Self-Care vs. Self-Love: How To Live Your Best Life

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Most people are terrible at practicing both self-care and self-love. If you ask your friends about this, they might get the two mixed up! I know I used to… and I bet you do too! Now I finally know the difference between self-care vs. self-love, I’m excited to be sharing this with you today!

Still wondering, is self-care and self-love the same thing? How do you know the difference between the two of them? They sound SO similar. Self-care is not self-love, that’s for sure.

Once I started on my personal growth journey to live my best life, I quickly learned that self-care and self-love are completely separate things. Sure, they have some overlapping qualities, but each has a unique purpose and benefits. 

Self-love is about truly accepting yourself for who you are, showing yourself kindness and compassion and coming to terms with your strengths and limits whereas self-care is about taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental health.

So, how can you tell if what you’re doing is self-care or self-love? Let’s break each one down and look at some self-care and self-love ideas to distinguish them from one another, starting with self-love! 

Self-Care vs. Self-Love: What Is Self-Love?

Have you ever been asked if you’re in a loving relationship and immediately snapped to the thought of a spouse or partner? While that could be one example of self-love in a relationship, it shouldn’t be the only good relationship in your life. 

What about your relationship with yourself? 

At its core, self-love is about finding and accepting yourself for who you are—it doesn’t have anything to do with someone else.

It’s about appreciating your value, strengths, beauty, and worth. It’s also about understanding what you need, being confident in your skin, asking for help, and accepting your perceived flaws. 

self care vs. self love

Overall, self-love means having a healthy relationship with yourself. Only then can you have a healthy relationship with someone else too.

A big part of self-love is your mental health. You might even hear me say self-love and mental health go together like peanut butter and jelly because they do! 

If you want to be your best self, you need to wrap your mind around this. And I know it can be hard to do. That’s where following some of these self-love tips can be beneficial.

Self-Care vs. Self-Care: Examples Of Self-Love Practices

Replace Negative Thoughts

Whether you have low self-esteem or notice that you’re stuck in a negative thought spiral, replacing those thoughts with something neutral or positive can be a great way to start practicing more self-love.

For example, it’s the morning, and you’re getting ready for work.

You wear your pants and notice yourself thinking, “Ugh, I’m so fat.” Instead of letting that thought sit with you for the rest of the day, try saying something more neutral or favorable to yourself, such as, “I am a wonderful person no matter what, and I have the power to take control of my physical health.” 

Practicing more positive self-talk like this can help foster more self-love activities long term. A great way to do this is by writing yourself a love letter.  

You can also write down some self care and self love quotes while journaling which will have a great impact on your mental health (I know they do on mine).

Speak Positive Affirmations

Okay, let me say it. Affirmations have gotten a bad rap over the years. But that doesn’t mean they don’t work! 

The key is understanding how affirmations work so you can use them properly. Because, let me tell you, standing in front of the mirror telling yourself things you genuinely don’t believe aren’t going to help you practice self-love. 

The goal with speaking (or writing) positive affirmations is to pick words and phrases that speak directly to your values, beliefs, and goals.

For example, if you struggle with feeling exhausted, you might want to say something like, “I am worthy of feeling energized and powerful.” This way, you’re speaking to the heart of what you need—not just telling yourself something untrue. 

When done correctly, affirmations can be a powerful tool to practice more self-love and improve positive feelings within yourself. 

Establish Healthy Boundaries

We all have our limits, and it’s important to remember that. Establishing healthy boundaries is one of the best ways to protect and honor your limits. In doing so, you will be practicing self-love. 

For instance, if you’re the kind of person who constantly says yes to every request that comes your way, start saying no more often. This can be a way to show yourself that you value your time and energy and that it’s okay, even good, to put yourself first sometimes. 

Another example would be to practice setting limits around technology and social media. You may decide to turn your phone off an hour before bed or to only look at your emails once a day. 

These small boundaries can add up over time and help you practice more self-love. 

Be Fascinated With Who You Are

When did you last find yourself diving head-first into the comparison trap? This morning? Last week? 

Unfortunately, it’s so easy to fall into this habit; we are constantly bombarded with images of the “perfect” person on social media. But guess what? No one is perfect! 

