How to practice self love? It’s simple because self love (or self care) is about loving who you are. Self-care is about giving the world the best of you.
Because we each have our own unique approaches to self-love, it can mean different things to different people. Below are 91 self love ideas to inspire your own self care routine and lifestyle, so pick the ideas that excite you.
For your convenience, the self care ideas are categorized as follows:
Table of Contents
How to practice self love for your body
1. Drink enough water.
We all know that drinking water is beneficial to our health. It is a small way to love yourself.
2. Explore nature.
It is hard not to feel relaxed by the scenery, the fresh air, and the birds singing.
3. Take a hot, soothing bath.
A hot bath can be very relaxing. Hot water relaxes your body. Try to take a nice bath before bed because hot water better prepares you for falling asleep. Put some essential oil in the bath to unwind and let go.
4. Take a deep, mindful breath.
Oxygenate your body, reduce the tension, and refresh your energy.
5. Put on your favorite outfit.
This is a great idea, especially if you are feeling a little sluggish. And put on nice, matching underwear too! No one will know, but you will know, and it will make you feel better.
6. Do your hair and makeup.
If you don’t like makeup, this self-love tip does not apply to you. However, if you do like making yourself look pretty now and again, but you haven’t done it because you don’t have time, make time. Pretty hair and makeup may seem superficial, and it probably is, but when you take the time to make yourself look good, you feel good. Even if you’re just walking into the grocery store or picking your kids up from school, you lift your head higher because you know you look presentable.
Have you ever been in a situation where you’re quickly running an errand and your hair is a mess so you’re wearing a baseball hat, you have no makeup on, and your clothes are sloppy? Now imagine you see someone you know, but she doesn’t see you. If you’re like most of us, you’re going to avoid her or pretend you didn’t see her. That’s because we want people to see us at our best. But your opinion of yourself is more important than their opinion of you, so take a few minutes to make yourself presentable.
7. Make sleep a priority.
Sleep is important, so make sure you get all the sleep you need. If you are exhausted, and you can afford to do so, take a nap. Find a comfy place and drift off into dream time. Set a timer if you’re worried about sleeping too long.
8. Take care of yourself by eating healthy.
As you add things to your grocery cart, say things like: “I am choosing this for my body because I love her and she deserves to be strong and healthy.”
9. Eat something delicious.
Make your favorite comfort food, order your favorite food, or bake your favorite cookies. Certainly, you can be allowed to indulge now and then.
10. Play your favorite song/music.
Listening to music comes with so many benefits! For example:
- Music improves your mood. The hormone dopamine is produced in the brain in response to music. This enhanced dopamine production aids in the alleviation of anxiety and despair.
- Music helps to ease stress. Music has been shown to relieve tension by stimulating biological stress reducers.
- Music helps to ease depression symptoms. Music, like exercise, can make you feel better when you’re down in the dumps.
11. Dance like no one is watching.
If you feel uncomfortable about dancing in front of people, dance when you’re alone. Really feel the rhythm of the music and enjoy a good workout while you’re at it!
12. Drink a cup of your favorite herbal tea.
Herbal tea comes with many benefits. Sipping on a cup of tea can help you unwind. Depending on what kind of tea you choose to drink, herbal teas can boost your immune system and improve your digestive system.
Make yourself a soothing brew with whatever tea you have lying around. If you like experimenting, try holy basil, damiana, chamomile, and lavender.
13. Give yourself a massage.
You could use self-massage techniques with your hands or a tennis ball. You could also use other massage tools to help relax your body. Also, consider facial massages. They’re very relaxing and you can do it almost anywhere.
14. Eat your leafy greens daily.
Self care is taking care of yourself by nourishing your body with the minerals and vitamins found in leafy greens like kale, broccoli, spinach, etc. If you don’t enjoy eating leafy greens, you could also put them in a smoothie or soup.
15. Enjoy the sun.
Put on some sunscreen and sit outside in the sun for a bit. Better yet…
16. Take a walk outside.
Walking on a quiet nature trail is like free therapy. It allows you to clear your mind, and you get exercise while you’re at it.
