Self love can feel so elusive.
Whether it’s trying to figure out what it means to you or fumbling around with putting it into practice, it can be an overwhelming path of self-discovery.
For many people, self love is something that only really happens after you’ve made mistakes, failed at other things and generally hurt yourself along the way.
That doesn’t have to be your path.
I know it’s easy to just want to practise gratitude when things aren’t going your way, but practising self love means a lot more than just saying thank you for the things in your life.
Here are 17 ways you can practice showing yourself self love every day, regardless of life circumstances.
Table of Contents
17 Best Ways To Practice Self Love.
Once you’ve taken a moment to see how your body is doing, you can think about what it needs.
What makes your body feel good?
How can you give it what it needs today?
A great way to do this is through exercise.
Exercise not only feels good, but it also reduces stress and helps with depression.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that improve mood and have positive effects on the nervous system.
Endorphins also help with pain management by reducing the perception of pain.
Endorphins are associated with feelings of euphoria, so you may feel happier after exercising!
Research has shown that exercise is as effective or more effective than antidepressants for treating depression and anxiety disorders.
So when things start feeling heavy again, put on your gym shoes and get moving!
2. Drink plenty of water
The world is full of information on why water is good for you, but here’s a quick recap:
- Hydration helps with weight loss.
- Staying hydrated can improve your mood and brain function.
- Drinking more water may help prevent headaches.
- Water flushes out toxins and reduces blemishes on your skin.
How much do you need to drink? It depends on your height, gender, how active you are and what climate you’re in.
The Mayo Clinic recommends about 15 cups for men and 11 for women per day.
If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry—it doesn’t have to come from drinking alone!
You can get some of it from watery foods like melon or cucumbers, which are also high in other nutrients ( plus such foods are a great way to give your metabolism a boost).
3. Get enough sleep
Sleep is a requirement for good health, yet many people don’t get enough of it.
Adults should aim to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night, but the number differs from person to person.
Some people need less, others need more.
What matters most is that you learn what’s right for you and stick to your schedule consistently.
While some people argue that quantity does not matter as much as the quality of sleep, we think that both are equally important.
Getting a full eight hours every night and waking up feeling fully rested will enable you to function better throughout your day than if you were awake all night but slept in until noon.
So if you’re having trouble getting enough zzz’s, here are some tips for better sleep hygiene:
- Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m., particularly on weekdays—and especially with alcohol! Both substances can interfere with falling asleep at a reasonable hour, so try cutting out one or both in the afternoon and evening if they have become an obstacle between you and your sleep time goals.
- Get on a consistent sleep schedule—and stick with it! Going to bed at the same time every night will help retrain your body’s internal clock so that falling asleep becomes easier each night.
In fact, any form of consistency helps; whether your goal is establishing or re-establishing healthy sleeping habits or improving other areas of self-care like diet or exercise, consistency is key!
4. Eat healthy food
Let’s say you’re in a long-term relationship—with yourself.
You need to date yourself, spend time alone with yourself, and make sure you take care of your body. Healthy food is a great place to start when it comes to taking good care of yourself.
Eat colourful foods: When we say colourful foods, we don’t mean Skittles or Fruit Roll-Ups—stick to natural foods that are red, yellow, orange, green and blue/purple (depending on the colour).
When you eat these foods not only does it help support your immune system but also helps detoxify cells and maintain healthy cell growth for energy production.
Eat whole grains: Whole grains provide important nutrients such as fibre and selenium that can help lower the risk of heart disease.
Eating whole grains also provides other nutrients such as B vitamins which can boost energy levels so you feel more energized throughout the day!
5. Take a break from social media
Take a break from social media.
As much as we love connecting with friends and making new connections on social media, scrolling endlessly can be exhausting and even exhausting.
Take a break!
Set aside time for yourself to do something that doesn’t involve looking at your phone or computer screen.
Try going outside and leaving your phone at home. You could also just turn off all of your notifications and keep your phone away while you read a book or cook dinner.
- Go on an adventure with friends!
Travelling to new places is always exciting, but it doesn’t have to be out of the country or the state in order to explore somewhere new.
There are so many amazing things that you can discover right around where you live if you look hard enough! (Don’t forget to bring some bottles of water!)
6. Get outside more often
Get outside more often.
While you are working on loving yourself, take a moment to enjoy the great outdoors.
The fresh air can do wonders for your mind, body, and spirit.
Studies show that exercising in nature produces greater health benefits than exercising indoors, so get outside any way you can: hiking, biking, swimming, walking—the options are endless!
