feel soft against your skin.
22. Move your body
When you think of exercise, your brain might immediately think of hard work, sweat, and pain. But moving your body doesn’t have to be like this. It can actually (and should) feel really good.
It all comes down to choosing the right exercise to suit you.
What activities or exercise do you enjoy doing?
What always leaves you feeling really good?
I love swimming, and I love yoga. They can be as peaceful or intense as I choose; which allows for more vigorous exercise when I need it, and more relaxation when I need to unwind.
Both are brilliant ways to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression, and boost your energy. Yoga is also a great way to cerate a stronger connection with your body.
Self care is about taking care of every part of yourself, and that includes your physical body. This is the only one you’ll get this lifetime.
23. Adopt a pet
This is a great option for self care, particularly if you live alone and want some extra company.
Pets—dogs especially—give humans unconditional love and companionship. They’re always there for us; and they seem to have a deep intuition when it comes to how we’re feeling, and will always run to our side when we need them most.
Stroking an animal is said to increase a person’s overall mood and happiness, while dogs are known for helping reduce overall stress, anxiety, and blood pressure. Plus, having a dog will help you get outside each day, and be more active.
So, if you live on your own, and you have the time and money to commit to an animal, think about heading to your local shelter and adopting a pet.
24. Have a clear out
This is another one of those you’ll thank yourself later self care ideas.
It can be a little overwhelming tackling years of clutter and junk in your home, but there’s no better time than now to have a clear out. My general rule is: if you don’t use/wear it, and it doesn’t bring you joy, then it needs to go.
The ancient art of feng shui suggests that having too much stuff in your home creates blockages of energy, which prevents a free-flowing circulation of positive vibrations.
Plus, a cluttered house equals a cluttered mind. I find I can think more clearly when I have less stuff around me, and I feel lighter and more peaceful.
Block out a weekend to have a huge clear out, or take it in smaller steps by tackling one space each day. Don’t hoard things you don’t need.
Notice how you feel living in a cleaner, clutter free home.
25. Cleanse your space
Cleansing your space regularly will help you feel happier and healthier in your home day to day. It will also help clear out any negative energy, and create space for the new to flow in.
Open all your windows and doors regularly—I like to do this around the new moon, because this is a great time for a reset.
Burn some sage or palo santo to help cleanse the space, or, invest in a diffuser (you can get one for under $40 from Amazon), and some high quality essential oils.
You only need a couple of drops each time, which will diffuse a wonderful, lingering aroma into your space for hours. I like peppermint and eucalyptus during the day when I need a boost of energy, and lavender when I want to relax at night.
26. Hug someone
You know that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you embrace someone you care about? Whether it’s your partner, a friend, or even someone you don’t really know, hugging feels so good.
This is because when we engage in physical contact with another person, our body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which helps us feel happier.
So hugging is good you for you, it’s good for the other person, and it’s good for your relationship. Hugs are a way to make up after falling out, make peace, and help you form a stronger bond.
And don’t forget to hug yourself, too. I like doing this during a yoga session when I’m about to go into savasana. I’ll wrap my arms around my upper body and squeeze tight; thanking myself for everything.
27. Get a massage
Depending on your budget, you might save this for a special treat, or you could schedule them in once a week if you prefer.
Bali is famous for their spas and massages, so I made the most of it while I was there for a year.
It’s so lovely booking a massage for the end of the day, having it to look forward to, being pampered, then slipping into bed feeling so zen.
28. Spruce up your home
Does your home need a bit of an update? Once you’ve cleared out all the clutter, the next step is to give it little (or big) makeover.
This doesn’t have to break the bank either. Updating your bed sheets or sofa cushions can make a big difference. As well as adding some plants to your space (which are great for your health), hanging some wall art, or giving the walls a fresh coat of paint.
We spend so much time in our homes, it’s worth investing some time and energy into them. This is a beautiful way to take care of both your home, and your self.
29. Forgive someone
Have you been carrying around some bad blood, or holding onto a grudge for a while?
It’s normal to feel angry or hurt if someone did something to upset you, intentionally or unintentionally. The problem is, when we hold on to those feelings, we only end up weighing ourselves down.
It doesn’t solve the situation, it doesn’t make the person in question any more sorry, and it definitely doesn’t help you more forward.
Self care comes in many forms, and one of them is forgiveness; of yourself, and of others.
Is there someone you need to forgive today, and make peace with?
It doesn’t mean you accept what they did, or have to have them in your life, it just means you let go of whatever it is you’re holding onto.
Let it all go. And notice how much lighter and peaceful you feel.
30. Treat yourself to a subscription box
Subscription boxes have exploded over the past ten years, and you can find one for just about everything.
Make up, wine, cheese, stationary, lingerie, clothing, socks, and jewellery; the list goes on.
If you’re someone who rarely spends money on yourself, then I encourage you to treat yourself to a subscription box that suits your wants and budget. Because sometimes, self care is about treating yourself to nice things.
I receive a lingerie box from Empress Mimi each month, which makes me feel like an absolute Queen. The lingerie is always beautiful, hand made, and wrapped up in a gorgeous box with a ribbon. Opening it has become a ritual that I look forward to, and enjoy every moment of.
31. Sun & moon bathe
Many of us aren’t getting enough vitamin D, and one great source of this is sunlight.
It really depends on where you live, and the time of year, but if you can, try and get some sunlight for at least a few minutes each day.
Stepping into your garden first thing in the morning, and planting your bare feet on the ground is a lovely way to do this. Close your eyes, feel all the elements around you, and soak in the sun (if it’s out).
Equally, basking in the moonlight is a really powerful way for women to feel more connected to their own sacred cycle, and inner rhythms.
Again, this really depends on the phase of the moon, and how clear the sky is, but try and get outdoors a couple times a week in the evening and sit under the moon.
If you want to sync your cycle with the moon, this is one of the ways to do this.
32. Go on a date (with yourself)
We spend so much time and energy thinking about, planning, and going on romantic dates, but have you ever taken yourself on a solo date?
This is the ultimate gift of self care and love. You’re telling yourself you are worthy of being taken out, and enjoying a day of delicious food, lots of fun, and amazing company. And why wait for somebody else to come along and give you that?
Treat yourself to a bouquet of flowers, enjoy a meal out, go to the cinema, go on a road trip, head to a cooking class, go for a walk on the beach, pack a picnic and watch the sunset. Plan a lovely date for yourself, get dressed up, and enjoy every moment of it.
33. Ask for help
Sometimes, self care is about being brave and honest enough to know that you’re not okay, and reaching out for help.
Maybe you talk to a loved one, see a therapist or invest in a personal coach.
Remember, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to feel like you don’t have your shit together, or like you need some outside help to get you back on track.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There will always be someone out there ready and willing to give you the support you need.
Make self care a part of your daily life
Most of us probably tick off one or two of these unintentionally throughout our weeks and months, but we don’t actively prioritise self care each day.
But when we do prioritise it, and make it a part of our daily ritual, self care has the power to heal us, and bring more peace, joy, and gratitude into our lives; as well as the lives of those around us.
Take care of yourself, love.