Taking time for your own self-care is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself, for those closest to you, and for your community. Once you are able to love and accept yourself unconditionally, that love eventually pours out to others in an authentic and loving way.
In the case of an emergency on a plane, you are told to put on your own oxygen mask first before you assist others. That is because you will not be of any help to anyone else if you run out of oxygen. The same is true in other areas of life. Loving yourself is the first step to loving others. When we care for ourselves first and make our own needs a priority, we are better able to help those around us. Here are 20 ways to love yourself more:
- Make sleep a priority in your life. Make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, or the amount of sleep your body needs to wake up refreshed. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, here are some tips to help you get the sleep you need.
- Drink more water. Water is required by every cell of the body and it keeps every part of your body working properly. Do you get the amount of water your body needs? Guidelines for the amount of water you should drink every day are controversial and vary depending on the weight, gender, and level of activity of each individual, but the old standby of 64 oz per day is still a popular recommendation.
- Take a yoga class. Yoga is a fantastic tool to help improve your health in body, mind, and spirit. In addition to improving your flexibility, building muscle strength, and perfecting your posture, yoga can help you in so many different ways.
- Go for a walk outside. Go with a friend, go with your dog, or go by yourself. What is important is that you get out in the fresh air and reap the benefits of nature. Nature restores health. From the sun providing you with Vitamin D to the minerals in the rocks on the ground and everything in between, everything in nature is medicine!
- Observe one day of rest every week. On this day, you will do no work. Instead, you will take the time to slow down, relax, live in the present, enjoy time with your loved ones, and be grateful for all of the blessings surrounding you. Personally, I feel this practice is the best thing I have ever implemented in my life. It is not easy to do in this world that promotes busyness 24/7, but the rewards are many! Give it a try, and see what happens.
- Plan time for creativity. We were put on this earth to create. Whether you want to believe it or not, you ARE an artist. We all are. Whether you like to paint, sew, draw, write, take pictures, or create music, it is time to honor that artist within you and make the time to let yourself create. Ideally, it would be great if you could set aside some time every day, but if that is not possible, schedule time at least once a week to let your inner artist come out and play. Don’t worry, those things that you think you “should” be doing instead will still be there when you have finished. Try it. Schedule time on your calendar right now. You will thank yourself later. “Creativity is God’s gift to us. Using our creativity is our gift back to God.” ~Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
- Embrace your uniqueness. Accept yourself exactly as you are. Recognize that you were born with the personality traits needed to help you fulfill your purpose here. Nobody else is here for the same exact purpose as you, so there is no need to compete or compare yourself to anyone else. Although our society praises some traits over others, know that your personality traits are not weaknesses. Learn to accept and embrace what society defines as your “imperfections,” and use the natural gifts and talents you have to help make the world a better place.
- Take a Real Food Challenge. You will be surprised at how much energy you will have. 100 Days of Real Food is a fantastic resource for some great real-food recipes!
- Practice Gratitude. View every encounter and experience as a gift. Even the seemingly bad situations are a gift in the end. Try to recognize and appreciate these gifts every day. Think of three things you are grateful for RIGHT NOW. Keep a gratitude journal.
- Move your body. In any way you wish. Find something you love to do, and do it! Dancing, cleaning, walking, gardening, hiking, or swimming are just a few examples, but it could be any activity you enjoy. The important thing is that you get up and get moving.
- Surround yourself with those who love, support, encourage, and inspire you. Be kind to everyone at all times, but spend the majority of your time with like-minded, positive people. Let go of draining friendships, stop hanging out with people who are negative or those who spend their time gossiping and complaining, and do not tolerate disrespect from anyone.
- Practice doing one thing at a time. Do not multitask. Do one thing at a time, give it your all, and be fully present in everything you do. Heaven on Earth happens in the moments when you are fully present. I know this isn’t easy to do. Especially if you are the primary caretaker of a young child who requires your care 24/7, I recognize that you NEED to multitask. I’ve been there. But even a few minutes of focused presence can make a big difference.
- Learn something new. Make the time to learn something new that interests you. Were you always interested in learning how to decorate cakes or Irish Step Dance, but you never found the time? You need to MAKE the time. Take one step toward that today. Get a book at the library, watch a You Tube video related to your interest, or sign up for a class. Get out your calendar now and schedule some time to do this. You will thank yourself later! 🙂
- Keep a journal. You may be surprised at some of the insights that go into it. The wisdom is all inside of you. You just need to take the time to be still and let it flow. Writing in a journal can also be very therapeutic and help you to release some of your worries and fears.
- Forgive. Let go of all bitterness you have toward others. It is not hurting them at all. It only hurts you, and the longer you hold onto it, the longer it eats away at you. If you don’t let it go, eventually those emotional issues can manifest into physical illness in your body. Choose to set yourself free and forgive everyone now, including yourself. Remember, everyone is just doing the best they can with what they have in the moment.
- Practice Mindful Eating. How often do you eat while doing other things? If you’re like me, it is most of the time. I find myself eating while I work or while I drive to save myself time and increase my productivity, and as a result I end up eating more than I realize because I’m busy doing other things. I think a lot of health issues our society faces today are due to an unhealthy relationship with food, and I believe mindful eating could help with that. When you eat mindfully, this means you are sitting down at the table and doing nothing else but focusing on the food you are eating. The television is not on, you aren’t working or checking your phone or e-mails. If you want to appreciate your food more and enjoy it more fully, give mindful eating a try.
- Say no. And don’t feel guilty about it. When you do anything out of guilt or obligation, that is not acting in a loving way. Be honest with yourself and others. Your time is precious, and it must be guarded fiercely and spent only on those things that are important to you.
- Spend some time in silence every day. Meditate. Pray. Write. Create. Do whatever it is that helps you to be still and listen. God speaks to you in the silence. Recognize that downtime is never wasted time. Downtime is necessary to help you to develop your most important relationships of all – with yourself and with God.
- Stop trying to be perfect. In this physical world, there is no such thing as perfect. Just do the best you can, have a positive attitude, and view every mistake as a learning experience. Every mistake you have ever made in your life has helped to shape you into the person you are today. Recognize that as a gift!
- Plan your days, but not your life. Remember, you do not set the master plan for your life. Make daily to-do lists to help keep yourself on track and improve your productivity, but stay flexible. Embrace distractions and view them as gifts. Everything is happening in its own perfect time, so stop trying to rush everything. Stop trying so hard and just let go and allow God to work through you.
BONUS idea: Take a Self-Love challenge. Get to know yourself, recognize your accomplishments, and learn to identify your goals and priorities and what is important to you at this point in your life. Learn to honor your time and achieve the balance in your life that you have been looking for.
For more ideas on how to love yourself more, or if you would like help implementing some of these ideas into your life, check out my book, The 31-Day Self-Love Challenge. The book expands upon many of these ideas and provides step-by-step guidance to help the readers implement them into their lives. 🙂
For more self-care tips and inspirational stories and quotes, please like my Facebook Page, Stacy Rancourt
What is YOUR favorite self-care tip? Please leave a comment below.