For those who work inside all day and don’t have time for a hike during lunch hour or after work, spend some time outside on weekends.
If you know most of your weekdays will be spent cooped up inside an office or other building, plan a weekend camping trip or visit a national park that’s farther away from where you live.
You’ll be glad you did!
Of course, it is important to protect yourself while spending time outdoors.
Be sure to apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 before stepping outside (and remember to reapply every two hours).
Don’t forget protective gear like hats and sunglasses if you run or bike often in direct sunlight.
Finally, make sure you get enough vitamin D each day; the sunshine helps your body produce this essential nutrient.
7. Learn to say no without guilt
People-pleasing can be a dangerous habit.
It is especially difficult to say no when you are used to placating people, especially those in positions of authority.
The key is to be cognizant of your limits and the risks of overextending yourself then be prepared for any negative reactions you might encounter.
Here are some ways that people have said no without guilt:
- “I’m sorry, but I just don’t have the bandwidth for that right now.”
- “Unfortunately, I won’t be able to contribute as much as I’d like.”
- “I don’t think I’m the best person for this project, but why don’t you try asking X?”
8. Practice mindfulness in everyday life
Practice mindfulness in everyday life.
You can practice mindfulness without becoming a monk, or even leaving your desk.
The first step is tuning into your emotions and thoughts and being aware of your surroundings.
There are many different ways to practice mindfulness, but one way is to sit silently for a few minutes each day and focus on the present moment.
Notice what you’re thinking about, the feelings those thoughts provoke and then let them go.
Notice any physical sensations like an itch on your nose or an ache in your back.
Don’t judge them—just acknowledge their existence and let them go as well.
If your mind wanders (and it will), bring it back to the present moment rather than judging yourself for getting distracted.
If you’re overwhelmed at work one day, try focusing on something simple like the feel of ink pen against paper or the pattern of light filtering through a window blind onto a wall instead of trying to solve whatever problem has left you feeling frazzled.
It only takes a few seconds to shift your attention from what’s stressing you out to something less stressful in order to calm down enough that you can get on with whatever needs doing next.*
9. Love yourself as you are right now
Love yourself as you are right now.
Make a list of all your strengths and weaknesses – don’t leave anything out.
Everyone has things they like about themselves, it may be something as simple as how friendly you are or that you’re really good at knitting!
If someone else were to write a list about you, what would go on it?
By accepting your weaknesses as well as your strengths, you can start to become more aware of who you really are and the type of person that is most important to make happy – YOU!
Be realistic with yourself.
Setting unrealistic goals is only going to lead to disappointment.
For example, if you want to lose weight, instead of trying to lose 5kg in a week which isn’t very healthy anyway, try losing 1-2kg per week instead.
It might take longer but the results will last so much longer than if you tried the 5kg per week route!
Don’t compare yourself with others.
This can be extremely difficult especially when there seems to be a never-ending stream of pictures on social media showing off other people’s amazing lives or perfect bodies!
But remember each individual is unique and everyone has their own special qualities so don’t despair over comparing yourself with people online because it just isn’t worth it!
Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
Mistakes are inevitable but it doesn’t mean they define us – we all have them whether large or small and this is ok!
We learn from our mistakes and make sure we do better next time 🙂
10. Forgive yourself
Forgive them. Forgive yourself. Forgive others.
Forgiveness is such a powerful tool for self-love, but it’s also one of the hardest to wield.
We all make mistakes and hurt ourselves and other people unintentionally, but holding onto those mistakes will only hold you back from living your best life and embracing your true value.
Allow yourself to forgive the people who have wronged you, forgive yourself for hurting others or doing wrong to your body and mind, and forgive others even before they ask you to – we’re all humans trying to do our best in this world.
The past is the past; don’t let it control your present any longer than you need it to!
11. Treat yourself the way you treat others
Treat yourself the way you treat others.
We all have quirks that drive our friends and family crazy, but we shouldn’t let them define us.
Don’t let your mind tell you that you’re a terrible person because you have a habit of forgetting names/making up stories about your life to avoid awkward situations/taking on too many extracurriculars at once/whatever it may be.
Cut yourself some slack, because if the roles were reversed and somebody else had those same tendencies, you would still recognize their worth as a valuable member of society.
Be aware of your accomplishments.
Some people find this easier than others (introverts tend to struggle with this), but make sure to acknowledge when you’ve done something well for yourself!
Giving compliments is important for uplifting others, but also for reminding ourselves how much we can achieve when we put our minds to it.
12. Finish what you started
If you don’t complete your goals and just quit, you won’t grow.
