5 Experts Share What Self Care Means To Them & How They Practice It

Recently I asked a bunch of women I admire, 'what does self care look like to you?'.

You are continuously being told to love and take care of yourself, but the ways in which you could go about doing it can kind of seem confusing, time consuming, or don't really mesh with your vibes, and what you need, right? Perhaps you need to see more. More of what this looks like in action, in the real world. 

The women that I asked to share how they define self care, and what it looks like in their life are all women that I look up to in the health, wellness and fitness industry. Some women I'm lucky enough to call friends, and other's, I deeply value how they show up in the world. So I knew they would honestly share what this looks like in their life. 

I want to dive right in, you ready?

 

Simi Botic, Health Coach

How do you define self care?

To me, self care is hearing what I need -- physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually -- and giving myself permission to take care of those needs/make fulfilling those needs a priority. It's also practicing honesty, compassion and forgiveness with myself when I don't (because YES that happens, too!).

 

How do you practice self care?

My consistent self care practices include prayer, hugs, quality time with family, fresh air, long talks with my bffs, barre classes, eating food I love, walks in the fresh air, good (STRONG!) coffee and laughing a lot.

 

Erika Hurst, Owner of Hurst Strength

How do you define Self Care?

To me, self-care is anything done deliberately to take care of my mental, physical and emotional health, to enhance my well-being and actuate my best self.

Self-care is a TOP priority to me and something I see as the most vital building block of a healthy, full life.

Coaching so many women, it breaks my heart to see so many of them neglect self-care in fear that they’re being selfish or indulgent, or that they have to take care of everything and everyone before themselves.

Which I understand, we’re nurturers, but while we may think we're taking care of everything else instead of taking care of ourselves, we're actually making ourselves less effective by doing so.

If I don’t prioritize taking care of myself, I wind up feeling resentful, frustrated, and uninspired. My relationships suffer, my productivity tanks and I wind up with a general sense of exhaustion. So I’m  constantly checking in with myself, paying attention to and listening my body’s needs.

What does self care look to you on a day to day basis?

On the daily, self-care is to me is simply doing the basics to nourish my body with what it needs to perform at its best – whatever that “best” looks like each day. For the most part, this means nourishing myself with adequate quantities of nutritious foods, performing regular structured exercise, getting at least 7 hours of sleep, moving adequately outside of the gym, soaking up sunshine and fresh air, practicing self-compassion, gratitude and mindfulness, laughing often, saying “no” to things that don’t totally excite me and putting time into self-development (reading, writing, getting out of my comfort zone, leisurely pursuits, etc).

When life throws me a curveball and leaves me unable to do all of those things, I have a small list of daily non-negotiables that I stay true to no matter what (like, we could be in the middle of the apocalypse and I would still make sure to get these things into my day):

-Prioritize protein and veggies when I eat (and take my vitamins!)

-Move daily (even if it’s just for 10-15 minutes)

-Get to bed at a decent hour

Once engaging in regular self-care became ingrained as a habit for me, my life and my demeanor completely changed. It’s made me stronger inside and out, I’m more confident, more energetic, inspired, creative, grounded and most importantly, powerful.

And this is something I wish this for all women because inherently, self-care is self-love.

 

Erin Brown, Author, Speaker & Co-host of Nasty Women Radio

How do you define self care?

Self care is nourishing myself in whatever way I need. Sometimes it’s rest, sometimes it’s a bath with whatever fancy stuff I have around. I go through spurts of different kinds of movement. Lately swimming laps while my kid plays in the pool. Putting frozen fruit in my water.

I stay flexible because my life is always throwing me curveballs and my best laid plans aren’t always possible or what I end up needing.

 

 

Catherine Chambers, Writer & NYC Based Pilates Teacher

How do you define self care?

I define self care as any conscious choice made in favor of my own joy.

Self care is balance. Some days, lots of sleep serves me best and I will cancel any and all plans to make sleep happen. Other days... I've been known to attend a friends 9 pm yoga class an hour from my apartment when I have to be in the studio at 6:30 the next morning, because yoga makes me feel amazing and I can take naps. I regularly have both of the days I just described. But I CHOOSE what day I'm having. I choose my own balance. Self care is knowing that while you can't have it all, you can have what you want.


How do you  practice it on the daily?

Comfortable shoes. Plenty of coffee. Resting often and without guilt, whether that's 8 hours of sleep, a disco nap, or just getting a little horizontal for a minute. My two favorite things to do in life - therefore two things I try and do every day - are read books and move my body. Luckily as a Pilates teacher putting herself through an MFA, I'm blessed to be able to do both of those things daily. And then of course, squishing the patriarchy. Half in jest, but half knowing that my time is hella valuable and SO IS MY BODY. I will cancel a first or second or third date in a heartbeat if I am not comfortable because, again, I'm valuable. Unnecessary stress is not something I choose.

Lastly, I have been practicing replacing the "I have to" mindset with "I get to." I get to wake up early and do what I love: teach Pilates and make people strong. I don't have to watch what I eat; I get to feed my valuable body good food, and I get to not feel guilty about what I define as good. I get to walk all over New York City every day and I get to take my dog outside at 4:30 when we have the sidewalk to ourselves and I get to live with two amazing artists in an apartment blessedly located over an Indian restaurant. I get to go to the gym and the Pilates studio and do things that make me feel strong. I get to like myself.

To sum up: Balance. No guilting yourself. Gratitude. Conscious choice.

 

Jen Comas, Co-Founder Of Girls Gone Strong, NASM Personal Trainer & Nutrition Coach

How do you define self care?

I define self-care as behaviors that contribute to your health (mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual), and enhance your well-being. Acts of self-care add to your life, and enhance it in a positive way. Self-care choices move us forward.

What does self care look like for you on a daily basis?

For me, self-care means eating nourishing foods, staying hydrated, getting plenty of sleep, moving my body often, connecting socially, giving and receiving loving touch, enjoying fresh air and some sunshine, and working on my self-development game. Self-care also means carving out some time and space just for myself every single day. This shows up in my morning ritual, which I absolutely love. Every morning I make a French press of coffee and sit out on the patio with my guy, our dogs, coffee, my journal, and my Tarot cards. I’ll pull cards, read, write, listen to my favorite music, and ease into my day as the sun comes up. This is huge part of my self-care routine.

 

What I hope you take away from this article is that self care shows up in so many different ways for EVERYONE.

Self care isn't a one size fit's all deal. 

My hope for you is that you find your own shade of self care that aligns with how you want to feel, and honors your life. 

xoxo

Rachel