Self-care means many things.
Caring for ourselves is not only highly restorative but essential—we know that the better we take care of ourselves, the better we can care for each other.
As the world faces a pandemic—alone together, as we’re called to weather the storm in solitude—we’re asking our community: what does self-care mean to you?
From the YTTP family and our community, here’s what some of us are doing to practice self-care:
“Nothing has been more impactful for me than continuing to move around! It’s so easy to simply sit in one spot when at home; to work, to watch movies, to read, etc. I find if I stay stagnant in one spot for too long, my mindset similarly feels stuck. Whether it’s moving to different rooms in my apartment or getting out of the house to go on a walk, the change in scenery has been making all the difference. I’ve walked the trails behind my apartment every day since Monday and want to continue with the routine as long as the weather cooperates.”
—Alyssa Jenkins, Tacoma, Washington
“I think self-care means acknowledging that we have different views on things and that people might not understand the way we think. And that's okay.
My self-care routine has been about going on a solo trip, going to new places, trying different foods, and finding cute coffee shops where I can spend time thinking about nothing while watching people passing by. I also like to pamper myself with facial treatments or massages/spas. For me, it's really important that we spend time alone and really connect with our inner selves, reminding ourselves of our own values and reflecting on life. Only when we get comfortable being alone can we understand that happiness starts with us.”
—Divabella Lay, Jakarta, Indonesia
“What I do everyday (or try to do everyday) is get out of the house. And no, I don't mean going to some busy place full of bustle and noise. I go out to a park near my house, sit on a bench for a while, and just completely disconnect from all electronics and connect entirely to the world around me. I set my phone down, and look at the sky, the trees, the grass, and listen to the noises of nature.
I recommend going out and appreciating nature. It may seem silly but it truly makes you realize what a beautiful world we live in, and allows the heart and mind to be at ease for a little while.”
—Kara Bolin, Florida
“Self-care looks different every day. During these times, weirdly enough I’m beginning to be more in tune with my needs and what I want my future to look like. I usually start the day with cooking vegan food, reaching out into the garden for some herbs or spices, then brewing some coffee, and making a mental note of what to keep busy with.
I’ve had more time to indulge in skincare and wellness, taking the time to do each step, followed by doing some type of makeup look.
I’ll read under the tree in my yard and listen to nature. Home for me is a peaceful place and it’s where I thrive and recharge for the world.
I’ve had the luxury of expanding my food garden to almost a quarter acre of the property. All the things that I take for granted sometimes are what’s getting me through this time. My advice would be to look inside and check-in with yourself and do what you love. Self-care is always important.”
—Luis Barbosa, San Diego, California
“Self-care is honesty with oneself. Knowing when to say no and when to say yes, knowing when to take a break and when to push yourself, and finally, knowing when to engage and when to disengage. Something I aspire to achieve fully with each and every day is to be undeniably and unapologetically myself.
This is not an easy feat. We cannot possibly be true to ourselves if we do not take the time to honestly discover who we are, both the good and the bad. The ability to self-reflect and critically analyze our feelings, thoughts and behaviors is such a gift. It means we carry the potential to identify, challenge or correct parts of ourselves we deem to be problematic and accept others without guilt or justification. It also means we alone hold the power to grow.
Self-care is movement. It is growing and working towards our full potential. Moving in a positive direction physically, emotionally, and spiritually all while encouraging and empowering those around us to do the same—but also not holding oneself responsible for their actions.
So, during this uncertain time, journal, meditate, reflect, learn, read, inspire, and be inspired, but most importantly seek to understand yourself. Your deepest and truest self, as scary as that may sound. And live by that self, undeniably and unapologetically.
The best thing I'm doing for my self-care these days is staying consistent with my morning routine. It starts with a 15-20 minute meditation, journaling, and sometimes a tarot card pull for fun. Then I dry brush, body oil, and hop into a cold shower for a minute or two! Next up is SUNSHINE! Around this time the SUN is hitting my outside balcony perfectly, so I grab a green juice and head out there to get vitamin D on my skin.”
