7 Self-Love Habits to Cultivate in Your Life

‘Self-Care’ was my word of the year for 2016 and I failed miserably. I had vowed to be less self-critical, more fearless with my heart, and more committed to self-care. I had sworn that I was going to spend last year nurturing myself, heart, body, and soul. I didn’t follow through on those promises to myself at all. Instead, I spent most of year focusing on the fear, the sadness, the disappointment, the anger; overall, just embracing all of the negatives. 

Truly, it wasn’t until I took vacation time at the end of December and invested the time back into myself. I slept as late as I needed, ate whatever I wanted, and indulged every whim I had for 10 straight days. I made no apologies for taking a 1-hour bath, sitting quietly to read under my own blanket while insisting my lap remain dog-free, coloring or cutting my hair, shopping, or starting new craft projects. I did it because I felt it on my heart to do it and my husband encouraged my indulgences.

Show yourself a little self-love by adopting these 7 self-care habits.

It was heaven and I sit here tonight writing this to you my heart is as light as it has felt for months. My husband and I feel closer than ever, I feel a peace in my soul, and I’m comforted going in to 2017. Investing a bit of your free time back into yourself is so essential and never has that been more clear to me than right this moment.

7 self-care habits to begin cultivating in your life

You don’t necessarily have to begin all of these at once, just do what reasonably fits in to your schedule. Some of these only take a few moments while others require a bit more time and isolation.

Make sleep a priority

Every night since I’ve been on vacation I slept a minimum of 8 hours (which was easy to do because I just bought this fabulously plush bedding from Lush Decor). Some nights it meant leaving dirty dishes or laundry undone in order to get in bed on time. I stressed at first then eventually just accepted that it would be there in the morning and getting sleep was important. I told my husband not to wake me when he got up unless my alarm had already gone off. 

It was a bit weird for me at first because I’m used to either getting up for work or sleeping as long as I wanted. It felt weird to be up at 7am even on the weekend (I know mom’s will roll their eyes because 7am is sleeping in but I’m not a mom so…). Regardless of your parenthood situation, prioritize sleep. It’ll do wonders for your mentality, energy, personality, and skin.

Invest time in being spiritual

Obviously, as a Christian this means that I’m spending my time in prayer or in devotion with God but I encourage everyone to relate spiritually as they see fit to nurture their own souls. It may be something as simple as watching the sunrise and feeling connected with the Earth or something that centers you on your own soul and state of being. I don’t believe that you have to be a Christian and know God to be spiritual. I think that spirituality, in any form, is healthy for the soul. 

Dedicate at least 15 – 60 minutes per day to spiritual growth whether it be in prayer, devotion, meditation, yoga, or other behavior. Feed your soul daily to feel more at peace during the day.

Read at least 15 minutes 

You can adjust the ’15 minutes’ timeline as you see fit for your schedule but definitely find time to read at least a little bit every day. I’ve found that 15 minutes is about the average for me to get through 1 – 2 chapters in a book I’m reading so that time limit works for me. Recently, I’ve been reading through A Modern Girl’s Guide to Bible Study by Jen Hatmaker and loving it! This is one of those rare “Modern Girl” books that actually gets it. I’m completely hooked on it for my first 15 minutes in the morning. Just a cup of coffee, my book, and 15 minutes of solitude to read has been heaven.

Also, it has to be reading so I am not counting audio books. I’m suggesting that you need to invest time to words on paper, read quietly, to enjoy and savor in the moment. (BTW…you can check here for more of my favorite reads).

Make time for skin care

I invested in a bit of new skincare products at the end of 2016. I didn’t want to over-indulge since we were just coming off of Christmas spending but I did want to get started a decent regime so I picked up a pure clay exfoliating mask, Aveeno night cream, and Aveeno toner. After only a few days I noticed such a renewed brightness to my face which has encouraged me to wear less make-up. 

There’s a special and unique feeling that goes with knowing that you’ve truly cared for the temple of your body. The mask took the longest amount of time but truly, it’s only 15 minutes and you can do other things while it’s drying. 

Practice Mindfulness

I wrote a post recently when I partnered with Spire how about how to use their activity tracker to be more mindful each day. I have used my Spire tracker every day since to track my activity level, my breathing patterns, and my focus. It has done a lot to remind me to stay present in the moment, remaining focused during tense moments, and to move when I’ve been sedentary for too long. 

Being so aware of your mental state throughout the day is transformative. My Spire tracker has done so much for increasing my awareness of my stress triggers and exercises to calm down.

