Self-Care And Self-Love For Busy Women – 101 Ways To Care For Yourself
As women, we all know what it means to give. We are often taught that to be giving is virtuous, and that taking anything for ourselves is very selfish. We must put others’ needs first and put ourselves last.
Consequently, we often neglect our own needs and ourselves. We are so busy taking care of everybody else, that we hardly even notice we have needs too.
However, if you, like so many others, are finding yourself getting grumpy, resentful, and downright gnarly at your role as a caregiver, it is time to sit back, take stock and take some action.
You are going to need to start taking care of YOU and putting your own needs first for a change. It sounds crazy, doesn’t it? However, as counter-intuitive as it might seem, it is essential for your well-being and that of the others in your life that you start to take care of you.
Your health and your sanity depend on it and if you are to be any good at taking care of others, you have to be in a fit state to do so. Getting burnt out in the name of “virtue” is not really that virtuous. Your good intentions backfire and you just end up miserable. The “law of reciprocity” states that in order to give, you must receive, so use the following list wisely.
We share with you 101 ways to care for yourself below. Don’t want to read it on our site? Download our free printable list format here.
101 Ways To Care For Yourself
Here are 101 delightful, yummy, fun, and sensuous ways you can begin to take good care of yourself, so you can keep on being there for the ones you love…
1. Take a hot aromatherapy bath at least 3 times each week. This practice promotes relaxation and reduces stress, making you better able to function in your daily life.
2. Learn how to love yourself: Give yourself credit and say, “I love you” to you, in the mirror and as you go about your day.
3. Practice the “inner smile”: Imagine a benevolent being smiling down upon you. Feel the kindness of their gaze penetrate your eyes and spread throughout your entire body.
4. Give up dieting! It’s official: Diets don’t really work and changing your relationship to food is a healthier way to go. Find ways to become friends with food!
5. Ditch the sugar: Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, according to the experts. It ultimately brings your mood down, after the initial “high. It makes you gain weight and contributes to mood swings and even depression. Who needs it?
6. Find ways to have fun! Then, be sure to go out and have some!
7. Carve out a few hours per week, which are just for you. You get to choose, you get to do. “Me time” is an essential part of your self-care regime.
8. Take up a hobby or sport you always wanted to do, and then commit to doing it as part of your self-care routine.
9. Treat yourself to a little pampering: visit a spa, get a pedicure or a manicure. You know you’re worth it.
10. Consider community acupuncture. This is an affordable way to get regular sessions. Take a girlfriend or a group of you and make it a social activity.
11. Meditate. Just a few minutes a day can bring you a sense of inner peace and relaxation. There are many different methods to choose from.
12. Focus on your breath. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to just breathe. Focus on the in and then the out-breath. This helps calm the nervous system as well as refresh you.
13. Rest with your legs up against the wall. Scoot your butt up close to the wall and lift your legs. Allow your arms to flop out to the sides. Relax. It will get the blood flowing to your head; rejuvenate your legs, your mind, and your whole body.
14. Exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel good. It tones your muscles, increases your circulation, improves your heart health, and can contribute to weight loss.
15. Be social. Isolation is not what humans were designed for! Humans love to feel like they belong and are part of a social group. Reach out, call a friend, join a hiking, knitting, book or any other club or group you like, start your own Meet-Up group, but find ways to get connected to others.
16. Find out what you are passionate about. Many of us, as women, are so focused on pleasing others that we don’t even know who we are or what we love to do! Try out new things and discover who you really are.
17. Practice gratitude. At the end of every day, write down three (or five, ten or 100) things you feel grateful for. Make sure you experience the feeling of gratitude. Keep a gratitude stone. Hold it in your hand as you think of the thing you feel most grateful for this day.
18. Spend time in nature. Nature is a wonderful healer. She calms us down and helps us decompress. It is good to sit by water, feel the breeze on your skin, and enjoy the benefits of sunlight. Nature is good for you.
19. Eat well. Simply start to eat more vegetables every day. Add in some fresh, organic greens, or some crunchy carrot sticks or celery. Add in seeds and a few nuts, and eat more chicken and fish than red meat. Choose organic.
