Self-love is an important part of self-care. When you’re ready to reset and recharge, you can use these tips as inspiration to love yourself more.
The concept of self-love is simple: it just means valuing and caring for your own needs, wants, and desires. It isn’t about being selfish. It’s about making sure you have time to recharge to have the energy and resources to be there for others.
As airlines like to remind us, it’s important to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others do the same. Because if you run out of air, it becomes a lot harder to help anyone, including yourself.
There are so many ways to practice self-love — the options truly are limitless. It may start with self-care and self-respect.
If you’re looking for some ideas to get started, these are some great first steps towards loving yourself.
1. Plan your escape
It’s not uncommon to feel drained when you’re constantly working to meet the needs of others — especially when you’re a caregiver. And when those others (kids, for example) live in your house, it can be difficult to find time for self-love.
That’s why taking breaks from those who rely on you most can be so beneficial when you’re learning self-love.
Maybe that means a night at a local hotel (just you) to watch a movie, sleep in, and eat uninterrupted. Or it could be lunch by yourself with a good book and no one requesting anything of you.
2. Book a therapy session
Taking care of your mental health is one of the best things you can do to show self-love.
Finding a therapist you trust can help you identify areas where you’d like to improve your mental health and create strategies for working toward that. In therapy, you can learn to love yourself more effectively.
3. Spend time in nature with those you love
Fresh air is often therapeutic, and outdoor adventures with the people you love can put a smile on your face. You might plan a hike with a romantic partner, or maybe a bike ride with your kids.
Looking to learn more about the benefits time in nature can have on mental health? Here’s a deeper dive.
4. Adopt a pet
Shelters are full of pets in need of loving homes, and the unconditional love we get from our furry family members can be a true mood booster.
If you can’t adopt right now, volunteering could also be a good option. Even spending time at a pet store, an adoption agency, or with a friend’s fur baby can be comforting.
Giving yourself these peaceful and joyful moments is an effective way to love yourself.
5. Fill your home with things that make you smile
Home should be your safe place, your sanctuary. Consider filling yours with what brings you joy, whether it’s live plants, pictures of happy memories, or art you love to look at.
6. Go screen free
Take a break from your screens and put your phone into “do not disturb” mode. No notifications, no outside noise, and no distractions could equal peace of mind and self-love.
7. Give yourself permission to say ‘no’
You can’t be everything to everyone, and it’s hard to give anything your best if you’re constantly trying to do it all. When you practice saying “no,” it allows you to take on what you can handle. This is a great way to respect and love yourself more.
If you’re not in the habit of telling people “no,” it can feel challenging and even anxiety-inducing. Here are some tips for getting started.
Still, if you need to say “yes” to someone, you can say it and put limits or boundaries in place. For example, you could say, “Yes, you can come over at 1 p.m., but I’ll need you to leave at 3 p.m.”
8. Eat alone
Especially for parents who often have little ones stealing from their plates, taking time to eat alone — whether it’s a coveted dessert or a full-course menu — means you don’t have to share with anyone.
Mindful eating is one way to make mealtime feel that much more rejuvenating. Here are some quick steps to practice mindfulness while you eat:
- Minimize and set aside distractions, like the TV or your phone.
- Take some time to breathe in the scent of your meal. What herbs or spices do you smell?
- Enjoy your food one bite at a time, and enjoy the flavors you might often be too busy to notice.
If you want more info on mindful eating, this
9. Read a book
It’s easy to convince ourselves that we don’t have time for this simple pleasure, but reading can serve as such a great escape. Even just allowing yourself one chapter a night can be an act of self-love.
Research backs up the practice of reading for mental health. For example, one
10. Carve out time for exercise
Research has found countless benefits (both mental and physical) to daily exercise. It’s not necessary to push yourself too hard, and
It’s common to feel that the motivation to exercise just isn’t there, even if you initially wanted to. If you’d like to make exercise a habit but feel like lack of motivation is getting in your way, here’s some info that could help.
11. Lock the door
If you have a partner or kids who tend to misunderstand what closed doors mean, it’s OK to lock yourself into the bathroom for your daily shower — you deserve that uninterrupted time. Alone time is a way to love yourself more.
12. Remind yourself of your worth
We’ve all caught ourselves in negative self-talk from time to time, but what if you made a concerted effort to lift yourself up? If you need reminders to do so, you can leave notes around the house that point out what you love best about yourself.