You need to find ways to keep pushing yourself and make those goals happen.
So how do you learn to push through when things get tough?
It starts with consistency, which can be the hard part for many of us because it takes time to create new habits.
Here are some ways to start creating a routine that will help you finish everything that needs to be done:
Start by creating a detailed checklist for your day.
If you have lots of chores or work tasks, break them down into smaller pieces so that they seem more manageable.
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish everything in one day—if there are leftover items on your list, move them automatically to the next day’s list without thinking twice about it.
Do this until all of your tasks become second nature.
13. Take care of your body
Take care of your body.
Taking care of your body is a loving act, especially when you listen to what your body needs and respect those signals from yourself.
This might mean going to the bathroom when you have to go, or washing your hands after using the toilet or before eating something. It also means making sure you eat enough healthy food and drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and take care of your skin and hair.
14. Spend time doing things that make you happy
Spend time doing things that make you happy.
You know what makes you happy, but are you spending enough time in those activities?
Do you make time to read books or draw because they help you to relax and lift your spirits?
Is it important for you to spend time with your pets?
Whatever it is that makes you happy, spend some quality time with it each day.
Don’t feel guilty about taking time for yourself. Self-love often means putting yourself first. However, many people have a sense of guilt when they practice self-love because they feel like they should be attending to the needs of others instead. A good way to deal with this guilt is by reminding yourself that practising self-love helps you become a better version of yourself and allows you to give even more love to the people around you.
Happiness is not a destination; it is a state of mind.
Remember that happiness is not something far-fetched and unreachable – it will take some effort on your part, but happiness does not have to be always somewhere else in the future, on another level of success or security or freedom from problems: happiness can be here and now, if only we choose so.
15. Set some personal goals and work towards them
There’s nothing like the feeling of achieving a personal goal.
You’re just sitting there, minding your own business, and all of a sudden you realize that you’ve done something you set out to do.
Maybe it’s working out every morning for a month straight or running a marathon or losing some pesky weight.
Whatever it is, when we achieve our goals, we feel amazing about ourselves—and everyone else notices too.
To be successful at practising self-love in this manner, make sure that your goals are SMART:
specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
For example: By January 1st of next year I will have saved $1,000 towards my down payment on my rental property by contributing $100 per month to my savings account.”
16. Develop a positive mantra to repeat to yourself every day
Developing a positive mantra for yourself can also be a great way to practice self-love.
It helps you stay away from negative thoughts and is something you can do every day to help keep yourself motivated and focused on the positive.
If you’re not sure where to start, first decide which area of your life you want to focus on.
Is it positive thinking? Self-motivation? Self-esteem?
Once you’ve chosen, write down a few things about yourself that fall into that category.
For example, if you’re working on building self-esteem, include things like “I am intelligent and creative” or
“I have an amazing sense of humour.”
If your goal is mostly self-motivation, write something along the lines of “Today I will accomplish x task and then reward myself with y treat.”
Another option is to use an inspirational quote as your daily mantra, such as: “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” -Maya Angelou
You could even choose something more specific, like: “It doesn’t matter how many times I fail at my goals; what matters is how many times I try again without giving up.” -Bob Proctor
Your mantra should be unique to you and what your goals are at the moment. Try starting each day with it or use it throughout the day to remind yourself of what you are trying to achieve.
17. You can motivate yourself without being mean to yourself
You’re probably familiar with the harsh self-talk so many of us use to try to motivate ourselves.
It sounds like, “If you don’t lose those last ten pounds, you’ll never get a boyfriend!” or
“You should be ashamed of yourself for missing that deadline!”
But as it turns out, being mean to ourselves doesn’t work if we’re trying to achieve our goals—even when the goals are things we really want, like losing weight or landing our dream job.
The good news is that there are better ways.
We don’t have to berate ourselves in order to achieve what we want in life.
Instead, we can feel good about our progress without being too easy on ourselves or feeling guilty when we hit a bump in the road.
And by taking these kinds of steps toward a healthier way of thinking about and achieving our goals, we’ll also be practising some self-love.
It’s probably clear by now that the best advice one can give you is don’t worry too much about ‘getting it right.’
Just try as many of these ideas as you can, making sure to pick those that feel right for you and your situation.
You will have no shortage of ideas on how to practice self-love, and hopefully, this article has given you a good start.
Integrating these ideas into your own life can take time and practice, which is why I like to think of this list as a ‘work in progress.’
When life throws us curves, we need to be ready to adjust our bases, but often the first step is simply taking off the training wheels.
Do not forget to share with your friends.