20. Drink enough water every day. There is no hard and fast rule for how much is enough but the experts currently say about nine glasses for women and thirteen glasses for men. That’s a lot! Drinking plenty of water hydrates your skin and helps keep it smooth and supple.
21. Sleep well. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Drink chamomile tea in the evening. Put a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow.
22. Relax. Find a recording that you enjoy and listen to it before falling asleep. Practice “letting go” of stress and irritation when in a line at the grocery store or at a red light.
23. Laugh. Find a reason to laugh every single day. Watch funny movies, try to see the funny side of a situation, or practice laughing for no reason at all. Yoga laughter is one way to learn this!
24. Let go. One of the biggest keys to a happy, healthy life is in learning to let go: Learn to let go of what you cannot control; let go of outcomes; let go of stress; let go of being right.
25. Have fun. Discover what you like to do for fun, and then do more of it! Ride a bike, go dancing, host a BBQ or beach party, hang out with friends. Smiling, laughter and general enjoyment are necessary ingredients.
26. Sing. Whether it’s in the shower, in the car on the way to work, in a choir or a band, singing makes you feel good. It releases endorphins and oxytocin, which help you feel happy and connected to others.
27. Do yoga. Yoga has so many benefits: A calm mind and a relaxed body; greater strength and muscle tone; improved flexibility and tranquility.
28. Forgive yourself and others. Forgiveness is a practice, which benefits you and your mental health as much as it benefits the one who is forgiven. Practice daily and above all, forgive yourself.
29. Eat chocolate. Chocolate was called the “food of the gods.” Why would you deny yourself this sensuous delight?
30. Take action. The key to self-care and wellness is to put some of these ideas into practice. You need to take action. Otherwise, nothing changes. What small step will you take today?
31. Think positive. As you reap so shall you sow. The Law of Attraction states that what you put out comes back to you. So keep your thoughts loving and optimistic. Change negative thinking as you become aware of it.
32. Surround yourself with positive people. People who lift you up, encourage, and support you are healthy to be with. Limit interactions with those who drain you or put you down.
33. Maintain a healthy BMI. This will ensure you are far less likely to get diabetes or heart trouble. Increase your daily intake of green, leafy vegetables and the amount of exercise you do. These two practices alone should help you get to a healthier weight.
34. Take time to smell the roses. Life goes by very fast and stopping to be present enhances the journey. It also keeps you calm, centered, and much less stressed. Caring for yourself means enjoying and savoring each precious moment we have been given. Don’t let life pass you by.
35. Drink lemon water: Add a few slices of lemon to a jug of water and refrigerate. You can also add in a sprig of mint for a really luxurious flavor.
36. Declutter a room in your home. You will feel so much more at ease when you get rid of all the excess; you’ll be able to concentrate better, and you will feel more relaxed.
37. Create an affirmation and say it daily. Try one of these or make up your own: “I love myself and treat myself kindly.” “My health is flourishing and so is my life.”
38. Use visualization to see yourself as your most vibrant, radiant self. Picture the colors, smells, sounds, and textiles and even tastes in as much detail as you can.
39. Be generous. Generosity is in your own best interest. “As you give, so shall you receive.” Giving not only makes others happier, but it makes us happier too; it helps us experience a sense of meaning, increases our feelings of connectedness, and helps us become more compassionate.
40. Volunteer. Participating in community service allows us to contribute to society and feel more worthwhile; it helps us connect with others in community and it boosts our self-esteem. Volunteering is good for your health and happiness.
41. Take a nap. A short nap of 10 to 20 minutes will increase your alertness and performance and ensure that you don’t get all groggy when you awake.
42. Use essential oils to enhance your mood, lift your spirit, and create a special ambiance. Lavender for calm and rest, geranium to balance and uplift you, and rose to open and soothe your heart.
43. Listen to some music. Music can heal and soothe the heart and soul. Depending on your choice it can uplift, or relax, or inspire or excite. Choose your music to enhance your mood.
