Some days, self-love comes easy—like when your braided ponytail is on point, your bank balance is strong, and you’ve just scored the big promotion you’ve been after.
But at other times, it can be really hard to muster up a kind word for yourself. Maybe you overslept and missed your morning boot camp…again. Maybe you’re going through a breakup (just in time for Valentine’s Day!), or you feel overwhelmed at work.
While that judgy little voice in your head may be loud—and, let’s face it, we all have one—there are lots of things you can do to turn down its volume.
Not sure where to start? For inspiration, I asked fitness instructors, healers, wellness entrepreneurs, and other healthy role models to share their go-to acts of self-love.
The range of their answers makes it clear that there’s no one-size-fits-all ritual for feeling yourself. Finding something that makes you happy is what’s important, whether it’s breaking a sweat while shaking your booty, sitting still in silence, or digging into some mac and cheese—vegan, natch.
Keep reading to learn more about the daily self-love rituals of 11 wellness all-stars.
Nikisha Brunson, co-founder of Urban Bush Babes and creator of Folie Apothecary
For me, it’s more like go-to practices for cultivating self-love on a daily basis.
Some form of exercise or movement—weights, dance, yoga—reminds me of how amazing the body can be and makes me feel strong, healthy, and sexy.
Cooking a good, healthy meal not only [makes] my body feel good, but it’s an art form for me, which gives me a sense of pride.
Sharing health and wellness tips, along with personal experiences, on social media reminds me that I have a purpose. Each time I share flaws or failures, it’s okay because I’m human and I’m not alone. The vulnerability helps me accept all the imperfections and move past them. There is nothing more beautiful than being vulnerable. And inspiring others keeps me inspired.
Jeannette Ogden, creator of Shut the Kale Up
Self-love is a biggie for me. I always had a big heart for everyone but myself growing up, until I hit my mid-20s. As the years go by, I feel more and more confident in my skin. Why? Because of all that my body does for me; it’s strong, healthy, and keeps me moving and grooving!
I have so much respect for [my body’s] capabilities. Growing a healthy baby was the most significant thing it’s ever done, and I won’t ever take it for granted.
Looking at your life and how far you’ve come because of your perfectly working body should help you look at yourself with compassion and love. Tell yourself you are beautiful and take a closer look at your individuality. There’s no one else like you—how cool is that?! You’re one of a kind.
Brandi Sellers-Jackson, doula and founder of Not So Private Parts
Between being a mother and [a] doula—and just wearing multiple hats—sometimes carving out a ritual of self-love can prove to be a bit daunting.
My go-to practice of self-love ebbs and flows a bit. There are days where my practice may look like a quick, heart-centered yoga session. There are other times where I will cook a meal for myself, as if I’m my own very special guest—table setting included.
With that being said, whatever my ritual may look like during that particular moment in time, it’s flowing with intention.
Lacey Stone, celebrity fitness trainer featured on Khloe Kardashian’s Revenge Body
Self-love is so important with the culture we live in today. Everything is about go, go, go these days, and sometimes we need to slow, slow, slow. I do two things that help me stay balanced and focused on what’s really important.
Every day, I make sure I have at least an hour of silence to myself. My job is about giving, and that alone time is something I cherish giving back to my myself.
Every two weeks, I book a deep-tissue massage—a new hotspot for massage in LA is The Now. What I do is very taxing on my body, so it’s important that I take care of it and not let the kinks become chronic issues. It’s my duty to practice what I preach to my clients.
Priscilla Tsai, founder of Cocokind skin care
My go-to self-love practice is creating my own wellness recipes. Whether it’s skin care or food, discovering and utilizing natural ingredients is such a persistently interesting and calming process for me.
When I cook, I’m totally unplugged from the world and able to concentrate on being present in the moment. There’s something special about creating something healthy for your body to consume—it ends up being healthy for my mind. It’s my favorite activity to do on the weekends, but I’m creating and developing something new at least three-to-four times a week. Luckily for me, my work gives me the excuse to do it during the weekdays, too!
Keaira LaShae, dancer, choreographer, and BeFit trainer
I listen to positive affirmations. I speak them as well, and I only surround myself with good energy and uplifting people.
I make sure to take time out for myself, especially since I’m super busy. It’s crucial that I have “me time” and do things that make me happy—like dancing, working out, eating clean, and having spa days with my bestie!
Erin Telford, acupuncturist, herbalist, breathwork facilitator, and energy healer
I practice self-love by meeting all self-critical thoughts with compassion and kindness every time they come up.
I went on a retreat last year, and a lot of self-judgement and shame started coming up strongly a couple of days before I left. I was the first one to speak in the opening circle and the tears started to flow. My teacher asked me to witness myself when I started to tell myself that I wasn’t good enough. He told me to raise my hand and call myself out, and he continued to check in with me to see when the critical voice was coming in.
It’s amazing to see how, when you shine a light on something, it softens. I continue to use this practice on a daily basis. Whenever I judge myself or criticize myself, I meet that voice with love, tenderness, and gentleness.
Cristen Barker and Kimberly Hise, yogis and creators of The Chin Twins
CB: My ultimate self-indulgence is to meditate. I would love to say I do it daily, but the reality of working and raising two children makes it difficult to squeeze in every day. Creating calm in your mind is the biggest gift you can give to yourself and to those around you. I’m a better wife, mother, and worker when I’m coming from a place of interacting, not reacting to situations around me.
Self-love can be an extra-long shower, a manicure, a juicy yoga class. Anytime we carve out time [for] ourselves, we’re reminded of why we do the things we do—why we work so hard, and why we sacrifice for those we love. Self-love is the fuel that will get you through the day and the spark that will help you do it with a smile on your face.
KH: For me, self-love is allowing space in my life just to be. So my go-to practice looks different each time I create that space.
With three young children and a teaching schedule, I can easily find myself running in that hamster wheel just to get it all done. I’ve learned to let go and not to compare myself to others. I make space by leaving dirty dishes in the sink from time to time. The time I take out each day to meditate or to practice yoga or just to sit and have a cup of tea with my cat will help calm me for the demands of a busy family life.
Tonya Lewis Lee, producer, author, and founder of Movita Organics supplements
My best self-love practice is working out four times a week. Working out, for me, keeps everything else in check: I eat better, drink less, sleep better, and just generally feel better. Making sure I get that endorphin rush regularly is the best way I can think of to love myself.
Lauren Imparato, yoga instructor and author of Retox
I use a combination of yoga, food, mindfulness, and music to cultivate self-love in typical retox form.
Sometimes I struggle to love myself, and what I need to do is blast a fave song and dance around alone to overcome whatever self-loathing or judgement is taking place in my head. Other times, I need to sweat it out, [or] I need to read or breathe in quiet. And other [times], I need to literally feed myself a meal or drink that my body or mind craves.
We are too dynamic as humans, tangible and intangible, to have just one way to love ourselves, especially given how complex and stressful life is these days. Instead, I pull from a toolkit, so no matter what is going on in my head, I can find a way to embrace myself from the inside-out and outside-in.