17. Get some exercise.
If exercise holds negative connotations, try to reframe it or try to find ways to make it more appealing. For example, if swimming for a half-hour is boring, get some swimming earphones and listen to your favorite podcast while you are in the pool. Also, keep in mind that there are many forms of exercise. If you don’t enjoy sweating it out in a traditional gym, find a form of exercise you actually like.
18. Create a physical environment that promotes your well-being.
Remove the clutter, grime, and dust from your environment. Create order in your surroundings, and your mind will follow suit.
How to practice self love for your heart
19. Give or receive a hug.
Hugs are a powerful language. Amongst our loved ones, hugs can communicate sentiments of love, affection and safety. Amongst others, it can communicate a community connection. But it’s so much more than that! Hugging improves one’s self-esteem. Hugging and hand-holding on a regular basis can help lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
20. Have a good laugh.
Actively and consciously look for things to make you smile or laugh or bring you joy. Instead of watching a horror movie that makes you anxious, watch a comedy that makes you feel light and happy.
21. Express gratitude.
Scientists say that we can only have one thought at a time. So if you are consciously trying to think of things that you are grateful for, there is no room for unhappy thoughts. And since we become what we think about, you are creating a joyful life just by being grateful for what you have. This is an easy self-love method you can practice anywhere, anytime!
To really experience the benefits of gratitude, start and maintain a gratitude journal.
22. Be kind to yourself.
So often, we are our own worst critics. Think about it this way–would you tolerate a friend who calls you fat, stupid, or ugly? Unlikely. Yet, sometimes we say horrible things like this to ourselves. Instead, see yourself through the eyes of a loving parent and treat your inner child with unconditional love, respect, patience, and gentleness.
23. Say supportive, kind words to yourself.
Life throws pesky curveballs at us all the time! When they come, beating yourself up does not make things better. Instead, be kind and supportive to yourself with words like “I can do hard things”, “I’m capable”, etc.
You could also say affirmations to yourself, like “I am beautiful and everybody loves me,” “everything I desire is within my reach,” “I am kind and generous,” etc.
24. Learn how to soothe yourself.
According to the universal law of rhythm, there will always be ups and downs–it is part of life. When the downs inevitably come your way, be prepared for them by practicing your self-soothing techniques. This could be anything from snuggling under the covers with a good book, adult coloring, listening to your favorite music, etc. However, if you are suffering from anxiety and depression, you may need to revert to more powerful self soothing techniques, like positive self-talk, conscious breathing, and more.
25. Treat yourself.
Go somewhere special and do something you’ve wanted to do for a while.
26. Appreciate yourself.
Whatever you focus on, expands. Therefore, the ultimate gesture of self-love is to love and appreciate yourself. You can do this through meditation, or consciously take time and think about the qualities that you appreciate about yourself.
27. Spend time with those who support, empower, and uplift you.
This is essential for self-love! Consider that we become the average of the people we spend most of our time with. For example, if you spend most of your time with 5 lazy, depressed, negative people, you will become the 6th. Instead, spend time with people who support you and your goals.
28. Tell yourself you are beautiful every day.
Put a post-it note on your mirror that actually says, “You are beautiful!” Read it whenever you look in the mirror and graciously accept the compliment.
29. Brighten your day with fresh flowers.
You don’t need to do it all the time, but if you feel the need for a little pick-me-up, buy fresh flowers. Studies have shown that fresh flowers can reduce anxiety, stress, and pain. Also, the scent of freshly cut flowers can help you unwind.
30. Introduce color into your life.
Color can influence our moods and even our physiological reactions. Certain colors have also been associated with increased metabolism, increased blood pressure, and eyestrain. Use color for no particular reason other than because it makes you happy. For example, instead of black and blue pens, introduce other colors too.
31. Consider adult coloring as an activity.
32. Keep a journal.
Journaling comes with so many benefits! Write anything that calls you. Ideas, dreams, experiences, frustrations—get them out of your head and into your journal.