Love and care for your body

Define this as you wish in a way that cares for your body and encourages good health. For me, it’s meant drinking more water, eating more fruit, and prioritizing breakfast so I stay fuller for longer and eat less at dinner. For my husband it has meant returning to the gym and working out like he used to back when he ran 6 miles a day. I’ve encouraged him to consider signing up for a 5k in the future to motivate him to keep going, we’ll see if he does it.

I’ve found that drinking more water, eating more fruit, and getting a full night’s rest have all been critical to the improvement I’ve felt lately.

Grant forgiveness and let go

Today is a good day to offer forgiveness and let go of the anger, the hurt, the pain, the sadness, etc and embrace moving forward. Brandon and I have spoken a lot about forgiveness lately and how, ultimately, granting forgiveness provides peace for us, not the person being forgiven. Together, he and I have shared anger, frustration, or sadness we’ve been holding on to lately and bringing our hearts to a place where providing forgiveness was something we felt we were able to do. 

It’s a weight lifted off of our shoulders to finally let go of something that has been dragging you down and realizing that you are finally free to move forward without those chains dragging you down.

I think it is the nature of women to prioritize everyone else over ourselves. We prioritize our husbands, our children, our parents, our siblings, our friends, our pets, etc over ourselves when truly, we must care for ourselves as urgently. We deserve to shine as the best possible versions of ourselves and that requires giving ourselves the love and attention we deserve.

What are your favorite self-love habits? How do prioritize caring for yourself? What are your favorite indulgences?

Change your routine and adopt these 7 self-care habits today to start showing yourself more self-care each day.

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  1. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our lives, family & work we forget about ourselves. This is a great guide.

    • So true! I see it in people all of the time. We have a tendency, especially women, to prioritize everyone else above ourselves. So silly! We deserve to love ourselves too.

  2. I WISH I could sleep better than I do. I try everything…(almost)… but still struggle and I know what a priority it is. I just cant seem to “do” it. Ugh. But – fingers crossed I will sleep at some point 8 hours!

    • I know you’ve probably heart it before, but have you tried Melatonin? My husband used to have major sleep problems but now he takes between 6mg – 10mg per night and he sleeps much better. We also bought black-out shades for our bedroom and cut out all caffeine after 6pm. He also does meditations (The Honest Guys on YouTube) which help. Hopefully you can find something to help you catch those Zzzzs!

  3. I agree with you sleep and skin care are so important! I have a couple books I need to read but just haven’t found the time, but you’re right I can do 15 minutes.

    • Definitely find 15 minutes! I’ve done all sorts of things to make it happen. Sometimes an “upset stomach” has me in the bathroom for reading time. Sometimes those pesky errands took a little bit longer than normal. Sometimes I just get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Sometimes you just have to lay down the damn law and insist that you deserve 15 minutes to yourself. πŸ™‚
      It’s challenging at first but you can make it happen.

    • A timer is a great idea! You DESERVE it and it’s important to remember that. You deserve to be able to put yourself in a positive mindset that allows you to present the best possible version of yourself to others. Sometimes that means having 15 minutes to yourself.

  4. I need to slow down, I am an on the go person and so everything seems to be 100 miles an hour. I think if I just slowed down and read a book like would be more enjoyable.

    • Yes ma’am! I’m the exact same way which is why I have to be so deliberate about slowing down and being mindful about how I’m caring for myself. Eventually we all hit overwhelm or burn out but doing little things for yourself on occasion help keep you charged.

  5. Love and care for your body is awesome. I like all of them actually. I should actually prioritize sleep more.

  6. Self-love is not easy, it’s a continuing growing processes. While you might not have gotten where you wanted to be, your aware of the steps you want to take to get to where you want to be. It’s hard to get the habits to make happen. Sleep is the most important one for me. It’s the hardest to get and the one with the biggest impact.

    • It’s definitely not easy but I have to believe that investing in ourselves is worth it. It was a long road to get myself to where I finally realized and accepted how important it is for me to slow down and truly care for myself.

  7. I agree that sleep, reading, and skin care are important for a healthy relationship with yourself. Taking the time to drink water does wonders for my skin and gives me such a confidence boost.

    • That’s a great reminder. I’m terrible about drinking enough water and I’ve been known to go almost a whole day without a single thing to drink. It’s ridiculous and my husband is constantly reminding me to “drink something”.

  8. I love this! It’s hard to slow down and take the time you need to take care of yourselves sometimes. One thing I haven’t been doing is prioritizing sleep, and that needs to change because I feel so much better when I get enough sleep.

