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cultivate self care
Health

The 7 Best Ways to Cultivate Self-Care & Self-Love

/ June 2, 2022

Have you been taking care of yourself lately? Self-care is one of the most important aspects of life, but it can be difficult to know how to practice self-care correctly.

In this article, we’ll discuss why self-care is so important and offer some methods and tips on how to practice self-care in your own life. We’ll also talk about how to love yourself and forgive yourself for your mistakes. 

It’s important to serve others, but how can we expect to do that fully if we’re so drained of care ourselves? Learning to accept and care for yourself is essential to living a happy life, so let’s get started!

So, Why Is Self-Care Important?

Simply put, self-care is the process of taking care of yourself. It includes things like getting enough sleep every night and eating healthy foods throughout the day (instead of just snacking on junk food). Self-care also involves mental health activities such as meditation or journaling to help manage stress levels and negative thoughts about oneself.

It can be stressful trying to take care of others while also taking care of yourself. You might feel overwhelmed, especially if you have children or a job that requires lots of attention from time to time. The truth is, self-care is important for everyone — not just parents or professionals working with kids — because we all need some self-love in order to stay healthy and happy! Without practicing self-care, we can easily find ourselves approaching burnout — a place where we’re so exhausted and tired that we feel like doing nothing. 

What Are Some Ways to Practice Self-Care?

There are many ways to practice self-care, but we will go over the most popular methods in this article. It’s important that you find what works best for you and stick to it!

#1: Get enough sleep: Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. Without enough sleep, all kinds of things begin to happen to your brain and body.  Your ability to focus goes down, your stress level goes up, and it can all turn into a big mess quickly. Consider going to bed and waking up at the same time each day so your body can get into a routine. If you have a smartwatch or smartphone, you can easily measure the hours of sleep you get per night as a way to keep you on track. 

#2: Eat healthy foods: Eating unhealthy foods can lead to feeling bloated and groggy, affecting your mood and energy levels. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body. Make sure to get plenty of fruits and vegetables every day — and get creative with how you prepare them! Of course, it’s not bad to treat yourself to a fun dessert every once in a while, but making sure to get your body good nutrition will set you up for a long and healthy life.

#3: Commit to exercise: Get up, get outside and take a walk around the block or go for a jog. The fresh air will do wonders for your body as well as your mind. Also, exercise is scientifically proven to have a positive effect on your mood. It’s true! When you exercise, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine, which is responsible for lightening your mood and making you feel happy. So get moving — you’ll be glad you did.

#4: Unplug from technology: At least an hour before bed, try to stay away from your cellular and desktop devices. For some, this may be the easiest, and for others, this may be the most difficult, but it’s incredibly important to successful self-care. Our phones are full of distractions, and when news stories, videos, and the latest social media trends are all rattling around in our heads, it can be almost impossible to calm down and get the rest we need. Consider turning your phone off or leaving it in another room at night. By limiting your screen time close to bedtime, you can significantly increase your chances of getting the rest you need.

At least an hour before bed, try to stay away from your cellular and desktop devices.

#5: Practice meditation: Find a place in your home where you can have some quiet time and meditate. Meditation is known to decrease anxiety, lower blood pressure and improve sleep quality — and it doesn’t have to involve an expensive yoga class or any special tools. All you need is a place where you can sit quietly, take some deep breaths, and focus on what’s truly important to you. You can choose a mantra to repeat to yourself, or, if you like to journal or pray, you can bring those things into your meditation practice too. 

#6: Spend time with friends or family: Spending time with those who make us happy will help us feel better about ourselves! Make sure to spend at least half an hour a day talking to the people who love you.

#7: Listen to/play music: Listening to or playing music is a great way to relieve stress and have fun! Music can help us feel less alone when we’re down in the dumps. Play an instrument, sing along to your favorite song, or do whatever works for you. If music isn’t your thing, consider pursuing a creative activity, such as freewriting or painting. You’ll be surprised by how much you get along with yourself and how much more open and free you’ll be after tapping into your inner child.

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How Do You Love Yourself Well?

Why is it so hard to love ourselves sometimes?

Because we’re often our biggest critics. Too often, we constantly compare ourselves to others and wish we had what they had. Maybe you wish you were as athletic as your friends, or maybe you wish you were talented at public speaking. Whatever your insecurities are, they’re often the biggest things blocking us from true self-love

You love yourself by accepting who you are, even if it’s not perfect or ideal. When we can see the beauty in ourselves, others will too! There is no need to change anything about your physical appearance just because someone else thinks so — it’s more important that YOU feel comfortable and confident with how much makeup you use or how many layers of clothing you wear.