33. List the things that you’re grateful for.
An attitude of gratitude is literally life-changing. After all, you can’t help but feel great when you are literally counting your blessings.
34. Create a list of qualities you like about yourself.
Many of us are so quick to point out our own flaws to anyone who is listening. Don’t do that. Looking for negatives in yourself only makes you feel bad, and it certainly doesn’t serve you. Instead of focusing on our flaws, why not maintain a list of your many positive qualities?
How to practice self love for your mind
35. Regularly do brain dumps.
Brain dumps are simple—you get things out of your head and onto paper. This could be everything that’s been bothering you like needing to pay a credit card bill before the due date, buying shoes for a child, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, making time to buy groceries for the week, doing an amazon return, calling someone on their birthday, etc. It can feel overwhelming when there are so many things in your head, but once you have things down on paper, it is significantly easier to manage. Try it!
So often, I’d feel like I have too much on my plate, but once I do the brain dump and I start getting things done, I realize that it wasn’t as bad as I thought after all.
36. Feed and expand your mind.
Learn something new. Enrich your understanding of the world or read up on different topics.
When you start opening your mind to new perspectives, it changes you. You will never be the same person again!
As an example, I think about a discussion I once had with a colleague about the AIDS epidemic in countries like South Africa. I remember feeling angry and frustrated because contraceptives were (and still are) freely available in South Africa. My colleague asked me: “how do you know about the free contraceptives?” I explained that I read about it and I heard about it on tv and the radio. He said – you know about it because you can read. You’ve heard about it or you’ve seen it on tv because you live in a house with electricity and you have access to radios and TVs. Many people in the squatter camps of South Africa have no electricity, and even if they could read, they don’t have access to the same news you read.
That was a moment I will never forget. I felt very small but that moment made me realize that I need to always have an open mind.
37. Start and maintain a self-reflection journal.
Record your self-care journey and write down your key discoveries. Reflect on your progress and allow yourself to feel proud of it.
38. Make something.
Many of us have drifted away from making things. It doesn’t even have to be original! You could DIY something that you’ve seen on Pinterest, cook a meal, or whatever catches your fancy. It doesn’t matter what you make and whether it’s practical or frivolous, as long as you love the process.
It’s difficult to be unhappy when your face is bright and cheerful.
I definitely smile with my teeth. 🤣 IB: @Jordan Nataé♬ original sound - shawn .
40. Still your mind.
Find a way to calm your mind each day. Meditation or mindfulness exercises are two excellent practices. Pay attention to the present moment and get out of your thoughts.
41. Take a break from social media.
Social media is entertaining, but it is not good for our mental health. If you are a social media junkie, give yourself a much-needed break from the constant comparison, egotism, and general drama that comes from social media. In fact, if you are brave enough to do it, delete social media apps from your phone. Instead, do something that serves you.
42. Create a daily regimen for yourself.
Our minds thrive on structure. Establish defined habits and rituals to provide clarity and order to your life. Just remember to remain adaptable and enable these frameworks to shift and evolve as needed over time.
43. Create a folder for your achievements.
Set up a location on your computer or in a real folder where you may keep track of all of your proudest achievements.
- What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
- What are some of the projects you’ve completed?
- What lessons have you been able to glean from your setbacks?
When you’re in a funk or feeling like a failure, open that older to reflect on your achievements.
44. Simplify your to-do list.
Before you add anything to your list, ask yourself if it’s truly necessary. Determine which items on your mental (or physical) to-do list are taking up unnecessary space. Keeping your to-do list to a bare minimum will help you relieve a lot of tension. Assess what is significant vs. unimportant using a tool like the Eisenhower Matrix.
45. Turn your phone to airplane mode.
Airplane mode disables all incoming calls, messages, and other unpleasant distractions. Each day, momentarily free yourself from the mental enslavement of constantly checking your phone. You don’t have to do this all day—you could take a mini-vacation from your phone after 6 p.m. until the next morning.
