Self-care is a lot more than just taking a bubble bath and putting on your favorite playlist. There are a lot of different factors that go into caring for yourself and it can be hard to remember all of them if you tend to be a busy person. Ultimately, you are your longest relationship, and you should and need to take the time and effort to care for your mind, body and spirit.

There are a lot of ways to care for yourself, and it’s up to you to decide what works for you and how you want to go about doing so. In general, I believe self-care requires being in touch with yourself. Knowing your limits, knowing what you do and don’t like, and simply being aware of you. It’s doing the things that make you feel good and happy and whole, and lessening doing or being around things that don’t.

Take time to dedicate to yourself in whatever way that may be - a spa trip, a nap, yoga, a mani-pedi, anything that you enjoy. Take the time and make the effort to love yourself. Embrace your flaws and everything wonderful about you. Spend time with people you love and who love you. Meditate or pray - whatever brings peace to your mind. Write out the thoughts and emotions that clutter your mind. It’s amazing how freeing that can be. Stress can be harmful to the body and mind -- and part of self-care is to take care of your mental health. Taking time for yourself can greatly relieve such stress.

You only get one body, so treat it well! Drink water, get enough sleep, use that bath bomb you’ve been dying to use, eat your fruits and veggies, go outside and be active. Taking care of yourself physically can also be rewarding mentally.

When I list ways to provide self-care, it can sound fairly easy. The hard part is actually doing it. There will be days where you lack in the area of self-care, and that’s okay. Just remember to love and respect yourself enough to get back on track. When our lives get busy, it’s easy to put ourselves as the last priority, but it’s not worth it when you let that become a habit and end up compromising so much of yourself.

Schedule in time for you and the things that bring light to your life. Listen to yourself and what your mind and body may tell you. Listen, then act. Determine what’s important to you and what you need to do in order to keep a balanced heart and mind. Caring for yourself is not selfish, it’s necessary.

“I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival."