20 Acts of Self-Love You Haven't Tried Yet
Switching From Self-Care to Self-Love Will Change Your Life
When self-care is performed without love, it doesn’t cut it.
Self-care has become much more popular as a mental health method in the past couple of years, and so many people in the wellness sphere—like myself—love to see it, but there’s some things these articles and Instagram posts are leaving out.
Not everyone’s self-care looks the same. Your go-to self-care activity might not work every time. Self-care does not have to be in response to a bad day; as a matter of fact, it takes continuous self-care to actually take care of you. Otherwise, self-care isn’t self-care…it’s just a little treat after a bad day with fleeting effects.
Little treats are great! But, when it comes to self-care that cultivates self-love and contributes to mental wellness, we need to be more intentional in the ways that we are celebrating ourselves and our bodies for everything we do!
If you’re looking to be more intentional about your self-love, start off with the golden rule… with an amendment: treat yourself how you would want to be treated by someone else! Here are some ideas to radicalize your self-love and add some variety to your self-care:
1. Take a solo trip to a new place: Exploring new destinations can be a great way to recharge and gain a new perspective on life. Take some time off to visit a new city or country by yourself and enjoy the freedom of doing things on your own terms. This can even be a day trip, or just a trip to a place in your area you’ve always wanted to explore or see more of!
2. Try a new form of exercise: Exercise is a great way to release endorphins and boost your mood. From a yoga pose you’ve never tried, taking dance lessons or just dancing around your room, there are so many joyful ways we can move our bodies. This is an opportunity that will challenge you both physically and mentally, and leave you feeling accomplished. It’s also just a great act of self-love to cultivate your health and care for yourself!
3. Go to a sauna or wellness center. Saunas sound like they are only a luxury at a high-end spa or hotel, but local wellness centers that offer salt rooms, saunas and float baths are opening in more places! See if there is one near you, and don’t make it seem like too big of a deal or too luxurious for you. It’s only 40 minutes, and a location near me offers saunas for $35! If it’s something that relaxes you that you don’t do enough, just make time for it knowing that you deserve it.
4. Write yourself a love letter and read it out loud: Take some time to reflect on your positive qualities and write yourself a love letter. Read it out loud to yourself and allow yourself to feel the love and appreciation you deserve.
5. Cook yourself a fancy, nutritious meal: Cooking a fancy meal can be a great way to indulge in your favorite foods and experiment with new recipes. Maybe pick a comfort meal or something that takes a long time to cook, so you don’t make it as much. Have fun while you cook, singing along to your favorite music and dancing as you stir. While you eat, focus on the food and your experience instead of being on your phone or watching tv. Savor the meal you made, eat it knowing you did a great job making it and digest it knowing it was made with love and is nutritious for your body.
6. Go on a technology detox for a day or weekend: We often spend too much time on our phones and computers, which can lead to burnout and stress. Take a break from technology for a day or weekend and focus on connecting with yourself and others.
7. Journal your gratitude daily: Cultivating gratitude can help us appreciate the good things in our lives and improve our overall well-being. It just takes being grateful for one thing a day to adopt a gratitude mindset that serves our mental health and opens up the opportunities life has to offer.
8. Try a new hobby or activity: Take up something you’ve always wanted to try! Hobbies and activities can be a great way to unwind and express your creativity. Try something new and challenging, like painting or pottery, and see where your talents take you.
9. Get dressed up and take yourself out on a date: Treating yourself to a nice dinner or event can be a great way to boost your confidence and feel good about yourself. Dress up and take yourself out to somewhere you enjoy—your favorite coffee shop, a bookstore, your favorite thrift store or maybe even a sweets shop. Indulge!
10. Make a list of your accomplishments, big and small, and celebrate them: It’s important to recognize and celebrate our accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Make a list of your accomplishments and take some time to reflect on how far you’ve come.
11. Go outside and take a break: Try being barefoot and just standing in the grass, letting the wind blow through your hair and soak your skin in the sun. Closing your eyes will help you savor the moment and find more peace. Don’t bring your phone, don’t let your mind wander into concerns or tasks you have to finish—just be present.
12. Take yourself on a picnic! Plan a day, pack a meal or some charcuterie and go to your favorite outdoor spot. Maybe you’ll bring some sparkling juice, a book you’re reading or a speaker. Lay out your picnic blanket and let your mind wander—to your surroundings, people watching or just about life in general. Enjoy the peace and your own company.
13. Make time for a long phone call with someone who loves you: Sometimes talking on the phone to a loved one can seem tedious, but try going into it with an open mind. It’ll likely be a pleasant surprise for them to receive a call from you, and let the conversation flow naturally. Be an active listener and an eager contributor. You might even unload something that’s been burdening you or just end up having a pleasant conversation with someone you needed to catch up with.
14. Take a night to yourself: Not a date night, but a night in. Curate your space to be cozy and a reflection of you. Maybe you’ll add some of your favorite blankets, take a bubble bath followed by slipping into your softest pajamas, lighting your favorite candles and listening to music that fits your vibe or rewatching your favorite movie. This is a night that’s all about you, where you get to choose what distractions you do or don’t allow.
15. Re-evaluate your role models: Have you felt disappointed by who you look up to? Maybe now is a good time to be intentional about who inspires you. When the people we look up to aren’t healthy inspiration or aligned with our values, it ends up making us feel worse because it’s an expectation we’ll never meet. As we get older, our aspirations shift into alignment with who we have become, so it’s important to also adjust our expectations and sources of inspiration.
16. Do one thing your inner child loved: This one is plain and simple. If you loved blowing bubbles as a child, doing funny jumps into a pool or laying like a starfish in grass—go do it! Nostalgia can be so healing and this is also a good opportunity to lighten up and have some fun in its purest form!
17. Apologize to yourself: What have you not forgiven yourself for? Does this manifest as negative self-talk or an insecurity? Maybe you just treat yourself too harshly. Recognize that you deserve to be nicer to yourself and think of ways you can do so.
18. Choose some affirmations you need to hear: If you need some ideas on where to get started, here are 50 Love Affirmations for free with downloadable and printable affirmation cards in our Art of Intentional Living Community Resource Center. A good way to choose an affirmation is to think about an area of life where you are struggling—could you use some support in being more productive, being more accepting of your body, adapting a more positive mindset? This can help guide your daily or weekly affirmation to be accurate and impactful.
19. Pick one way you can express yourself: Try that hairstyle you’ve been eyeing, or wear that outfit that you love but keep in your closet! Paint your nails your favorite color instead of what you think is practical, or make a radical change to your space. Just do something that is authentically you!
20. Keep it consistent! Remember, effective self-care is not an after-thought and self-love needs to be cultivated consistently and intentionally. Maybe it takes scheduling it or writing down when you’ll do it in your journal, but take action to make acts of self-love a regular part of your lifestyle and routines.
If you’d like to get more support and inspiration for creating radical and lasting self-love, you can begin your self-love journey today with Worthy: A Radical Self-Love Journal.