What is self-care?

Self-care, the act of taking care of oneself, has become a buzzworthy topic, especially on social media. Search for #selfcare, which has over 32 million Instagram posts, and you’ll find inspirational quotes; Sunday checklists with things like light a candle, meditative yoga poses, and lots of beauty products. To help you find what works for you, I’ve compiled 10 ways to practice self-care that don’t necessarily require any extra products or technology – some even encourage no technology – and can be practiced in ways that are totally unique to you.

  1. Set up a regular call with someone close to you. Many people turn to self-care to tune out the world, but sometimes you might crave meaningful connection as opposed to endless scrolling. Schedule calls with someone you enjoy talking to and treat it like a special event – grab your favorite snacks, put on your coziest clothes, and plan to be present in the moment.
  2. Fit in time for movement. Self-care to most means slowing down, hence the many yoga pose posts in the #selfcare feed, but ask yourself: What movement makes you feel good? Whatever that is – tennis, swimming, running, or yoga – do what feels right for you. Take inventory of how you feel when you wake up each morning, so your choice of movement will vary from day to day. Learning how to check in with yourself like this takes time and practice, so be kind to yourself as you figure this out!
  3. Cook a comforting meal. It’s easy to lean on takeout, especially when you feel like you need to “treat yourself” for a self-care evening. Nourishing your body with food that you took the time to prepare can be really special. If you’re able, meal prepping your lunches or dinners for the week will give you the energy to focus on other important life things while also having home-cooked meals at the ready when you’re super busy.
  4. Step away from your phone for a designated time. It’s easier said than done, especially as everyone spends more time at home connected to their devices, but disconnecting will help you tune back into yourself to determine what you really need in the moment. Try putting your phone on airplane mode when you’re eating a meal or set a curfew for your electronics an hour before bedtime to help wind down.
  5. Plan more conscientious social media time. If participating in social media is important to you, take inventory of how much time you’re spending on social media and whether that time spent scrolling was to procrastinate doing other things. Becoming more mindful of your social media time can help you better manage your overall time.
  6. Take a shower or bath. Sometimes the smaller and simpler things in your everyday routine can be reframed as self-care, such as taking a shower or bath. This can be a wonderful way to show yourself care and love if you’re having a particularly tough day and can also help you prepare for restful sleep.
  7. Incorporate meditation into your daily routine. It may seem ironic to recommend apps on your phone to facilitate tuning out from technology, but meditation apps can help you create and sustain a regular meditation practice. They’ve been shown to improve concentration and provide many neurological benefits. I love using the Calm app, but you can explore the wide variety available to see what works for you.
  8. Set daily or monthly affirmations. Affirmations are statements that allude to goals you wish to achieve or positive, encouraging statements to help remind you daily that you’re on the path to success. Check in with yourself every 30 days to assess how your self-care needs may need to change.
  9. Opt for DIY versions of typical self-care products. If you want to have a special “self-care” themed-night like you see on Instagram, try making your own version using ingredients you’d find in your own kitchen!
  10. Make self-care a regular part of your routine, not just something you do occasionally. Building self-care into your day creates practices that become habits. Taking care of yourself doesn’t need to be relegated to one night a week, nor does it need to be an elaborately planned event. It could be as small as a daily 10-minute walk to break up the afternoon. Taking small steps every day to build self-care into your routine can have a major positive impact on your health and happiness.