So, instead of spending your time consumed with their life, why not be fascinated with your journey and who you are? Take an interest in your own goals, strengths, and passions

Focusing on who you are, what makes you unique, and what you love about yourself is a great way to practice self-love, stop low self-esteem, and be the best version of yourself. 

self love vs self care

Care For Other People

You might be scratching your head reading that one… isn’t this about self-love and self-care? What does the care of others have to do with me?

Many of us overlook how much we value our relationships with friends and family members or how important it is for us to help someone. Honoring this personal value is a great way to practice self-love. 

You can do this by taking a friend out for lunch or emailing your mom. Alternatively, you could volunteer your time. Even small acts of kindness can make you feel appreciated and connected to others.

Practice Self-Care

And this is where self-love and self-care come together. Doing regular self-care is a good way to practice self-love. 

Related Posts:

But first, what exactly is self-care, and how does it differ from everything we’ve talked about so far? 

Want To Dig Deeper Into Self-Love?

Create your very own self-love routine and incorporate some self-love exercises to make self-love part of your everyday life.

Self-Care vs. Self-Love: What Is Self-Care?

As I said toward the start of this blog post, self-love is about your mental health, improving your relationship with yourself, and appreciating who you are. On the other hand, self-care means taking care of your physical and emotional health. 

Now, you may not have loved reading that last part if you don’t love physical health. But don’t worry; physical self-care doesn’t have to be about hitting the gym or eating healthy.

It can also mean walking in nature or getting enough sleep. That said, your physical health is essential to self-care and, thereby, your self-love. So, it is valuable for you to make time for it. 

Then, of course, there is also the emotional side of self-care. This is more about regaining energy, calming your mind, and managing stress. 

Both of these things are important when it comes to self-care. But how do you practice them? Here are some of my favorite ideas! 

Self-Care vs. Self-Love: Examples Of Self-Care Practices

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is super important for both your physical and mental health. Not only does it help with your cognitive function, but it also helps reduce stress levels, keeps you focused and alert, and helps you to have more energy throughout the day. 

Many experts say you should aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night. However, this may not be feasible for everyone. Plus, I know plenty of people who thrive best on 6 hours of sleep. So, find what works best for you, and do everything you can to consistently get that amount of sleep.

If you have trouble sleeping, consider turning off all screens at least one hour before bed, as blue light can interfere with the production of melatonin – a hormone that helps you feel sleepy.

Instead, use this time to do other self-care activities such as washing your face, reading a book, taking a walk, etc. 

A good nighttime routine that promotes sleep is also worth considering. This can include drinking herbal tea, taking nightly bubble baths or showers, and having a consistent bedtime. 

self-care vs. self-love

Have a Daily Routine

There’s no doubt about it; having a daily routine can structure your day, help reduce stress levels, and give you a sense of real accomplishment.

These things are beneficial for both your physical and emotional health. When I create my daily routine, I like to include physical and emotional activities for balanced self-care. 

Some physical activities you can include in your daily routine are going for a walk, drinking two cups of water when you wake up, brushing your teeth when you wake up and before bed, etc. 

Some emotional activities you could try include journaling, meditating, writing down three things you’re grateful for, reading self-care quotes etc. 

In my experience, I’ve also found that it’s important your daily routine has activities you enjoy doing and can be easily integrated into your day. That way, you can look forward to them, and it’s more likely that you’ll stick with the routine.

Live A Healthy Lifestyle

Now, I want to caveat this right away by saying that a healthy lifestyle looks different for everyone, and you should never feel pressured to conform to societal standards of what it looks like.

That being said, living a healthy lifestyle contains a few key components – eating healthy foods (or at least a balanced diet,) getting plenty of exercise, managing stress, and making healthy choices. 

Each of these things is important for your emotional and physical health. For example, eating a balanced diet not only fuels your body with the nutrients it needs but also helps regulate your mood.

Moreover, managing stress helps to alleviate feelings of anxiety and depression while also keeping your immune system strong – which is beneficial for both your mental and physical health. 

