Opening the Door to Self-Care

This beneficial practice is about more than pampering.

The benefits of self-love and self-care.

(Olga Streunikova /

Self-love, self-care, self-compassion; these are concepts that come up in wellness conversations all the time. Therapists and coaches, magazines, wellness experts; it seems like everyone has something to say about its benefits. Social media is full of helpful memes, videos and tips as well.  And when exploring the subject more deeply, it is clear that there is so much more to it than meets the eye.

In essence, self-love may be seen as a state of appreciation for oneself that stems from taking action to support our physical, spiritual and psychological growth — and the worth that true self-love can bring can be nothing short of life changing.   

Self-love is a value system too!

Practicing self-love and self-care is positive and highly beneficial. Multiple studies by psychologists, explains Medical News Today, prove the benefits of this practice to people’s mental health and general wellbeing. Self-love and taking care of ourselves is actually a necessity and not just a fad. But what is self-love really?

Self-love, says Psych Central, means that a person fully accepts themselves. It means a person treats themself with respect and kindness. And it means that they nurture their wellbeing and their growth, so it is about our thoughts, emotions and feelings as well and not just our actions and behaviors.

Some examples of true self-love include prioritizing health and wellbeing, living in accordance with one's values, feeling comfortable asking for help, recognizing and valuing feelings and emotions, challenging oneself and pursuing one's interests and goals. 

Sure, bubble baths are highly enjoyable activities and can be a pampering ritual that someone may enjoy  as an expression of self-care. At the same time, the first list goes deeper into who a person is. Enjoyable activities are therefore an expression and side effect of the practice of true self-love.

Self-care is taking care of multiple practical and emotional aspects of life.

(desdemona72 /

The expressions of self-care

People are different. Each individual needs, wants and enjoys different things. This is what relationships expert Jessica O’Reilly means when discussing the expressions of self-love with Global News, explaining that it can be almost anything that makes a person feel good — because every person’s self-love and self-care list will and should look different.

When we prioritize our wellbeing and are in touch with ourselves, we will probably have an easier time knowing when to slow down, when to take breaks, etc. So things like going to the spa and getting a massage can definitely have a place in our self-care routines and be an expression of us loving ourselves. And as O’Reilly mentioned, it will look different for each individual.

Young woman meditating at home.

(Kite_rin /

Overcoming challenges with self-love

O’Reilly believes self-love has to do with self-compassion, in other words, being kind with ourselves. She also thinks that trauma is one of the main factors that prevents people from loving themselves. And one of the ways to help ourselves overcome obstacles is to learn to listen to ourselves.

During difficult times, people can ask themselves “What do I need?”. Learning to be mindful of the answer and to validate it can be very healing. It is an act of self-compassion. Which means that even, or maybe especially, through challenges, one can practice self-love.

Overcoming challenges through self-clove

(KieferPix /