13 Self-Care Practices That Will Help You Thrive!

Self-Care Practices

Hey, I'm Emilie!

A certified life coach, meditation instructor, and spiritual entrepreneur. I’m here to help you create a vibrant life around your higher purpose and heart’s desires. 

13 Self-Care Practices for Holistic Well-Being

In this article, I share 13 self-care practices that promote holistic wellness: mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. 

Self-care is both an act of self-love and preventive medicine. To use Lisa Nichols’ words:

“Self-care is acknowledging your self-worth. It’s your responsibility to your future self.”

I’ve just finished reading the excellent book The Path of the Yoga Sutras: A Practical Guide to the Core of Yoga, which is about practical applications of the yogic philosophy and lifestyle.

In the book, there’s an entire chapter dedicated to self-care, and the self-care practices I’ll cover in this article are inspired by that book. We’ll go far beyond face masks and manicures!

Mindful Morning Routine

Purification (Detox)

The first few practices relate to detox, called Saucha in the Yoga Sutras.

It’s about purifying our bodies, thoughts, words, and the environment where we live. We’re talking about a physical, mental, emotional, and environmental detox.

Physical Detox

There are several things we can do to detoxify our physical bodies, and here are a few suggestions:

Self-Care Practice #1: Reduce Your Diet’s Toxic Load

Reduce your intake of refined sugar, alcohol, and processed food.

I wouldn’t recommend trying to let go of all these things at once unless you’re a total ninja, but consider picking one food per month that you stop eating for that time period.

You can also try to buy organic fruits and vegetables as much as possible, beginning with those that appear on the “Dirty Dozen” list. (Those are the fruits and veggies that are usually treated with the most pesticides.) There is also a “Clean 15” list containing the fruits and veggies with the lowest pesticide residue. With these two lists, you’ll know which foods you should try to buy organic.

Self care practices

Self-Care Practice #2: Fasting

Fasting can also be a great way to detoxify the body.

You could do a 24-hour water fast once in a while, perhaps once a month. Some people do it once a week. If you find it too difficult, you can do a fruit fast (eating only fruits for 24 hours) or a juice fast (only drinking vegetable juice).

Self-Care Practice #3: Breathe Deeply

Another excellent way to detoxify the body is through breathing.

Long, slow, and deep abdominal breathing stimulates the lymphatic system and helps remove toxins from the body. You can breathe in through the nose, counting to five and filling your lower abdomen with air, and breathe out slowly through your mouth, counting to ten while you exhale.

Self-care activities

Self-Care Practice #4: Exercise

Of course, exercising is a great way to help detoxify the body, but the best exercise for this specific purpose is probably yoga.

When you practice yoga, your organs and glands are squeezed, which helps to release the toxins and to expel them from your body.

self-care challenge

Mental Detox

A full detox also involves clearing the mental clutter. The next three practices are for a mental detox.

Self-Care Practice #5: Admit a Fault

Guilt is toxic for our minds, so if you’ve done something that you aren’t proud of, admitting your fault and apologizing will make you feel more at peace.

Self-Care Practice #6: Purifie Your Speech

Lies and gossip are also toxic. Ensure that you tell the truth as much as possible and avoid saying things about people that you wouldn’t want them to hear. The more harmonious our relationships are, the greater peace of mind we experience.

Self-Care Practice #7: Meditate

Without a doubt, meditation is one of the best tools to help clear the clutter in our minds. You can simply sit quietly and focus on your breathing for five to ten minutes. If you don’t like this method, I have a free 10-minute meditation course about what I consider to be the easiest meditation technique.

Mindful Morning Routine

Emotional Detox

Emotions have a real impact on our physical bodies. Repressed and stuck emotions often lead to physical illnesses.

A great way to release negative or stuck emotions is with a breathing technique mainly used in Kundalini Yoga called Breath of Fire. Personally, when I feel angry or stressed out, I sit down and do five minutes of this technique, and I end up feeling so much better afterward.

Self-Care Practice #8: Forgive Someone

Another powerful way to lighten our emotional toxic load is by forgiving someone.

