Love, including self-love, is both a noun and a verb. In order to have self-love, we must continuously practice it through our actions. To celebrate our 100th episode anniversary of the Mary’s Cup of Tea Podcast, we compiled a list of ways to express self-love. These tips include acts of self-love that touch on all of the 5 love languages (words, time, touch, service, and gifts). I promise that these won’t be cheesy things like bubble baths and face masks because self-love goes much, much deeper than that.
I invite you to take note of the ones that call to you and find some time to practice them today. The ways you express self-love should feel simple, doable, and authentic to you. Practicing one small act of self-love every day will add up to create a big difference in how you see, think, and feel about yourself. Let’s get into 100 ways to express self-love…
A Non-Exhaustive List of 100 Ways to Express Self-Love:
Read for pleasure. Read an erotica story, a romance novel, a piece of classic literature, a fantasy series, anything you’re interested in. We are often so focused on reading things for personal development and trying to improve ourselves, but it’s important to read for pleasure as a practice for self love. Explore and find something that gives your mind an orgasm.
Put on some lingerie and do a boudoir photoshoot with some sensual music, and the selfie timer on your phone or hire a professional photographer! It can be so empowering to have someone capture you in a sexy, sensual light. Go grab your camera and/ or a photographer friend and start embracing your sexy self.
Listen to my self-love playlist on Spotify or make your own! Songs that make you feel whole, embodied, and uplifted can have an instant positive effect on your mood and confidence.
Upgrade your underwear, socks, and bras. Upgrade everything that touches your skin that’s not of exquisite quality. Don’t be afraid to ditch the frumpy undergarments and invest in YOU.
Make your favorite hot beverage and drink it slowly. There is something about a hot beverage that is so comforting, a grounding experience that helps you engage in self-love.
Spend 1 hour reading up on, listening to, or learning about something that genuinely interests you. As children, we were constantly open to new ideas and new experiences because that’s how we learned about ourselves and the world around us. Self-love is about allowing yourself to learn, grow, and evolve. So get curious! Explore new topics! Embody a mindset of wonder!
Light a candle or diffuse some essential oils. Pleasant scents can bring up positive feelings in the body which is one of the ways to express self-love.
Give yourself a hug. Seriously, wrap your arms around yourself right now and tell me it doesn’t feel great! Fun fact: hugging yourself actually releases the same feel-good chemicals as if someone else were to hug you. Embrace yourself, literally!
Do some shoulder rolls and neck stretches as you breathe deeply. This is one of the ways to express self-love that you can do anytime, anywhere to help your body relax.
Masturbate. Nothing says self-love like giving yourself pleasure. When we touch ourselves, we connect with our body on a whole new level, one that is sensual and self-loving.
Eat a snack!!! I believe that most of us don’t snack enough. One of the ways to express self-love is to always make sure that you are nourishing your body. Don’t wait until you’re hangry, honor your hunger and eat something now.
Unbutton your pants (or take them off completely) and relax your tummy. We’ve been conditioned to hide our bodies and try to make them smaller. But sucking in your stomach all the time restricts air flow and makes your body all tense. You deserve to take up space and breathe.
Moisturize your body. Put lotion on your legs, cream on your face, and chapstick on your lips.
Chug a giant glass of water… or two… or three. Stay hydrated, my friends!
Dance in your underwear! Dance as often as possible because it’s good for the soul. My self-love playlist has the perfect music for this too!
Listen to your favorite self-love podcast like the Mary’s Cup of Tea Podcast where we talk about body-image, confidence, and women’s empowerment. Shameless self-promo is also an act of self-love. 😉
Eat some foods with Omega 3s! Nuts, seeds, avocados, beans, oils, fish, etc which are good for regulating hormones. Endless dieting, working, and stressing will often mess with our hormones, so try to eat more of these healthy, fatty foods.
Set a boundary. Telling people what we want and need from them is a sign of self-respect and emotional intelligence. And don’t forget to enforce the boundaries you set and hold people accountable.
Cook a wholesome meal for yourself. Making yourself a meal and sitting down to enjoy it is an act of self-love that involves quality time, a true act of self-care.
Journal (bullet journal, trash journal, narrative journal, video journal, whatever works best for you). Journaling helps get your thoughts out of your head and out onto paper. It connects you to your inner creativity and invites healing from within. Check out my new self-love journal here!
Write poetry! You don’t need to be an Edgar Allan Poe to write poetry. Let yourself write whatever flows to your mind and soul, even if it’s random and fragmented.
Create art. In fact, make your life a work of art. We are all creators and even the most logical-minded of us have a creative side. It’s part of our human nature to create.
Eat a vegetable. Veggies nourish the body so go grab something green or any other color of the rainbow!
Eat something sweet. Sweets are good for the soul and can make you feel like a kid again. Give yourself permission to enjoy the pleasurable, sweet sensations on your taste buds.
Go on a stupid walk for your stupid mental health. It may feel like the last thing you want to do when you’re upset, but getting outside, breathing fresh air, and moving your body will help. I promise.
Clear your space. Physically decluttering your space helps us mentally feel more organized and level-headed.
Determine your values. What’s important to you? Choose 5 words that resonate with you and then ask yourself, how can I forward that value and bring it to life?
Give yourself full permission to forgive yourself. When we forgive ourselves, we learn to accept our flaws and imperfections, an inevitable part of being human.
Romanticize your life. Pretend like your life is a movie where you are both the main character and the director.
