In the digital age of social media and editing apps like Photoshop and Facetune, it can be difficult to love yourself instead of getting caught up in comparisons and perpetuating self-loathing.
To learn how different people practise self-love, we asked 20 people about what their self-love rituals look like. These are some of their responses.
1. Do what you’re passionate about
When you’re feeling down about yourself, an important way to embrace self-love is to do what you’re passionate about and remind yourself how talented and passionate you are. Whether it’s swimming, painting, reading, or whatever hobby you enjoy, look to your passions when you’re feeling down about yourself.
2. Dress up for no reason
If you’re struggling with self-love in terms of your appearance, it can be helpful to hit the reset button and do a 360 with your look, especially if your self-loathing occurs when you haven’t showered, brushed your teeth, or gotten ready for the day.
Even if you’re not going anywhere, take some time to get clean, do your hair and makeup, and put on an outfit that you feel confident in, and you’ll see your mood improve.
3. Do a face mask or skincare routine
Taking care of yourself is a crucial aspect of self-love, so focus on skincare and do a face mask or just clean your face! It sounds simple, but pampering yourself and prioritising these routines will help you see the value in self-love.
Exercise is proven to boost your mood, so why not workout when you’re struggling with self-love? Not only is it great for your physical health, but it will benefit your mental health as well. Plus, it’s important to take care of yourself when practising self-love.
5. List what you love about yourself
For lovers of making lists, you can easily practise self-love by sitting down and writing a list about what you love about yourself. If you’re deep in self-loathing this may take some time, but getting yourself in a positive head space will improve how you view yourself, and you can reflect on this list the next time you’re feeling down.
6. Adjust how you talk to yourself
Part of the reason we need to practise self-love is that we get into the habit of practising self-hatred instead, looking at our insecurities in the mirror instead of our beauty and being too hard on ourselves.
When you’re talking negatively to yourself, think: ‘Would I say this to a friend or family member?’ If the answer is no, stop saying it to yourself. If you won’t treat yourself with kindness, how can you expect other people to treat you well?
7. Start a gratitude journal
If you’re looking to implement self-love into your daily routine, a gratitude journal is a perfect way to start viewing your life more positively and thus seeing yourself in a better light as well. Your list can be handwritten or digital, whatever works best for you, but make sure to keep this habit up every day for the best results.
8. Separate yourself from toxic people
How can you embrace self-love if you’re surrounded by toxic people who perpetuate your self-hatred? If you notice that certain friends or even family members prohibit you from loving yourself by reminding you of your insecurities or bad qualities, try to distance yourself from these people so you can fully start loving yourself.
9. Take time to reflect
One of the most common ways to practise self-love is to simply sit with yourself and reflect on how you’re doing and what you’re struggling with. By getting to know yourself, you will be better equipped to improve your self-image and know what self-love methods work best for you.
10. Go on a date with yourself
Taking someone on a date is a way to show you care for them, so why not take yourself on a date to embrace self-love? It can be intimidating to go to dinner or the movies alone, so you can ease into this by having a Netflix and chill night with yourself, complete with a glass of wine (if you’re of age) and some sugary snacks.
Otherwise, think of your perfect date that you’d like a romantic partner to take you on, and then do that with yourself!
11. Recharge one day a week
Self-love isn’t all about doing things. In fact, letting yourself recharge physically and mentally is necessary to make sure you don’t burn out and can continue to function well.
When life gets too overwhelming or you’re struggling with self-love, take a day to do nothing and speak to no one and fully focus on getting yourself back to a healthy place.
12. Remind yourself how unique you are
Recognising your best qualities is an important part of self-love, so if you’re struggling with comparison, try to remind yourself about what sets you apart from other people. Maybe it’s your heritage, or your achievements, or the way you make other people laugh.
Whatever it may be, think about the positive qualities you possess that others will never have, and embrace it!
Volunteering can be a great way to escape from your own negative thoughts about yourself and help those who are less fortunate, in turn reminding yourself how fortunate you are and how small your problems are in the grand scheme of life.
You can volunteer at an animal shelter or homeless shelter, pick up trash, spend time in an elderly home, or donate food to a food bank. The options are endless!
14. Spend time with family
Your family will always be there for you, and they will love you even when you are struggling to love yourself. By spending time with people who know you best, you will not only be more comfortable but you will also remind yourself of how loved you are and get out of your own head.
15. Treat yourself
Treating yourself is usually synonymous with self-love for most people, and if you have money to spend on yourself and notice that this improves your well-being, there’s no shame in going on a shopping spree or getting your nails done if it helps you feel better!
16. Take selfies
Though it can be perceived as shallow, taking selfies with a Snapchat filter or editing them on VSCO after, or even with no filter at all, is a popular way to practise self-love because you can begin to see yourself as beautiful and admire your good qualities.
Don’t be ashamed if you have a folder of selfies on your phone, especially if you notice it improving your self-image and your mood!
17. Stay off social media
Social media can be a huge opponent in self-love because scrolling through Instagram and comparing yourself to supermodels on your feed can seriously lessen your feelings of self-worth and your self-image.
If you notice this effect when you go on social media, either unfollow the people that leave you feeling down about yourself or just spend time off social media altogether!
18. Have a bath
If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or just wanting to relax, a common way to practise self-love is by setting yourself a hot bath, lighting some candles, and letting your worries escape you.
19. Explore nature
For lovers of the outdoors, exploring nature is an ideal self-love method because it allows you to get outside (which improves your mood), spend time with your thoughts, and remind yourself how big the world is. It’s difficult to continue on your spiralling thoughts of self-loathing when you’re surrounded by beauty and calm.
20. Ask for help
Most importantly, if you’re struggling with self-love, ask for help! Whether you’re reaching out to a friend, a family member, or a professional, it’s helpful to get out of your own head and talk through your negative perception of yourself. There’s no shame in asking for help; in fact, by asking for yourself, you’re valuing your mental health, which is the definition of self-love.