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The one simple hack that will improve your self-love routine

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Photo: Instagram/@nitikachopra

If you think self-love needs to be some totally transformative exercise that leaves you sobbing all over your yoga mat, there’s a good chance you’re unnecessarily complicating things. In fact, according to beauty and lifestyle expert Nitika Chopra, it’s simpler than you think: Listen to what you want.

“A lot of the time we’re searching for this super deep, nirvana moment and we’re not taking in all the little moments,” the self-love guru said at the New York City–set W.E.L.L. Summit in early November. “There don’t have to be tears involved. It can literally be being in a constant inquiry, figuring out what you like and what makes you light up.”

“A lot of the time we’re searching for this super deep, nirvana moment and we’re not taking in all the little moments. There don’t have to be tears involved.” —Nitika Chopra

When you see Instagrammers practicing self-love by writing in their journals or using their favorite face masks, you might wonder if that’s what you need to reach optimal self-love goals. But really, it’s all about finding the things that make you—and only you—happy.

This means you absolutely need to get to know yourself well, which, according to Chopra, “is a really safe, nice way to start exploring the self-love conversation.”

She adds that it’s totally plausible for no two self-love routines to be identical—Chopra doesn’t love yoga the way her BFFs do, so instead she treats herself to a caffeinated libation. “There’s this place near my apartment called Joe Coffee, and it’s like my boyfriend—I post about Joe all the time,” she said. “They have oat-milk lattes there that genuinely make me so ridiculously happy in the morning. So knowing that about myself has actually made a huge difference [in my self-care routine].”

So take the time to and figure out what makes you you—one coffee or boutique fitness class or Netflix binge at a time—and you’ll get there. No tears required.

This Instagrammer reimagines stretch marks into glittery works of self-love art. And this is how 11 wellness pros define self-love.