—Jessica Greeley, Quebec, Canada
“Right now, I’m finding joy in watching the light move in through the living room windows in the morning, in how the branches of the trees leave shadows on the wall above the sofa, how the sun bounces off a mirrored surface, leaving little prisms everywhere. I have the time to enjoy their movement now, shifting closer to the edge of the room until the sun rises higher than this second-story window.
I moved into this apartment just over a month ago, and we’re getting to know each other; I’m settling in and making this place my home. I’m warming the whole place by cooking food for myself, cleaning the air in these rooms by opening the windows, burning incense. I’m drinking water poured from a glass pitcher I keep on my nightstand, and moving to different spaces in this apartment throughout the day. I’m building a relationship with this place. It’s self-care—and It feels good—to give energy to making a place my home.”
—Alyssa Shapiro, Los Angeles, California
“I’m finding joy in discovering that I can cook more than just eggs! No wonder there’s a book called “The Joy of Cooking.” My go-to is chicken noodle soup. One day, I want to open up a small, very narrow noodle shop with just enough seating for people to slurp soup from the counter and call it NuNu’s Noodles.”
—Jamie Somphanthabansouk, Downtown Los Angeles, California
“It's kind of a whole day thing for me, and typically it's every second to every third Sunday.
After waking up and grabbing my bearings, I go to the living room, light nag champa incense, play classical Indian music, sit in the living room (criss-cross applesauce), and do breathwork. I keep my eyes closed, bring my attention to the warmth of the sunlight flowing across my face and focus on my breath. I feel my lungs fill with air, exhale, inhale again, and feel my legs connected to the rug, connected to the hardwood floor, connected to the earth below it, until I am so centered and zen that I don't even realize I am here. I'll chill like that for about half an hour.
After that, I come back to where I am and open my eyes slowly. Then I move into yoga to stretch my body. After yoga, it's a super healthy breakfast. I do some cardio two hours after that to work off any pent up energy from the week and then generally focus on doing things that make me feel good. Usually, this includes (terrible, but fun) guitar playing, and sitting at the park, oceanside, meditating.
At the end of the night, I will draw a bath, light some candles, play some ambient rainforest music and bring a glass of wine with me to the tub. I end everything with a full YTTP routine: Superfood Cleanser, Reset Mask, rinse, Kombucha Toner, Adaptogen Mist, Dream Mask, Superfood Eye Cream. Brush my teeth, read a couple of pages of whatever I'm reading that week, head to bed and sleeeeeeppppppppppp (my favorite part of every single day).”
—Bryan Montalvo, Long Beach, California
“I am finding self-care in exploring my creativity through taking pictures. After all of this I might even want to buy a fancy camera! I am also deepening my mediation practice and moving my body every day.”
—Jessie Giammalva, Los Angeles, California
“I’m currently finding joy in caring for myself by cooking nourishing meals from what I have available, diving deep into my kitchen cabinet and losing myself in recipes that I’d ordinarily deem too complicated for work days. Giving myself extra points for listening to favorite albums and dancing in the process. Bonnie Light Horseman is the current go-to.”
—Madeline Davis, Los Angeles, California
“Self-care has been picking up the book that’s been on my nightstand for a couple of months now and actually finishing it. I’ll put on meditation music and zone out for ten minutes, then journal about what thoughts come up. I’ve been challenging myself and learning how to paint with watercolor—YouTube is my best friend right now.
Checking in on my friends and family has been the biggest form of self care at the moment.
Therapy over the phone is up there too. Oh yeah ... and snuggling with my pups.”
—Alexa Garcia, Orlando, Florida
“A couple weeks ago if you were to ask me this question, I would have told you self-care is about making time for yourself to help restore your wellbeing. For me it's cleaning, creating art, reading books, doing my skincare routine, yoga, connecting with friends/family and meditating. I still stand by these practices but I've also discovered a new way to amplify my self-care. I have anxiety, so my brain loves to focus on anything and everything that can go wrong. Recently, I challenged myself to not judge my negative inner dialogue or my inner fears. Instead I let those thoughts have their moment and then let them go. I remind myself of something positive and focus on it. I nourish and cultivate positive thoughts and by doing this my days have become significantly brighter. Self-care for me has become all about daily gratitude and positivity.”
—Megan Martin, South Florida