Self-love isn’t the easiest thing to attain in life. In fact, it can be one of the most challenging. Fortunately we can use self-care practices to cultivate self-love to transform our lives.
In a society where almost everyone is well-versed in self-criticism and self-hatred, it can be hard to learn how to cultivate love for ourselves. We’ve become a society that routinely practices shaming, blaming, dividing, separating, and invoking anger and hatred. No wonder we’ve got so many people anxious, chronically stressed, and depressed! Fortunately we can use self-care practices to cultivate self-love to transform our lives.
Targeted marketing and advertising constantly and subtly reinforces the lies that we aren’t ENOUGH: not pretty/handsome enough, not sexy enough, not smart enough, not successful enough….
If you don’t already know, let me be the first to tell you: these are all just LIES. Because You. Are. ENOUGH!
So how do you let go of the limiting self-beliefs?
How do you release the self-criticisms and the self-hatred you may be beating yourself up with everyday?
How do you get back to a place of loving yourself fully?
It all starts with looking at your routines and finding ways to incorporate more self-care and reinforce the love you have for yourself.
Because how you care for yourself tells you how much you love yourself.
If you neglect yourself, if you don’t care for yourself, you’re telling your mind/body/soul that it’s worth being neglected. The opposite is also true. The more you find time to devote to your self-care, the more you’re telling your mind/body/soul it is worthy of love… that YOU are LOVED.
It’s possible to use self-care practices to cultivate self-love, and I’m here to help you understand 7 easy but powerful ways you can practice it starting right now.
7 Self-Care Practices to Cultivate Self-Love
1. Get Rid of the Toxic Input
One of the greatest acts of self-love is to monitor what you’re being exposed to on a day-to-day basis. Cut out the toxicity! It’s important to be intentional about what you let into your energy space, your heart, and your mind.
Many of us struggle with self-love because we’ve let all the marketing, advertising, news feeds, etc get into our heads and hearts. Most media these days is riddled with toxicity, creating fear, shame, and blame. When you continuously engage in this media, be it your Instagram feed, Facebook page, or watching the news, you might be inadvertently allowing too much toxicity into your life.
So take inventory of what you’re exposing yourself to each day. Take an honest look at what is toxic, what is taking you away from self-love, and LET IT GO!
Let’s be honest, you probably cannot shield yourself 100% from all of this. But if you can clean it up 90% of the way — any small change is helpful! — and be more intentional about what you’re exposing yourself to, it will be an act of self-love that will greatly help you improve your mental and emotional health!
(A little extra tip on this one: if you’re surrounding yourself with toxic people who are only bringing you down, you have permission to consider getting rid of them too!)
2. Setup Boundaries for Technology Use
Are you one of those people who wakes up and the first thing you do is check your Instagram feed or Facebook page? Do you get started on work or personal emails in bed while you’re waking up? Maybe you’re falling asleep watching YouTube videos or the most recent binge-worthy series on Netflix?
If you said yes to any of those questions, then this tip is for you!
In our go-go-go society, we’ve become slaves to technology and immediate responses to everything. We’ve become addicted to ingesting media like movies, TV shows, and social media, very often to numb ourselves after an exhausting day. Sadly, these things are offering NO BENEFIT to you and are not self-loving practices.
Instead of binging on Netflix until you fall asleep or diving immediately into work emails before you even get out of bed in the morning, a good self-care practices to cultivate self-love is to set up boundaries for technology use.
There are a lot of benefits from ending the last hour of your day, and starting the first hour of your day WITHOUT technology. Yes, you heard me correctly. You can benefit from staying away from technology for at least 2 waking hours of your day.
We’re forgetting to connect back into OURSELVES. Limiting our connection to our phones/tablets/social media accounts/TV shows, we open up the space to reconnect, realign, and rediscover our loving nature.
How? First, you’ll be incorporating tip #1 with a break from negative advertising and marketing. Second, hopefully the remaining practices I share can inspire you and give you ideas of what you can do to fill your time with more self-love!
3. Move Your Body
MOVE YOUR BODY!
This one is pretty straight-forward. It doesn’t matter what you actually do to move your body, you just need to get it moving! As far as self-care practices to cultivate self-love go, it’s one of the most loving ways to care for yourself.
Sweating is an amazing way to clear out stress hormones from the body. So what makes you sweat?
You can dance to some music at home, go to the gym and take a fitness class, or do some hot yoga. Maybe you like riding your bike, or running, or hiking out on a trail. Whatever it is, you just need to MOVE!
The key here is to do something you enjoy! Something that is motivated out of enjoyment, out of love for the movement and your body. Not something you dread. If you dislike grinding through 30 minutes on an elliptical machine every day, don’t do that!
What brings you tons of enjoyment and gets you moving? All the feel-good endorphins you release and the results you’ll start to experience in your happiness and physical stamina will definitely increase the love you have for yourself.
Do you even know what it means to play anymore? When is the last time you scheduled time for play?
It’s important to honor our inner child’s needs and just have some freaking fun sometimes! When you do, it’s one of the most self-loving things you can include in your routine.
What does play look like for you? I encourage clients to think about what they liked to do when they were children. Did you like to draw or color? Maybe you enjoyed learning to play instruments? What about rollerblading or bike riding? How about some video games? Maybe you liked writing plays and acting them out with stuffed animals? (Hey, no judgement, it’s something I did as a kid!)
It doesn’t matter what play is for you; the key is it needs to be something you deeply enjoy and have fun with!
The path to success here is to make sure you’re making time for play, scheduling it, and committing to it. (Yes, committing to it!) This isn’t one of those “only if I have time” things. By honoring a commitment to yourself, you’re sending a message to yourself that you’re worth loving and committing to!