Forgiveness means letting go of resentment and the desire for vengeance. It’s not about saying that what was done was okay, but instead it’s about releasing the energetic charge that ties you to the situation and the other person involved.

If you wish to dive deeper into the concept of true forgiveness, I recommend reading the book, True Forgiveness by Jennifer McSween; it’s very practical and helpful.

Take care of yourself

Environmental Detox

A full detox also involves clearing the clutter in your living space.

Self-Care Practice #9: Declutter Your Space

It doesn’t have to be a full-on spring-cleaning session, but perhaps you can choose one area in your house – for example, your fridge, desk, or closet – and make it clean and tidy.

The next day, focus on another area of your home.

taking better care of yourself

Contentment

According to the Yoga Sutras, another aspect of self-care is contentment (called Santosa).

“Santosa is feeling gratitude for what we have and content with who we are and where we are in life.” -Nicholai Bachman, in The Path of the Yoga Sutras

Here are two ideas that I think are helpful regarding contentment.

Self-Care Practice #10: Be Happy Now

In The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, Vishen Lakhiani (the founder of Mindvalley) wrote:

“Stop postponing your happiness. Be happy now. Your thoughts and beliefs do create your reality, but only when your present state is joyful. (…) Keep the big goals—just don’t tie your happiness to your goals. Be happy now.”

Celebrate yourself and celebrate your life as they are right now, at this moment. Something I’ve started doing is to write down three wins of the day every night before going to bed. Since I tend to feel like I’m not moving forward quickly enough in life, writing my three wins of the day makes me feel better about myself.

Self-Care Ideas

Self-Care Practice #11: Appreciate the Little Joys in Your Life

Think of the little things in your life that bring you joy – not the expensive or complicated things, but the little ones that you usually forget to appreciate.

For me, it’s to be able to wake up every morning without an alarm. It’s the delicious almond-milk mocha latte that I drink every morning. It’s having the luxury to read a book for two hours in the morning and not having to rush to go anywhere because I work from home.

So, today, try to notice the little joys in your life and be grateful for them.

“Contentment is falling in love with your life.” – Swami Rama

self care ideas diy

Positive Changes

According to the Sutras, another aspect of self-care is self-improvement through self-discipline (which is called Tapas).

It involves making choices that promote our long-term well-being rather than momentary flashes of pleasure.

Since neuroscientists say that 90% of what we do is based on conditioned responses (automatic behaviors), the best way to change our lives is probably by changing our habits.

Self-Care Practice #12: Build or Break a Habit

Think of a behavior that does not serve you – for example, eating dessert after every meal (that’s one of the bad habits that I wish I could break) – and see if you can do it less often. Or think of a good habit that you could build, such as going to the gym, and try doing it a few times a week over the course of a month and notice how you feel.

A fantastic book about habits is Atomic Habits by James Clear. If you are serious about changing your life, I believe this book is a must-read.

how to take care of yourself as a woman

Self-Study

According to the Sutras, another aspect of self-care is self-study (Svadhyaya). Self-study is about self-observation and self-reflection.

“The first step toward self-improvement and self-refinement is looking at ourselves honestly and objectively.” – Nicholai Bachman, The Path of the Yoga Sutras

Self-Care Practice #13: Journaling for Self-Improvement

One of the best practices for self-study is meditation.

However, if meditation isn’t your thing, another self-study practice that Nicolai Bachman recommends in his book is to keep a daily diary and write about the things you aren’t so proud to have done during the day and how you could have done better and continue to do better in the future.

This is a very simple journaling exercise for self-improvement.

Mindful Morning Routine

How to Plan a Self-Care Day Adapted to Your Own Specific Needs

Not long ago, I wrote an article about how to plan a self-care day uniquely adapted to your specific needs that I think would complement this one very well.

Lastly, if you want to dive deeper into the yogic philosophy and lifestyle, I highly recommend reading The Path of the Yoga Sutras by Nicolai Bachman. It’s a great book and an easy read.

See you soon!

Emilie 

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