It’s essential to establish what living a healthy lifestyle looks like for you. Does it include eating organic food? Does it mean getting plenty of exercise? Or does it focus more on managing stress? Experiment with this in your own life to figure out what works best for you. 

Use Your Creative Energy

You may not know this, I certainly didn’t, but creativity is a natural part of the human experience and can be an incredibly powerful tool for self-care. When we are creative, we tap into a piece of ourselves that can help us grow in ways we never thought possible.

Creative activities such as writing, painting, drawing, or dancing can help us to express our emotions safely and productively.

This type of self-care is also an excellent way to release any emotional tension you may be feeling and to nurture your soul. Overall, it’s great for your emotional well-being. 

So, if you’re looking for a way to practice self-care, consider ways to use your creative energy and make time to do so! 

That will mean learning how to take time for yourself. 

Make Time For Yourself

In addition to getting more creative, you can do plenty of other things to care for yourself physically and emotionally, such as doing a face mask, learning a new hobby, reading a book, and so on. 

To practice these self-care activities, you need to get good at making time for yourself. And I mean guilt-free time for yourself!

It won’t do any good if you constantly feel guilty about spending time alone. To make it easier, set aside a few minutes each day just for you. During this time, you can do anything that relaxes and rejuvenates.

Then, as time goes on, practice taking more and more time for yourself until you reach a time amount that you’re happy with. 

Cool, so now that you know the difference between self-care vs. self-love, how can you effectively make both a part of your life? 

Want to Create a List of Self-Care Ideas? Get Some Inspiration!

Check out the following posts to find more ways to practice better self-care:

Self-Love vs. Self-Care – The Best Way To Make Both A Part Of Your Daily Practice

Okay, I’ve given you a few self-care and self-love activities. But how do you make both of them part of your life without getting overwhelmed by them? 

Balance is the key to effectively making both self-love and self-care part of your daily life. You want to ensure you’re getting enough self-love and self-care each day.

One way you could do this is by dividing and conquering. For example, you could practice self-love activities during your morning routine before heading off to work or getting the kids ready for school. Then, practice your self-care activities in the evening before you go to bed. 

An alternate approach is to blend the activities into a daily routine. For example, your morning routine includes writing positive affirmations, going for a walk, and honoring a boundary you’ve set. This routine is the perfect example of self-care and self-love combined. 

Whatever approach you decide to take, make sure that it works for you!

So, there you have it!

As you can see, self-love and self-care are both essential parts of life that we need to practice to have a positive relationship with ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s all about taking care of your own needs and improving your relationship with yourself in the long run. 

self-care vs. self-love

And remember, this isn’t something you will be able to perfect overnight. Many people who start on their personal growth journey say true self-love and self-care can take months, even years, to implement fully.

So, give yourself kindness and grace as you implement self-love and self-care activities into your daily life. You can do this by sitting down on a Sunday afternoon and planning your week ahead.

You might also like to start listen to a self care and self love podcast to help you stay on top of your well-being.

FAQs to Self-Care vs. Self-Love

Is Self-Love Part Of Self-Care?

In a way, self-love is part of self-care because when you practice self-love, you show yourself kindness and compassion which is a way of emotional self-care.

Is Self-Care Narcissistic?

No, self-care is not narcissistic. Self-care and self-love is a healthy part of your well-being and you are aware of your needs. A narcissist usually doesn’t have high self-esteem and needs reassurance from others.

Is Self-Care The First Step in Self-Love?

Practicing self-love also means taking care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. You can show yourself love by listen to yourself, taking it slowly, and setting boundaries with others as well as your own expectations.

What Is Not Considered Self-Care?

Constantly putting other people first is not considered self-care. While you get some admiration in helping others, it just leaves you burnt out in the long run and doesn’t do good to anyone.

What Are The 8 Pillars of Self-Care?

The 8 pillars of self-care are: physical, emotional, psychological, social, spiritual, financial, environmental, and professional self-care. In order to maintain a healthy balance, you need to practice a little bit of everything on a regular basis.

About The Author of Self-Care vs. Self-Love

Saskia is a mom, blogger, and freelance writer. She loves sharing tips on self-care, personal growth, and productivity & organization. Find out more about her or get in touch with her here.

self-care vs. self-love

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