5. Upgrade Your Diet
Come on, I’m a Nutritionist: you knew this one was coming!
You are what you eat; and if you’re eating crappy, processed, nutrient-deficient junk food all the time, guess what? You’re going to feel crappy, fatigued, and junky all the time!
When you eat a nutrient-deficient diet and are constantly plowing junk food into your body, what do you think that is telling your body? Is it saying you LOVE it or that it’s an after-thought not worth the time, energy, or attention?
One of the best self-care practices to cultivate self-loves is to properly nourish your body each and every day!
I really can’t say that one enough. The benefits from this simple practice can literally change every part of your life.
You can really dig deep into this act of self-love by enrolling in one of my workshops or programs, but an easy way to start this self-care practice is to begin each day with a huge green smoothie.
Green smoothies are an awesome way to tell your body you are IN LOVE with it! Loaded with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and more, they’re nutrient-dense powerhouses that support your health physically, mentally, and when prepared mindfully as an act of self-love, emotionally and spiritually.
There are thousands of smoothies you can create for yourself (if you need ideas, remember I share loads of recipes in my Eat Healthy, Be Happy! Facebook Group.) My go-to ingredients tend to be a variety and combination of:
- Vegetables (Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, etc)
- Fruits (Blueberries, Blackberries, Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Banana, etc)
- Healthy Fats (Chia Seeds, Almond Butter, Coconut Oil, Peanut Butter, etc)
- Healthy Proteins (Vegan Protein Powder, Almond Butter, Hemp Seeds, etc)
- Superfood Boosts (Maca, Cacao, Moringa Powder, Greens Superfoods Powder, etc)
The key to the best green smoothies is to make it more healthy protein/fat/veggies than fruits. It’s best to limit fruit to less than 10-20% of your smoothie, depending on the veggies you choose. This helps to make sure you don’t spike your blood sugar.
As you upgrade your diet and get more nutrients into your body, you’ll start to feel more energetic, happy, and healthy. What a beautiful way to show your body/mind/soul how much you love it by creating all that energy and happiness!
6. Learn how to say NO
Do you find yourself saying yes just so you don’t hurt someone’s feelings? Are there days when you have things scheduled on your calendar you’d rather not do?
It’s time to learn the power of NO.
I’ve struggled with setting boundaries in the past, so this is one tip I’ve been working a lot on over this last year. Setting boundaries for ourselves and our own happiness is such an important self-loving practice! And it’s liberating to do too!
If you’ve made plans with someone, and on the day of you’re just not feeling it, you can cancel. It’s okay, you’re allowed to!
Don’t feel like enjoying another treacherous holiday celebration at the in-law’s house? Don’t go! You’re allowed to stay home or do something else.
Realize you’ve got toxic people and relationships in your life that are bringing you down? You can say no to those too!
If there is something in your life you’re feeling resistant to, something that maybe even makes your heart heavy when you say “yes,” you can change the response and say NO.
Yes, it’s true that life and our relationships are complicated. But you are allowed to fully honor all your needs, wants, and desires. If someone gives you pushback for being you and honoring yourself, maybe time to say no to that person too!
7. Schedule self-care practices to cultivate self-love into your calendar
Okay, so all of these things sound great, right? Pretty easy? But how are you going to be successful and make these self-care practices to cultivate self-love really stick?
Make time for them and schedule them in your calendar.
One of the best ways to propel positive change is to get specific about how you’re going to do it. Saying you’re going to play more and make time for play and movement all sounds great, but until you schedule it and execute it, you’re not giving yourself the full love you deserve!
All too often, people use the excuses “I don’t have enough time,” or “I’m too busy.” I get it. I’m busy, too! But any variation of that statement drives me crazy. It’s tough, but we are all able to manage our schedules. We get to choose how we spend our days and our time.
If you want to play more, make it a priority and put it in your calendar.
If you want to get to the gym 4 days a week for some fitness classes, sign-up for them, and add them to your calendar.
Want to love yourself with a green smoothie every morning? Set your alarm 15 minutes earlier, and make time to prepare it!
You get to decide here. The power’s in your hands. Would you prefer to stay anxious, stressed, and depressed? Do you really like struggling with fatigue and self-criticism every day?
Or would you rather feel more energetic, feel more loving toward yourself, and have a deep sense of peace and calm that pours over into everything you do?
That’s what I thought 😉
The Process Takes PRACTICE
Like the name implies: self-care PRACTICES 😉
No one is expecting you to wake up one morning and have all of this down. You’re not expected to do all of these things starting tomorrow.
The reason these are called self-care practices is because they take PRACTICE to integrate into your lifestyle.
Be honest with yourself about where you’re at and what you’re willing to commit to in starting this journey to self-love. Maybe for you, just picking one of the suggestions I’ve made is the best place to start.
Honestly? Picking one practice and getting it down builds up so much confidence and momentum. It allows you to incorporate your second practice, and then your third, and then any changes you want with much greater ease. When you start to see that positive momentum build, it gets easier to stay committed to the changes and introduce even more positive practices into your life!
If you’re really looking to cultivate more self-love, alleviate your anxiety, reduce stress, and ease depression, the best thing I can do is just encourage you to start somewhere.
Pick one of the practices above and make time for it in your schedule. Remember, consistency is key! It will take a few days, maybe even weeks to get into the habit. Trust me, it will come!
You are worth loving, and it’s time you start to care for yourself in a way that makes you FEEL that way.
You’ve got this. I believe in YOU!
P.S. Looking for more self-care practices to cultivate self-love? Join my newsletter! It’s loaded with inspiration, anxiety-relieving tips, recipes, meal plans and more tools to help you find natural anxiety relief. I hope you’ll join me as I lead our tribe of peaceful warriors dedicated to finding natural anxiety relief!
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