46. Set small, attainable goals for yourself.
Set one or two major goals for yourself each day that will give you a sense of accomplishment or fulfillment. It could be as simple as preparing a tasty meal or as complex as writing a chapter for your book. Simply knowing that you’ve accomplished one of your objectives is a lovely sensation that you can have on a daily basis!
47. Do something that takes you out of your comfort zone.
This could mean taking a different route to work or taking your dog for a stroll along a different street! Enjoy the feeling of self-assurance and empowerment that comes from knowing you can try something new and/or difficult.
48. Set clear boundaries for yourself.
Even if your voice shakes, stand up for yourself and say “no!” Set explicit time and energy limits for yourself. Protecting your energy is a sort of self-respect and self-care. Only give energy to what you intentionally choose to bring into your life.
How to practice self love for your soul
49. Ask for help and guidance when you need it.
Reach out to someone if you’re lost, upset, stressed, confused, or depressed. It takes bravery to ask for help. Find a reliable friend, advisor, or professional to assist you.
50. Connect with someone.
Even if that individual is online, find someone with whom you can have a heart-to-heart chat. Express your deepest feelings and thoughts, and reciprocate with someone who is on the same page as you. When a human connection is genuine and unadulterated, it is uplifting to the soul.
51. Take all your vacation days.
You’ve earned it, you deserve it. Take the time you need to get a well-deserved break—traveling and vacations are beneficial in so many ways! If you can’t afford to take an actual vacation, have a staycation!
52. Be your own soulmate and best friend.
Treat yourself with the respect that you deserve. Spend quality time with yourself and learn to appreciate who you are. Celebrate your humanity and divinity, as well as the odd contradiction that is who you are.
53. Take a walk with no particular destination – walking meditation.
Walking meditation is about walking mindfully and paying attention to every stride, thought, feeling, and breath you take.
The benefits of walking meditation include reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep, increasing attention, slowing yourself down, helping you get to know your body, lowering blood pressure. It also helps you expand everyday mindfulness and stay in the present moment.
54. Express your deepest sentiments creatively.
Your rawest feelings can be expressed through writing, drawing, sculpting, scrapbooking, painting, singing, or dancing. Express yourself creatively in whatever way feels most appealing and natural to you. You don’t need to be a creative person to do this! This is about self-expression and the healing power it holds.
55. Connect with the wisdom of your soul.
There are a plethora of techniques to communicate with your soul essence. Prayer, meditation, visualization, oracle reading, and dream work are all basic methods for reconnecting with your inner self.
56. Be open to the beauty around you.
The soul is opened and expanded by beauty. Beauty has the power to enthrall and awe you. Every day, find at least one wonderful thing to mesmerize you. Nature is a good place to start.
57. Light a candle.
Relax as you watch the flickering light. Better yet, indulge and unwind with a scented candle. Allow yourself to connect with your inner self by watching the light sparkle.
Self care ideas for a happier life
58. Limit your news consumption.
It is important to be well-informed—there is no dispute about that. However, the non-stop feed of bad news can drain you after a while. Instead, be deliberate about finding a balance. For example, plan to watch or listen to only the first few minutes of a news program. Once you know what is important, turn it off.
59. Say yes to the things you really want.
If you’ve been dreaming about taking a cruise for years, and an opportunity comes up, take it! This may sound obvious, but for many folks, it is not. Instead, we end up making excuses like: “I’d never be able to get the time off,” or “who will look after the kids,” or “I need to lose weight first,” etc.
60. Make sure your actions match your intentions.
What is it you want in your life? Once you have clearly identified it, make sure your actions match your intentions. For example, you cannot say you want a beach body when you consistently drive past the gym every day. There should be no disconnect between your actions and your desires.
61. Declutter your friendships.
Are you hanging out with people out of habit? If so, do they support and inspire you, or do they humiliate, degrade, and make you feel bad about yourself? If it is the latter, these are not healthy relationships and you should start taking small steps to distance yourself.
62. Give and receive love.
The world is so busy and we often forget to tell those around us how much we love them. But it matters. Don’t assume people know how much you love them—tell them. By saying how you feel, you make others more comfortable to express their own feelings.
