We hear it all the time, so what is self-care and self-love? I mean, are we talking blowing kisses at the mirror or is there more to it?
To keep it simple, self-care is tending to your mind, body, and spiritual needs; and self-love is accepting yourself for who you are.
Embracing both into your life is crucial for mental emotional growth and strengthens the bond between you and your spirit.
And while there are similarities between self-care and self-love, a little understanding can go a long way.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a great idea of the similarities and differences between self-care and self-love and how to use each to profoundly enhance your soul’s journey.
What’s the Difference Between Self-Care and Self-Love?
The dictionary defines the two as follows:
Self-care: “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health; care for oneself; health care provided by oneself often without the consultation of a medical professional”.
Self-love: “love of self; an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue; regard for one’s own well-being and happiness”.
Does self-care mean you stitch up a cut instead of going to a doctor - nope! But it does mean that instead of looking outside yourself for healing, you look inward.
Many cultures believe that spiritual or emotional turmoil can lead to physical disease. Therefore, pausing to take an honest look at yourself may reveal the why behind physical disharmony. Then, it becomes your responsibility to make the changes required (self-care or caring for oneself) to improve your overall health and well-being.
Examples of Self-Care are:
- Creative Expression
- Spiritual Expression
- Proper Sleep
Does self-love mean narcissistic mental chatter - nope! It means you give a darn about yourself enough to take care of yourself. This could be as simple as not talking negatively about your body shape, or speaking up for yourself in difficult situations.
Examples of Self-Love are:
- Positive affirmations
- Encouraging Self-talk
- Setting Intentions
- Setting Healthy Boundaries
- Emotional Awareness
- Trusting in your Abilities
Similarities Between Self-Care and Self-Love
As you can see, while the definition does vary some from self-care to self-love, the act of self-care itself is an expression of self-love.
To care for yourself IS to love yourself. And similarly, to love yourself IS to take care of yourself. Truly, they’re one in the same.
So, what can YOU do to start practicing BOTH starting today?
Self-Care AND Self-Love Practices
Regardless of what you want to call it, practicing self-care is an important practice.
Here are some practical ways to incorporate it into your daily routine.
Take Care of Your Body
The human mind is closely connected to the human body. So when our bodies are healthy our minds are automatically healthier by default. While taking care of your body can seem overwhelming in the beginning, here are some practical tips that everyone can use to start.
Get plenty of sleep
Aim for 7-9 hours a night. If that’s not possible, just try moving your bedtime 30 minutes earlier at first.
This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym for an hour every day. Start small. Try a 10-minute yoga workout. Go for a walk after dinner. With all the online streaming available, you can find some kind of guided exercise to start where you’re at.
Eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables
Rather than overriding your diet into a paleo, keto, macro, low-calorie mess of confusion, try simply making sure you are eating a variety of colors of fruits and vegetables a day to get maximum nutrition.
Take Care of Your Mind and Spirit
Calming your inner thoughts is the first step to achieving inner peace. When you can find ways to cope with life’s stresses in a healthy and positive way, you truly have the potential to transform your life.
There are hundreds of YouTube videos and apps available to walk you through the first steps of meditation. The act of clearing your mind and repeating positive affirmations can help rewire the way your brain thinks while lowering your cortisol levels and reducing stress.
Take a relaxing bath
Light some candles, play some soothing music, and enjoy a soak that engages all 5 senses. Incorporate aromatherapy with a natural, essential-oil based soap.
Whether you type it up on a computer or buy a fancy moleskin notebook, get into the practice of writing how you’re feeling down on paper. It’s a cleansing and cathartic experience that can help you release your negative emotions into the world and allow you new headspace for a positive outlook.
And this just scratches the surface of the abundance of self-care and self-love practices you can incorporate into your day.
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Whether you call it self-love or self-care, the practice of filling our own cups is an important process that is often overlooked. Numerous studies have touted the health benefits, both mental and physical, of taking time to reduce stress and anxiety while increasing your feel-good endorphins.
We can’t take care of others or be the person we were made to be when we aren’t at our best.
With these few small changes you too can transform your mind body and soul with self-care practices that nurture your spirits.
Skincare for Self-Care
At Nefertem, we believe that the most private, personal time of your day (while you bathe) is the perfect time to incorporate a spiritual self-care practice to show yourself some love!