Anyone who has ever taken an introductory psychology class has probably studied Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. As a psych student, I studied it many times.
The basic principle is certain needs have to be met before other aspects of life can be focused on. Someone who is physically starving will need to focus on finding food before they think about friendship or self-esteem. You cannot see success in the higher levels of the pyramid before meeting the needs of the lower levels.
I truly believe this concept applies to love as well. How can one effectively love others if one does not first love oneself? Constantly sacrificing yourself (your time, your affection, your money, your concern) for loved ones without any thought for yourself, while commendable, is inadvisable.
My instructors emphasized every semester how important it is to take a step back from work, school, family, significant others, and any other obligations to ensure that you are mentally, physically, and spiritually healthy. Individuals who indulge in self-love and self-care are better equipped to give to others because they are in a good place themselves. While it may seem selfish at first to take time away for yourself, you will be a better asset to all of your loved ones if you do so.
So how does one go about achieving self-love? It’s a little different for everyone. People enjoy different hobbies, have different ways of relaxing, and find joy in different parts of life. We have gathered ideas here to get you started, but keep in mind that self-love for you may look different than self-love for your neighbor or sister or friend. That’s okay! Find what works for you and stick to it. You are worth it!
Ideas for Self-Love
1: Spa Day
For me, this is a manicure, a pedicure, or maybe a facial. Other people prefer massages and waxes. Find your preferred spa treatment and treat yourself! This is an excellent way to relax and rejuvenate.
3: Netflix show or movie
If you have a few minutes a day to spare, find a Netflix show just for you! I have separate shows from the ones my boyfriend and I watch that I watch by myself when I have time. If you don’t have time for a whole series, pick a movie you have been wanting to watch instead!
Few things are better for my mindset than sinking into a good book. I do this whenever I have the chance, even if only for a few minutes!
5: Night out with friends
Sometimes it is easier to give yourself permission to have a good time if you do so with friends. This is a good way to start self-love, especially for you socialites.
6: Favorite Food Item
Whether you are a dessert junkie, an avid appetizer fiend, or just really in love with an entree from a certain restaurant, self-care can be as simple as going to enjoy your favorite dish at a restaurant. Sure makes me feel good!
Spending some time at the gym or sneaking out for a run can make you feel better all around. It will release endorphins as you exercise and make you feel productive.
8: New clothes/gadgets
While not going out of your budget, buying something new can be therapeutic and exciting. Is there a shirt you have been wanting? Or maybe a new phone case? Treat yourself!
9: Clean your house, car or purse
Is there something in your life that is nagging at you daily because you haven’t had time to clean it? Take some time to clean it! You’ll feel refreshed and accomplished.
10: Compliment yourself
This sounds a little strange, and it is going to probably be difficult at first. The world teaches to tear yourself down, but it is important to take time for introspection and reflect on your positive qualities. Give yourself a target goal of a certain number of compliments (5, 10, etc) and don’t let yourself stop writing your list until you have at least that many self-compliments recorded.
Have you written a bucket list? If not, make one! If you do, find something on your bucket list and go do it!
12: Make yourself a fancy meal
13: Go see a movie by yourself
This sounds super lame until you have done it. I had friends in college who would go see movies by themselves every month and they LOVED it. Give it a try!
14: Bubble Bath
I try to take a bubble bath at least once a week. There is something so relaxing about the warm water and good smelling bath bombs. It gives me a chance to read or watch a Netflix show while I bathe and also leaves me feeling relaxed and smelling nice!
15: Get dressed up & have someone take a new profile picture for you
Everyone likes to have a new social media profile picture every once in a while. A great way to feel good about yourself is to enjoy the process of doing your hair and makeup and throwing on a nice outfit so someone can take pictures of you. It can be really fun.
Sometimes the best way to indulge in self-care is to take a nap! Catch up on the zzzz’s you’ve been missing taking care of everyone else.
17: Folding Laundry
This mindless repetitive action can be relaxing for some people. It allows you to feel accomplished and organize something while still taking a chance to sit down for a bit.
18: Do Nothing
This is another one that can be really difficult for people with busy lifestyles. Sometimes it is important to just sit and give yourself permission to do nothing for a little while. Give your mind and your body a break from the constant going and doing! Everyone needs it!
19: Develop a Talent
Developing talents is pushed for kids and teenagers, but as soon as you get into college or have children, this is lost for a lot of people. Have you wanted to learn how to play an instrument? How about learn a new cooking technique? Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to paint? Just because you are busy and other people depend on you does not make it any less important to spend time developing your own talents and skills. Spend time honing an old talent or maybe discovering a new one!
20: Regular appointments/checkups
Part of self-love is taking time to take care of you. That means you should be regularly going for checkups to the doctor, the dentist, and so on. Your kids are not the only ones who should be monitoring their health!
21: Call someone
Is there a friend or loved one you have not spoken to in a while? Give them a call and have a long chat! Speaking with people who care about you is a great way to practice self-care.
Journaling can be extremely therapeutic. It’s a great way to get all of your feelings out while also recording the happenings of your day-to-day life.
23: Enjoy nature
Whether you have time for a full hike or just a stroll in a nearby park or garden, getting outside and enjoying nature is a holistic activity. You will feel better in every way after spending a little time exercising outdoors.
I LOVE dancing! I should add that I am also terrible at dancing. I’ve never had any formal training for traditional dances, and I do move well enough to look cool doing more modern dances. But you know what? I still love dancing. Going out dancing with my sisters last fall was a BLAST, and I love the random slow dances I get with my boyfriend. I also dance alone through Zumba or dance games on my Wii. Find a way to work dancing into your life!
25: Establishing a normal sleep routine
This is not always possible for moms with young children, but as much as possible you should be trying to establish a regular sleep routine. This can affect your weight, your mood, your ability to function throughout the day, and much more. Sleep is a very important part of self-care and is almost always one of the first things sacrificed in our lives.
26: Try some new healthy foods
As a foodie, I love ice cream and pizza as much as the next girl. Probably actually more than the next girl. But I cannot tell you how much better I have felt in my life as I’ve worked on eating healthier the last few months. I still don’t love salads, and I have to say that Zoodles will never top real noodles, but I actually really enjoy edamame. I also found a protein smoothie at a local juice bar that is both super healthy and delicious. Find some healthy foods that you actually enjoy and incorporate those into your diet. Your body will thank you!
27: Explore spirituality
If you are are a religious person, spend some time praying or studying your religious texts. If you are not a religious person, spend some time meditating.
I hope you found some great ways to show yourself some love! What is your favorite self-care activity?