Practicing self-care isn’t about staying at a bougie hotel for the weekend, purchasing an all-new wardrobe, or opting for two desserts instead of one. The art is much more internally nourishing than that, and one that takes some time to get the hang of given our propensity to put others before ourselves. A sustainable self-care practice is about creating moments within each day, week, month, season, and year to practice the kind of meaningful self-care that makes you feel healthy and joyful in mind, body, and soul. When practiced over time, these small rituals add up to a healthier and more joyful life. If you’re not quite sure where to begin in your self-care journey, the simple suggestions we’ve outlined below will help you set off on the right path forward.

Be self-compassionate

The first step in practicing self-care is learning how to be self-compassionate. Pay attention to your self-talk and speak to yourself the way you would to someone you love. If you notice your self-talk isn’t loving, catch it and try again with care. Sometimes this can be difficult, but the key is to identify triggers and to reframe your approach when necessary. Working with a therapist can help you eliminate negative self-talk if it’s a recurring issue that you can’t seem to tackle on your own.

Nourish your body

Have you ever grabbed a bag of candy, devoured most of it, and then felt terrible, both mentally and physically, for hours after? Breaking this negative pattern and reframing the way you view food is an excellent way to practice self-care. While it’s perfectly okay to indulge in treats sometimes, viewing food as fuel that nourishes your body and then consuming things that make you feel good is important. Willpower is the wrong mental force to maintain any long-term behavioural change. Instead, figure out how to control your environment. Maybe that means keeping healthy snacks prepped and ready to devour, not shopping when you’re hungry, and opting to split dessert at a restaurant instead of keeping a box of candy in the house.

Get enough sleep every night

We’re a chronically sleep-deprived society. We now know that the vast majority of the population requires a full eight hours of sleep per night for both short-term and long-term good health, and we also know very few people get it. Many adapt to six to seven hours of sleep and feel basically okay, but studies show the risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and heart attacks rises sharply even with 30 to 60 minutes less sleep than our bodies need.

Instead of only focusing on setting an alarm to wake up, experts also suggest setting one to go to sleep. To figure out a good bedtime, start with when you need to wake up and count back eight hours.

Keep a gratitude journal

It’s easy to lose sight of positivity, especially when work and personal stress seems to be at its height. In these moments, writing down the things you’re grateful for can help you feel better.

Even in the midst of a crappy day, reminding yourself of gratitude – whether it’s the sun, a productive meeting at work, a special moment with family, or simply that your day is over and tomorrow brings a fresh start – can reframe the day. The more you practice gratitude, the more it becomes a natural part of your life.


In addition to eliminating negative self-talk, sleeping enough, and writing down the things you’re thankful for, meditation is another excellent way to practice self-care.

A consistent meditation practice can be life-changing. It’s even been scientifically proven to reduce stress, increase feelings of empathy, improve focus, boost the immune system, and slow the signs of aging. To start, we recommend using apps to access a variety of different styles of meditation to see what works for you.

Enjoy some nature bathing

Nature bathing is simply the practice of spending deliberate time outdoors to appreciate the living Earth around you. Seek out daily opportunities to be in nature. Walk in the woods, go for a hike, walk along the beach, do some gardening, anything in nature that resonates with you will do. Expose yourself to the beauty of nature and reap the benefits. Immersing yourself in nature calms the central nervous system, elevates your mood, and increases energy levels. The effects of the benefits are felt for hours and days post-immersion.