We're often told to practice self-love and self-care, but it’s rare that we’re given practical advice on how to actually do it.
I’ve shared the following 13 tools with hundreds of my clients who are looking to transform their relationship with themselves. If you’re open and willing, they really work.
Take what you like and leave what you don’t. See what works for you. I've watched all of these tips shift people's energy and help them shape healthy practices of self-love and self-care.
1. Set an intention for the day.
When you wake up in the morning, write your intention down or say it to yourself first thing. For example, “My intention for today is to do my best for where I am now because I know I’ll feel good about it later.” This will set your day’s tone. (Here are a few more examples of positive intentions to drive your day.)
2. Meditate, just for two minutes.
Spend just two or 10 minutes a day in a calm space, quiet your mind, and notice your breath. The practice of meditation allows you to focus on your present so you can be more mindful in the moment and make the best choices for you.
3. Use mantras and affirmations.
You can recenter yourself with mantras and affirmations during any moment of the day when you start to feel “off,” or like you want to treat yourself unkindly. Make sure that what you’re saying feels true to you — telling yourself a lie in hopes it will make you feel better never works. A few of my favorite mantras are:
- “I am open to possibility.”
- “I am grateful for my struggles for they have shown me strength.”
- “I choose to let love in and fear out,” and “I’m choosing to grow with grace.”
4. Hone a 10-second breathing routine.
Instantly calm, re-center, and ground yourself by breathing in for 10 full seconds, holding your breath for the next 10 seconds, and slowly exhaling for 10 seconds after that. Repeat three to five times.
5. Start gratitude journaling.
Every morning or evening, take the time to simply write down one to five things you’re grateful for that day. A journaling practice will shift your perspective and help you find the good in your routine. (Want some more info on how to make gratitude journaling work for you? Read this.)
6. Write down one thing you love about you.
Once you finish your gratitude post, record a few things you appreciate about yourself and your body that day. Keep this practice simple so you actually do it! It doesn't require more than a bullet point or two.
7. Set an intention for your meal.
How do you want to show up for your meal? With grace? With the intention to honor your hunger and fullness? With the ability to simply taste your food and stop worrying about calories? Whatever comes up for you, set an intention for it. I promise that when you do, you’ll show up to your food in a newly mindful way that serves you and your health. (Mindful eating is important. Here's how to make it work for you.)
8. Find ways to move your body that you actually enjoy.
If you’re having a hard time with this, think about what you used to do as a child and brainstorm how you can bring those moves into your life now. When you move your body out of love, you'll connect with yourself in a more meaningful way and you won't dread exercise nearly as much. (Here are a few kid-approved exercises that you can try.)
9. Tune into the way you talk to yourself.
If you wouldn’t talk to a friend to speak like that to you, don't speak like that to yourself. Try and remind yourself to reframe your self-talk so it contains more positive mantras and affirmations. (These mantras will help you soften up your self-talk.)
10. Close your eyes and see yourself living your best life.
Once you do, think about how you feel when you're there. Let that feeling fill you up with light and warmth, and keep moving forward in a way that serves that ultimate ideal. (Another way to bring your dreams to life? Vision boards.)
11. Change your space.
Whether you're completing a difficult task, feeling tired and bored with your surroundings, or just need to change your energy, change your space. Go for a walk, call a friend, check your email, read a book, do something that makes you feel good. Only return once you're in a better state of mine.
12. Practice forgiveness.
Are you directing anger at someone or beating yourself up? Let it go, forgive and move on. Struggle is the only way to learn, so use it as an opportunity for self-love and growth. Choosing to forgive others doesn’t mean you need to agree with their actions, but it means you’re cutting negative cords so you can move on with your own life. Tell yourself that you are forgiving so that you can open up space to travel forward in your own journey.
13. Recall the positive.
When you feel like you've failed, it's easy to label yourself a failure. Recognize that this is just a feeling and it'll pass. And recall all the amazing things you've accomplished and contributed to. Quiet that inner voice, and remember that you've felt like this before and you’ll get past it again. Always remember: you're never given more than you can handle.
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