63. Make time to pamper yourself.
Take a day to look after yourself. This is not a day to catch up on housework or to run errands. Rather, it is “me time” where you do things that make YOU happy.
64. Purge unhealthy habits.
If your interest is self-love, you need to take a good, honest look at your life and identify the things that are not good for you. Are you smoking, eating fast foods regularly, drinking excessively, etc? Whatever it is, take steps to slowly purge these bad habits from your life.
But it’s not only bad habits you need to purge. Also consider things that make you unhappy. Instead of just living with it, eliminate the problems that annoy you. For example, if the squeaky door or the slow dripping faucet in the bathroom drives you nuts, get it fixed.
65. Instead of being ashamed of the hard times, be proud of it.
If you are a normal human being and you’re old enough, you may have gone through a few rough times. So often we feel embarrassed about it. Don’t! Take pride in it. Not everyone could have gone through what you did. Yet you did and you are stronger for it.
66. If you’d rather not answer the phone, don’t answer it.
If you really don’t feel like talking to your neighbor, who takes 15 minutes to make a point, ignore the call until a more appropriate time to talk to her. I am not suggesting that it’s okay to be rude and inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. Rather, call back when it suits you.
67. Celebrate the small wins.
Usually, we only celebrate when big things happen, like starting a new job, a birthday or anniversary, finishing an important project, the birth of a new baby, etc. Why wait for only the big things? Why not celebrate because your kid got an A on a subject he/she was struggling with, or he/she can finally tie shoelaces, or because you painted a room all by yourself. These are small victories, but they can also be celebrated in a healthy way.
You don’t have to do anything extravagant. You could celebrate with a movie night for the kids, a luxurious bubble bath for yourself, or anything that you deem as special.
68. Say no to things that don’t serve you.
This piece of self-love advice should be yelled from the rooftops! There should be billboards about it. When you are “people pleasing,” (and you are saying yes to something that you’d rather not do), you are invalidating yourself. You are saying that what you want matters less than what someone else wants. Instead of continually pleasing others, start pleasing yourself.
It is important to understand that this piece of self love advice applies to “people pleasing,” not to healthy options. For example, you may feel like saying NO to a dentist visit, but taking care of yourself is self-love.
69. Practice mindful eating.
When we eat mindlessly, we tend to overeat. Instead of watching Netflix or talking to someone while you’re eating, focus on what you are doing. Really taste the food, feel the textures, savor the flavors. You’ll appreciate the experience more and you are less likely to overeat.
70. Surround yourself with joy.
Figure out what makes you happy, and surround yourself with it. For example, I love looking at our family travel photos, so I made large prints and they are tastefully hung in our mudroom. I’ve noticed that I don’t get stressed in that room, even when it looks like we are going to be late for school.
You can surround yourself with photographs, souvenirs, or anything that conjures up pleasant recollections.
71. Declutter your home.
Only have the things that bring you joy. Do you love your blender because you use it every day, or is it taking up space in your house? Are you holding on to gifts that you will never use? Purge anything in your life that you don’t need, use, or enjoy. These things clutter your environment and it drags you down.
72. Keep your home neat.
Decluttering your home is great, but its also important to keep it neat and tidy. The great thing is that once your home is decluttered, it’s easier to keep it neat and tidy.
But what does keeping your home tidy have to do with self love. Well, everything! I realized one day that we were straightening out every time we expected guests. But why were we straightening out for them? What about us? Is their approval of our home more important than our approval? Once I had that realization, I keep our house neat and tidy because like guests, we too are worthy of a neat house!
73. Create a haven out of your home.
When you walk into your home, do you feel a sense of tranquility or a sense of doom and anxiety? If it’s the latter, you have some work to do to create the haven you deserve. You spend a lot of time in your home, so make it a place that you love to be in.
74. Learn to accept.
Things don’t always go the way we want them. Maybe it rains on your wedding day, or maybe the washer broke when you can least afford to fix it. The first thing to do is accept that it has been put on your path. Fighting the circumstance will not change it, so it makes no sense to put your energy into fighting it. Instead, use that energy to figure out how to deal with it.