Here’s 5 tips to improve your self-talk if you’d like a deeper dive.
It can be hard to spend money on ourselves, especially during times of financial strain. But small (and occasional) splurges can help us all smile a little more. This could be as simple as a fancy coffee or the face wash you wouldn’t usually allow yourself to buy.
Research suggests spending more time meditating could improve your mental health in the long term.
One way to begin: Find a comfortable and quiet place to sit for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breath, heartbeat, and the positive goals you have for the day.
For more meditation tips and resources, consider checking out:
- Meditation for Beginners
- The 6 Best Meditation Apps in 2021
- How to Do Present Moment Awareness Meditation
15. Make time for the little things
Learning self-love is sometimes as simple as clipping your nails, putting on a full face of makeup, or shaving your face (if it’s something that makes you happy).
16. Organize your space
If you get stressed by clutter, consider making time to clean up and reap the benefits of a clutter-free zone. If you don’t have the time and can afford to do so, you might give yourself permission to hire someone to do this for you.
17. Ask for what you need
Tell the people you love when you need help, or time, or space.
18. Pamper yourself
A haircut or massage could help you relax. If you’re on a budget, you could treat yourself to an at-home face mask, DIY pedicure, or at-home massage.
19. Set boundaries
You’re allowed to draw your own personal lines and stick to them. You don’t owe people explanations or the chance to negotiate.
Here’s 10 ways to build better boundaries if you’re looking for more info.
Take some time to write down things you’re grateful for, the goals you hope to accomplish, or a list of things that bring you joy. You can write out your frustrations and disappointments as well. Sometimes putting our thoughts to paper can be one of the most healing things we can do.
If you’ve always wanted to get into journaling but aren’t sure how to start, these journaling prompts could help.
21. Take a bath
Loving yourself sometimes comes with some candles, dimmed lights, and Epsom salts in warm water.
Your tub can be another great place to bring in some mindfulness. If you’re up for a mindfulness exercise while you soak, consider using all your senses to notice how the water feels, looks, and sounds.
22. Let yourself scroll
For some people, social media can become a time suck and source of constant frustration. For others, it can be an escape from the world and a few moments of mindless entertainment. If you’re the latter, give yourself the time to scroll without guilt.
23. Take a social media break
On the other hand, if you find yourself frustrated every time you log on, consider pausing or shutting down your social media accounts — temporarily or for good.
24. Plan a date
Quality time with the people we love can be truly regenerative. Plan a night out with friends or your significant other and focus on talking and enjoying that time together.
25. Dance it out
Put on your favorite music, open your windows, and get your body moving.
26. Schedule time for your hobby
Writing, painting, taking photos, completing puzzles — whatever your hobbies are, consider setting aside a block of time just for them. Loving yourself is doing those things that make your heart smile.
27. Conscious breathing
With one hand on your stomach and the other on your chest, feel the breath moving through your body. You can do this for just a few breaths or several minutes at a time. You can even take some time to focus on your breathing whenever you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
Here are some more breathing exercises if you’d like to keep going.
28. Set goals
We all have things we want to accomplish, but sometimes writing those things down and considering the steps necessary to achieve them can make those things suddenly seem more achievable and possible in our minds.
29. Try a new recipe
Even if you don’t love to cook, look up a recipe that sounds good to you and set aside some time to try your hand at it in a quiet house. For some people, following the steps (perhaps with a beverage of your choice) without the pressure of needing to feed others can be fun.
30. Honor your spiritual needs
For many people, spirituality is about what gives life meaning. To nurture your spiritual side, you might pick up a book on a spiritual topic that resonates with you or find a set of friends who share your spiritual views — whatever they may be.
31. Cry it out
Sometimes, we all just need to let our big emotions escape.
32. Pick up the phone
Call a friend or loved one and spend some time catching up.
Perhaps one of the most important forms of self-care, allowing yourself to get the sleep you need can help you feel your best.
If you want to learn more about how to promote good sleep, here are some extra tips.
It’s one thing to read a list of self-love tips, and it’s another to actually do any of the things on that list. When learning to love yourself again, it’s a good idea to pick out one of two things that seem doable and commit to them.
When it comes to self-care and self-love, there’s no right or wrong way to do it. It’s always OK to change things up if you decide one self-care approach isn’t serving you.