44. Treat yourself to a new item. Once in a while, splash out. Instead of focusing only on what you need, buy something special that is purely something you want. Appreciate the gift to yourself.
45. Reach out for help when you need it. No one is an island and we all need each other. Maybe you need to talk to a friend, or perhaps you need to get help from a therapist.
46. Go on a retreat. Getting away from it all can work wonders for your heart and soul. A change is as good as a rest, they say. Even a couple of days can be enough to press that reset button.
47. Indulge yourself on occasion with a piece of cheesecake or a delicious tart with whipping cream, or whatever you prefer. “A little of what you fancy does you good.”
48. Practice random acts of kindness. Offer a smile. Open a door. Carry a bag of shopping. Simple gestures like this go a long way to lifting someone’s day; it will lift yours too.
49. Get creative. Write, sing, play an instrument, paint. Whatever your choice, let it be playful and fun. Immerse yourself in the process and allow yourself to be free!
50. Express yourself. Whatever it takes, it is important to be authentically you! Let your emotions shine through in your creative pursuits. Be true to yourself, stand up for what you believe in and take a risk by telling your truth.
51. Let go of perfection, it’s exhausting and nobody is perfect. Life is short! In the words of Leonard Cohen: “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything: That’s how the light gets in.”
52. Learn to set healthy boundaries. Know your own limits, and be sure to honor them. Do what is right for YOU. No one else can tell you where your limits are but you.
53. Saying “no” is good for your health. Learning to say, “No,” can be challenging but until you learn this skill, you will let others take advantage of you and you will end up feeling resentful.
54. Aim for balance. Another challenge is to aim for balance in all areas of your life: Work, play, social life and romance, friendships, finances, leisure, downtime and health.
55. Respect yourself. Until you respect yourself, no one else is going to respect you. This work has to happen on the inside before you see results on the outside. It starts with loving yourself.
56. Practice the Golden Rule: Do unto others, as you would have them do to you. Treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
57. Smile and the world smiles with you. Science shows that even by faking it, your body, and mind will believe you are happy. Try gently lifting the corners of your mouth into a smile. What happens when you offer your smile to others?
58. Get some downtime. Time in solitude is very important for recharging those batteries. Rest in a quiet room. Spend time in the morning just listening to the dawn chorus. Listen to a relaxation recording.
59. Get centered. This can help you weather life’s storms with a steady response. Imagine you are like a stone at the bottom of a river. See the river rushing all around and over you, while you are just firmly stable on the riverbed. Nothing can disrupt your inner calm.
60. Get a massage on a regular basis. Touch is important to all human beings and a way to experience feeling loved and supported. The deep relaxation of a massage will help to release toxins from the muscles.
61. Wake up slowly. Giving yourself a few extra minutes to get up slowly can help set a more relaxed tone for your day, especially as compared to a blaring alarm that makes you bolt out of bed.
62. Stretch. Stretch your muscles gently, for a few minutes daily. This will keep you flexible and limber and will help you avoid getting stiff and sore muscles as you age.
63. Listen to a podcast. Stimulate your brain by educating yourself about something new. A podcast is a great way to do this, and you can listen while you’re on the move, whether travelling or exercising.
64. Read a novel. Fiction is a great way to escape into another world. It can stimulate ideas, give you new perspective, and offer you food for thought.
65. Set goals. Break down your big goal into smaller, manageable steps. Give yourself a realistic timeline. Be specific.
66. Be gentle with yourself. Avoid self-criticism. It is destructive and increases your stress levels. Instead, be like a loving parent towards yourself. Encourage, support, approve, and be kind to you.
67. Don’t stuff your feelings. Stuffing your feelings is a sure-fire way to increase your chances of ill health. Allow yourself time to feel your feelings. They are just feelings and will pass if you simply allow them space to be.
68. Stay in the now. Don’t spend time stressing over what might have been or worrying about what could happen. The past is gone and we can’t control the future. All we can do is to be present to what is. That is where life happens.
69. Celebrate your successes and acknowledge your accomplishments. Savor your wins. Breathe them in, to every cell in your body. Give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done.