You love yourself by being kind to that inner, critical voice. When you hear negative self-talk creeping in, stop it in its tracks. Replace it with positive affirmations like “I am beautiful” or “I can do anything today.” Try spending time around people who lift you up and make you feel good about yourself as well. When you surround yourself with positive people who want the best for themselves and others, you will have a strong support system to help guide your way.

You also love yourself by learning what you love. Take the time to discover your passion. If you’re not sure what that is, try new things and find something that makes you happy and fills you up. Whether it be racquetball or poetry, discovering your passion can light up your life and give you an increased sense of purpose and belonging. Once you know what your passion is, do everything in your power to go after it. Shoot for the stars and be proud of all that you accomplish!

Lastly, you love yourself by taking care of your body. This means eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough rest, and avoiding unhealthy substances like drugs or heavy alcohol. It’s not about being the thinnest or the most muscular — it’s about treating your body well and maintaining good health. 

How Do You Forgive Yourself and Practice Self-Acceptance?

Forgiving yourself can be a difficult process. First, you have to admit fault and accept responsibility for your actions, which may be unpleasant or even painful at first. Maybe you unintentionally hurt your partner’s feelings, or you talked behind your friend’s back. The truth is, we’re all capable of doing bad things — what’s important is that we realize our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, and then forgive ourselves so we can move on.  

Forgiving yourself is a huge element of self-care. If you’re your own worst critic, why not give yourself the love and attention you deserve?

If you’re your own worst critic, why not give yourself the love and attention you deserve?

For example: You could go on a diet and start eating healthy. You can say that you won’t eat any sugar except on the weekends. You do a really good job for the first few weeks, but then on a Wednesday, your friend brings back your favorite dessert of all time! It will expire and won’t be good if you wait to eat it until the weekend, so you decide to indulge.

Now that you’ve broken your promise to start eating healthy, it’s easy to criticize yourself immediately. Instead, forgive yourself for indulging and celebrate that you went three weeks without eating any sugar. That’s a great accomplishment and a great first step to eating healthy! If anything, this might lead you to set a goal for yourself to not eat any sugar except on the weekends for four weeks. You will be surprised by how much you can accomplish when you forgive yourself, accept your accomplishments and who you are, and strive to be better every day.

Don’t be afraid to forgive yourself for the big things, either. Maybe you were a bad friend or sibling at a certain time in your life. It’s important to forgive yourself for those big mistakes too. By forgiving yourself, you give yourself the opportunity to heal, grow, and avoid making the same mistakes in the future. It’s not easy, but it’s essential for a happy and healthy life. If you’re struggling with feelings of guilt and shame, reach out to a counselor or therapist — they’re there to help you!

What Are Some Self-Care Activities to Help You Love Yourself?

If you’re struggling to love yourself, know that you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are a few activities that you can engage in to help improve your self-image and relationship with yourself!

Journaling: Journaling is a great way to vent out how you feel, as well as reflect on what has happened in your life. It allows for introspection that would otherwise be difficult without journaling. Often, we are so busy throughout the day that we forget the good moments we’ve experienced. Journaling can provide an overview of how your day actually went and the amazing goals you accomplished, as opposed to the last lingering emotions at the end of the day.

 It can also help you to process whatever you’ve felt during the day. We remember things much better when we write them down, so when you journal about your experiences and feelings, you have the opportunity to remember your reactions, meditate on them, and discover new avenues for growth.

Inquire: Ask others what they love about you! Sometimes, we just see our imperfections, our failures, and the ways we struggle, but seeing yourself from someone else’s perspective can change how you view yourself. Asking others what they love about you can show you that you have so many strengths and positive qualities! Be sure to share what you love about the other person too, and build them up. 

Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins, which are mood boosters. A good workout can leave you feeling accomplished and happy. You can exercise with others as well, but just make sure that in the end, your goal is to care for yourself — so don’t do anything that you wouldn’t normally do.

Here’s to Taking Care of Yourself and Loving Yourself Well! 

At the end of the day, you should strive to be comfortable with who you are so you can live a happy, healthy life. You don’t need to have the perfect body or be the best at everything. You are enough, just as you are. Practice self-acceptance and love yourself for all of your quirks and flaws. And remember, it’s okay to make mistakes because that’s how you learn and grow!

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