    • It really is hard but it’s important. You deserve to care for yourself as much as you care for anyone else in your family. Try going to bed just 30 minutes earlier, you’ll notice how much better you feel.

  9. I love this! I am trying to take better care of myself and get more sleep. It is really helping. I am also getting up earlier and taking more time to myself.

  10. So many great tips!! I’m trying so hard to get myself back into the habit of reading. I used to read a few chapters every night after my husband went to bed, but it turned into insomnia lol pregnancy has completely ruined my sleep schedule. So now I take melatonin every night about an hour before bed and by the time we turn the tv off, I’m fast asleep haha

    • My husband takes Melatonin too and it’s made a huge difference in his sleep habits. He used to have major insomnia but now he sleeps like a baby. Lol. I typically will read on the sofa in the living room before “bedtime” so that my bed remains a sleep-zone.

  11. A big part of my unhappiness in 2016 was that a lot of these things were lacking! I really am working on changing that!

    • Good! Make self-care a priority in 2017 and I’m sure you’ll see a boost in happiness. It’s important to show yourself love from time-to-time. You deserve it and don’t ever feel like you don’t.

    • I’ve been working on developing the same habit at night. I’ve recently developed a whole new evening routine and it’s worked wonders for me. If you’re looking for quality skincare recommendations I highly recommend Jamie from Makeup, Love, Life. She’s fabulous!

  12. The first two regarding sleep and spirituality are things i really need to work on! I didn’t even really realize how much I was missing these in my life until i read your post!

    • I strongly believe in spiritual habits. Even if someone doesn’t share my faith I encourage them to do something to encourage spiritual centering and positive energies. It does so much for your mindset.

  13. Self-love is definitely important! I try to be more mindful but sometimes things get in the way and I end up on auto-pilot. I do love my sleep though

    • Auto-pilot is full of hard habits to break isn’t it? Maybe try implementing just one new habit at a time? Give it 30 days and then introduce something new. That gives you time to let the new habit set in before adding something new to your routine.

    • Ahhhh I hate that whole “I can’t find the time” excuse although yes, yes I use it too. Sometimes we just have to make time. I’ve been known to read while waiting in line to check out at the store or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office. Wherever I have to do it in order to make it happen.

  14. I definitely need to work on two of those: sleep and skincare. Sleep may have to wait a few years for the kids to get older but I could start a better skin care routine today! Just need to make it a priority

    • Absolutely! I always encourage someone to start a new habit and wait 30 days before adding something new so maybe pick just one new skincare habit or product. A mask you use 2x a week or a moisturizer you use nightly. Then, next month, add one more new habit.

  15. These are all such great tips! I love your take on making sleep a priority. I always try to get to bed around the same time during the week, but sometimes I feel like I just have too much to get done, but you are so right that it will all be there in the morning. So simple, but true. Definitely going to keep that piece in mind!

    Clothes & Quotes

    • Thanks Shannon! I used to be one of those people that couldn’t go to sleep if there was laundry unfolded in the dryer or even a single spoon in the sink but now? I’ve learned to remind myself that it will still be there and the world won’t implode. In the morning, it’s all still there. I’ve also learned that “good enough” is far more attainable than “perfect”.

    • Sleep is far more essential than people realize. It really is critical to get at least 6 – 9 hours per night. I started out with 6 then adjusted until I found my “sweet spot” where I woke up rested but didn’t oversleep. I find I need about 7.5 a night.

  16. Self love and care is so important! Recently I’ve tried to prioritise getting more sleep, reading more books and sticking to my skincare routine – I lost it a bit over Christmas haha

    • I think Christmas screws us all up when it comes to our routines! I focus so hard on my own self-care and during the month of December I always feel like a hopeless mess. πŸ™

  17. I need to get better about reading actual print instead of just articles online! I love that you mention sleep! It’s so important to be well rested, I get cranky without 8 hours…

    • I have started reading exclusively ebooks so I can sync the Kindle on my phone and my tablet. That way, I always have a book to read and it’s always within arm’s reach. πŸ™‚ I have also turned off all notifications on my phone so I only become distracted by social media when I want to be.

  18. I think it’s important to have rituals or routines that involve taking care of yourself. We often forget about our own welfare and this post is a nice reminder for that.

  19. Reading really helps me, but I don’t get to do it often. Sleep is something I’m missing. The kids never let me sleep. lol.

  20. This is just what I needed to hear! I need to make sure I show myself more care this year! Especially when it comes to sleep. I NEED more sleep!

  21. Omg just love this!!!!!! Self care is so important m!! I wish more girl took the time for it. When you’re happy, everyone around you will be happy πŸ˜‰

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