70. Slow down. It may feel necessary to fire on all cylinders and be high on adrenaline, but in fact, it really isn’t. Stay in the moment, be calm, and say centered. You will accomplish as much, if not more, than when you were stressed out, and, you will keep yourself happy and healthy in the process.
71. Commit to less. Less is more. Do less, and have less, so you can be more. More present, more content, more fulfilled.
72. Accumulate less stuff. Does having stuff really make you happy? Or does it mean spending more time and effort maintaining, cleaning and repairing stuff? Having less stuff is good for the planet and it’s good for you. You can learn to be happy with less.
73. Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat, when you eat. Focus on the colors, textures, aromas, and tastes of your food. You will enjoy the experience so much more.
74. Listen to your intuition. The still, quiet voice within. How many times have you had a hunch, a gut instinct, or a knowing? And how many times have you ignored this voice, only to afterwards think, I should have followed it? Start listening to and acting on your inner wisdom.
75. Be okay with not knowing. In life, we are very often in the dark. It is enough only to know the next step you need to take. The rest will reveal itself, one-step at a time.
76. Acknowledge a power that is greater than yourself. You don’t have to be spiritual to benefit from this. Just think about the vastness of the cosmos. Science now tells us that everything is interconnected; this means that we are not an island and we are not alone. It can be helpful to know that you are supported by something greater than yourself.
77. Take responsibility for yourself. You are responsible for your thoughts, your words, and your actions. This is how you can start to take control of your life!
78. Make amends to others when you know you are wrong. You will feel better and be a better person for it. Carrying around guilt and shame is not good for your health.
79. Trust. Imagine that the universe is supporting you, your wellness, and your growth. If you choose to believe this, then it makes it much easier to trust in the process of life. Knowing that the universe “has your back” is a comforting thought!
80. Have faith. How many times have you thought that the sky was falling, only to find out that by some miracle, you were saved from a fate worse than death? Faith can move mountains, and if you let them, miracles will abound.
81. If today were the last day of your life, what would you do differently? Live each day as if it were your last.
82. Write a bucket list and then work towards checking off everything on the list.
83. Remember that you can’t change other people. The only person you can change is you. So when someone triggers you, remember, you only have control over the way you respond to them.
84. Put yourself first. In order to stay happy, you have to learn to do this more often. Most of us learned to put ourselves last, but that breeds resentment. A little more focus on “me first” is healthy.
85. It is your job to take care of you, not anyone else’s. Instead of waiting for others to give you the attention you are longing for, learn to find ways to give it to yourself.
86. Turn off your phone, your computer, and your TV. Take a tech break and enjoy the stillness.
87. It’s OK to make mistakes. Mistakes are how we grow and learn. You can let go of perfection and allow yourself to be human.
88. Get up to watch the sunrise.
89. Blow some bubbles or go fly a kite. Let your inner child have the freedom to play and do it as often as possible.
90. Pet a furry animal. It will help you relax and lower your heart rate.
91. Try a new restaurant, perhaps with an all new style of food that you have never had before.
92. Love Someone. Love someone so much that you want him or her in your life all the time.
93. Have lunch with a friend or someone you’d like to know better.
94. Give hugs. Experts say we need 12 hugs a day for our health and well-being. When you give a hug, you automatically get one!
95. Call a friend. Reach out, and stay connected.
96. Fix something that’s been broken. You will feel a sense of accomplishment and pride that you are taking care of yourself in this way.
97. Organize a movie night with friends. Make it a pajama party with popcorn.
98. Join a support group. Being part of a group with a common aim helps provide a sense of solidarity.
99. Buy yourself some flowers. The beauty and fragrance of cut flowers in your home will bring a sparkle to your eye and a cheer to a weary spirit. Why wait for someone to buy them for you?
100. Do yoga. Yoga makes you calmer, more relaxed, and more flexible. It strengthens and tones your muscles and increases your core strength. What’s not to love?
101. Keep a dream journal. See if your dreams offer insight into your waking world. Practice interpreting them as you see fit. You are the expert of your dreams and of your life.