75. Stop putting things off.
When we put things off, it obviously does not go away. Instead, it weighs heavier on you—now you have two problems to deal with! Ease yourself of unnecessary stress and just get things done.
76. Set attainable daily goals.
So often, we set unattainable goals, then punish ourselves when we don’t achieve them. For example, you put 10 things on your to-do list, then you feel deflated and disappointed that you only did 3. You go to bed feeling like a failure, and maybe that mood transfers to the next day, too. Instead, what if you never put more than 3 things on your list? Then, if you complete all the tasks, or possibly get more than 3 done, you feel a sense of accomplishment and you go to bed happy.
Making these choices may seem simple and insignificant, but they are important because if you are constantly feeling like a failure because you can never achieve your goals, this may lead to lower self-esteem.
77. Spoil yourself.
Most of us have to adhere to a budget, but even so, we should spoil ourselves occasionally. This is not to suggest that you be irresponsible and go out on a shopping spree. Rather, spend a few extra dollars and buy the good ice cream, or your favorite lotion, or that scented candle you’ve wanted for weeks.
78. Do not allow negative thoughts.
Listen to what’s going on within your thoughts and deliberately silence the critics and pessimists. They are not allowed when you are loving yourself. Negative thoughts do not serve you. They make you feel bad, so don’t allow them in.
79. Experiment with new things.
We regret more the things we don’t do than the things we do. So, take a risk and go for it. Discover something new. Try something that you’ve always wanted to try. Your life will be richer if you have more experiences.
80. Meditate. If you can’t, learn how to.
It may take some time to find a meditation that works for you, but once you do, you will feel calmer and more serene. The evidence is clear and consistent—people who meditate regularly are happier and calmer.
81. Have faith in yourself.
You are capable of doing anything you put your mind to. Have faith that your plans will work out. You should be your own biggest supporter.
82. Do something special for yourself.
Do you have a favorite meal that you never make because you’re the only one in your family who likes it? Make it now! Or do you have a hobby that you’ve not been able to indulge in for years? Get back into it. You are as important as anyone else!
83. Schedule time for yourself.
Schedule some “me time” on your calendar. When life gets busy, the first thing to go is doing things for yourself, but it’s probably the most important to keep because taking time for yourself keeps you centered.
84. Appreciate the moments in your life.
You remembered to move the laundry from the washer to the drier – on the same day! This is cause for celebration! Take out the nice plates tonight, use cloth napkins, or burn that expensive candle. Do whatever you think will help you recognize the special moments in your life.
85. Call a friend.
Think back on how great it feels to hang out and talk to someone you like. You may not even be talking about anything specific, but it’s fun to shoot the breeze sometimes.
86. Set boundaries.
Be stingy with your time and energy. To avoid feeling overwhelmed, set boundaries. Time and energy are precious—they should be spent on things that really matter to you.
There is always so much to do, but you don’t have to do everything. Go through the tasks in your life and figure out what are the most important things that only you can do. For everything else, delegate. For example, you don’t have to mow the lawn. You could hire it out, or if you have kids who are old enough, you can teach them how to do it. This lightens your load and frees you up to do the things that you’d rather do.
88. Create space for yourself.
Find or create a spot for yourself where you can be by yourself. Here you could read, meditate, dance as if no one is watching, or whatever. It is your spot where you can find peace and privacy.
89. Create time for solitude.
Schedule alone time for quiet reflection. We always have so much to do and there always seems to be a sense of overwhelm. Calm down and take some time to think about your goals, your dreams, your life.
90. Use a habit tracker.
Developing healthy habits takes time and persistence. Using a habit tracker is very helpful because you can easily track how often you’re doing what you are supposed to do. You can create a habit tracker in a bullet journal or a day planner, or use an app on your phone.
91. Honor your natural cycles.
Pay attention to your energy levels. When are you most productive? When are you feeling sluggish? Figure out your natural cycles and plan your days accordingly.