12 Self-Care Commandments I Live By & So Should You

Self-love hasn’t always been easy for me. I tend to give love to those around me without really thinking of my own needs but I’m trying to change that, which is why I’ve set 12 non-negotiable self-care commandments. Maybe they’ll be helpful for you too.

  1. Take a time out. Things get stressful and I start to feel super anxious. I just need to get out! I need to jump off the train, I need to step outside the restaurant for a breather, I need to have a few minutes alone even if that means locking myself in a bathroom cubicle to clear my head. I’ve found that a bit of time to myself really works well as a reset button to give me some perspective, listen to my thoughts, and remember to chill.
  2. Schedule creative time. I love being creative but it’s not always easy when there are other things to do. The problem is that when I don’t allow myself time to be creative, I start to feel antsy and depressed. These days, I schedule in time on a weekly basis to do something creative that makes me feel fulfilled even if it’s just for an hour.
  3. Stay in tune with your basic needs. I check in with my body throughout the day, so if I’m working a lot in front of the computer, I stop and ask, “Am I OK? Do I need some sun? Do I need a snack?” This prevents me from losing myself to work and risking burning out. Ignoring your needs for extended periods of time is the easiest way to end up miserable.
  4. Listen to your gut. While you might not think of intuition as being part of self-care, I’ve learned it’s massively important. By staying in tune with those fuzzy feelings that warn me something’s wrong or someone’s shady, I steer clear of things that are bad for me. Self-care is all about bringing goodness into my life, after all, so I stay tuned into my gut feelings.
  5. “Hide” the negative stories on social media. There are loads of negative, depressing stories running around on social media. One look at them is enough to make me feel a massive drop in my mood. I’m done with letting that into my emotional space. It’s not good for my attitude and it sucks the pleasure out of my day, so I hide those stories from my newsfeed ASAP.
  6. Walk it out. I’ve recently discovered that the simple act of walking is a great way to feel happier and connect with myself after a stressful day. Feeling the breeze and sunshine on my shoulders and looking at the greenery of nature around me makes me zen.
  7. Talk to yourself. It might sound crazy, but I regularly have conversations with myself. Sometimes this includes looking straight into my eyes in the mirror and telling myself I can overcome whatever’s feeling like an obstacle. Other times, it’s reminding myself to take a deep breath and just relax. Occasionally, it’s a “good job!” compliment. When I support myself, I’m not only loving myself but I’m reminding myself that I’m worthy.
  8. Have pet therapy. There’s nothing better than seeing my furry friends doing cute things or giving me some love. They’re so cute and fluffy and full of love, and spending time with them makes me feel all fuzzy inside. They remind me of what’s really important. When I’m with them, I also feel more chill and happy, which can only be good for my health.
  9. Say no. I’ve taught myself to say no to people when I don’t want to do something even if I feel guilty. Whether it’s turning down an invitation to the gym when I really want to stay in bed late on a Sunday morning or a request for help when I have too much on my plate, I’ve found it’s really important to set that boundary. It’s really not about being selfish because I know I’ll be there for others when I can. Rather, it’s a way to say, “Hey, hold on. I’m important too and I need to look out for myself. If I don’t, who will?”
  10. Declutter. Confession: I can be quite untidy at times, but I’ve found that when I declutter my space, whether it’s my desk or my bedroom, I feel so much better and lighter! It’s a great way to help me feel more relaxed as well as energized.
  11. Save some money. It’s not always easy to get into the regular habit of saving money, but it’s an essential part of financial self-care so I try to do it as much as I can, even if it’s just about stashing away a tiny bit of cash. It makes me feel that I’m looking out for my future self and it boosts my sense of security.
  12. Do things with your appearance that feel good. It might be doing my makeup, dyeing my hair, or buying myself an inexpensive accessory simply because it looks beautiful. These little things make me feel happy because they’re an investment in my self-confidence and a visual display of taking care of myself. When I look down at my freshly-painted nails, I feel like I can take over the world!
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.