The Intersection of Self-Care and Self-Love

Self-care is more than face masks, wine, or canceling plans. Self-care is all about taking care of your own wellness needs (both proactively and retroactively), and it is a critical component of self-love. In order to love yourself, you need to prioritize yourself.

The article below is adapted from Dr. Shainna Ali’s bestselling book, The Self-Love Workbook all about the importance of self-care, and tips to practice self-care to refill your wellness cup, take care of your own needs, and move yourself further down the path of self-love.

“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”
—Aldous Huxley

The Self-Love Workbook, self love, self love techniques

Self-care is a holistic process that we all need in order to foster presence, engagement, wellness, and self-love. Self-care is not a singular skill. Instead, self-care includes a wide variety of tasks tailored to meet your diverse needs. Although there may be similarities between self-care strategies, self-care is subjective and tends to vary from person to person. Common dimensions of self-care include physical, creative, spiritual, natural, social, and personal. Examples of self-care activities include getting adequate sleep, practicing mindfulness, taking part in hobbies, and meditation.

Oftentimes, self-care is easier said than done. Nevertheless, it is important to give yourself the ability to reflect on and tend to your wellness. Neglecting your personal needs can cause you to suffer from deterioration in wellness and self-love. For example, you may notice increases in anxiety, distractibility, anger, and fatigue. You may also experience decreases in sleep, relationship satisfaction, self-esteem, empathy, and compassion. Ongoing exposure to stress without proper self-care can put you at risk for serious consequences such as depression and heart disease.

Therefore, self-care is a continuous process of proactively considering and tending to your needs and maintaining your wellness. As a preventative measure, self-care helps you to consider and implement strategies prior to being faced with challenges. As a coping skill, self-care helps you to recognize when a new need calls for your attention. As an ongoing process, self-care helps you to develop resilience and compassion for yourself in your overall journey of self-love.

Self-care can be tricky. It is easy to forget to take care of yourself, particularly before your loved ones. When you are low on energy and short on time, you may be especially likely to give up your own needs for the sake of someone else. Over time this can be dangerous. Also, when caring for others, it is helpful to demonstrate the importance of taking care of yourself to set an example and deter them from self- neglect as well.

If someone you know is stranded on the side of the road because their car ran out of gas, do you empty your gas tank for them? Instead, you would likely use what you have to help that person get gas for their tank. Although kind, giving up all of your gas to help someone else creates a new problem altogether. The more effective way would be to fill your tank so you can better help someone fill theirs.

Self-Care Activities

Here are some activities that will give you self-care ideas and make a self-care plan!

Activity Suggestion: Fill Your Cup

Reflect on the ways you fill your cup through self-care. Try to come up with at least 3 ways. Then dig a little deeper and journal the following questions:
– Why do you turn to these specific methods?
– When you follow through with these examples, how do you feel?
– When you lack the time or energy to follow through with these examples, do you notice a difference?

Activity Suggestion: My Wellness Plan

Think about all the ways you practice self-care and wellness. What makes you feel good, fulfilled, confident, rested and loved? Now, make a plan to incorporate these activities into your life.

– In loving myself, these are the things I would like to do for my wellness on a daily basis
– In loving myself, these are the things I would like to do for my wellness on a twice a week basis.
– These are the things I would like to do for my wellness on a weekly basis
– On a twice a month basis
– On a monthly basis
At least once per season
At least once per year

Journal each of these out, write a plan, and then follow it! This will help you make sure you are giving yourself consistent self-care and not allowing your tank to hit “empty.”

For more from Dr. Shainna, see her self-love books, or visit her website at!