Invest in your growth, not just financially, but also with your time and energy. The best investment you will ever make is in yourself.
Take care of someone or something else (human, plant, pet, etc). When you nurture something else, you are also, in a way, nurturing yourself. When in doubt, focus out.
Protect your mornings and your evenings. The beginning and end of your day is the most valuable. Try to be present for yourself without external stimulation. Remember: energy IN before energy OUT.
Do something just for fun. You don’t have to explain everything you do. You can do stuff just because you want to and that is totally valid.
Make a cup of tea. We might’ve already touched on hot beverages, but there’s something so special about tea specifically. It’s like giving yourself a warm inside hug! There’s a reason the podcast is called Mary’s Cup of Tea because tea was incredibly healing for me in my self-love journey.
Meditate. We all know how important and effective meditation is, but it can be really hard to put it into practice. Remember that meditation can be anything! You can meditate for 1 minute per day simply by closing your eyes and breathing.
Cry your damn heart out! Allow your tears to flow, whether they’re from joy, sadness, or anything in between. Crying does NOT make you weak; it helps you process, accept, and release your emotions. Crying is cathartic.
Laugh. This gives the same effect as crying, except kind of the opposite. Laughing is your body’s way of releasing joy.
Go to therapy. I believe that everyone can benefit from therapy. Not because we have problems (although, we all do), but because we all need someone to help guide us through life. Even if you don’t feel like you need it, therapy can help you gain greater insight into yourself.
Make eye contact. Go look at someone deeply in their eyes, embrace their soul, and be present with that person. See what happens when you connect non-verbally.
Be honest with yourself and others. Ask yourself, “What am I unwilling to admit to myself? What am I unwilling to face? To feel?”
Sing. Sing loudly. Sing badly. Sing just because! My little sister and I love to get stuck in traffic because it means we can do some carpool karaoke for the soul. Again, self-expression is one of the greatest acts of self-love.
Make yourself an altar in your home. An altar is a space with some of your favorite things like books, a candle, crystals, or any memorabilia that’s important to you. It’s a sacred place where you can come to feel calm and safe.
Put on jewelry. I really like this one because the act of decorating yourself is so fun! You deserve to feel beautiful and adorned.
Ask for help. You don’t have to do everything alone. Stop carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. Take this as your giant permission slip to ask and receive help.
Throw a party. Especially in times like these, community is so important to have and to build. When we have community, we have support. When we have support, we have love.
Turn your phone off for the day, the week or heck, go throw it in the ocean. See if you can spend a day without the influence of others.
Join a women’s circle or maybe create one yourself! The patriarchy has pitted women against each other for too long. But being in the presence of like-hearted women is the most healing, unifying, and empowering act of self-love.
Connect to your cycle. There is so much to learn about your body and its natural functions. Pay attention to how your body changes and evolves with the times, days, and seasons of your life.
Learn about astrology. Even if you’re someone who is skeptical about this, it can be fun and interesting to see what the stars may say about your destiny. We are all made of stardust so is it crazy to think that these forces may somehow influence us?
Get to know yourself. Astrology, Enneagram, Human Design, Attachment Style, Strengths Test, etc are simply tools for self-discovery. They can help us learn who we are and who we might want to be in the future.
Roll around in bed. This is a practice of embodiment and can help you just BE. Be in your body.
Get a massage. Embrace the touch of another human being. Letting someone else take care of you taps into our natural desire for affection. This can be especially healing if your love language is physical touch.
Buy yourself flowers. They’re beautiful, smell nice, and feel good to look at! Why not get yourself a little gift to enjoy?
Go to a coffee shop without your phone. You can people watch, read a book, or just sit there sipping a hot beverage. This could also be a time to practice meditation.
Do something you loved to do as a child. Jump in puddles. Dance in the rain. Swing on the swings at the playground. Do little things that ignite that child-like joy.
Celebrate something you’ve recently accomplished. Let’s be honest, we don’t give ourselves enough credit. We are always focusing on our mistakes, instead of our successes. It’s time to celebrate what we are doing, what we’ve done and what we are going to do in the future.
Stretch your face. It may feel silly, but just making exaggerated motions with your face feel really good! And feels goofy which helps you not take yourself so seriously!
Write down your weakness on one side and on the other side, write down how these “weaknesses” are actually strengths. Acknowledge that everything has a sense of duality.
Express gratitude. Give thanks to your body, to the people around, to the planet we live on.
Go out to eat alone at a restaurant. This can feel intimidating at first but it can also empower you to enjoy your own company. It allows the honoring of yourself. Table for one, please?
Ask for what you want in bed. Don’t be afraid to communicate what makes you feel good.
Take a bath. Because sometimes self-love does include bubble baths and face masks, as long as you’re doing all the other things too.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Really take a moment to observe yourself. Look deep into your eyes and be there with yourself. Admire your body. Look at it from an outsider’s view, without judgment or criticism. It can feel uncomfortable at first, but you cannot love yourself if you’re constantly avoiding yourself.
Make your bed. This is an act of self-love that says, “I will start my day by taking care of my most intimate space.”
Hire someone to take something off your plate. This is part of asking for help and receiving it. You cannot physically do everything so if you have the means, outsource certain responsibilities like housekeeping, grocery shopping, babysitting, etc even if it’s just once a month.
Breathe. Take a deep breath right now.
Stretch. Awaken your body. Release that tension. Take a second to feel good.
Share your heart with someone. This can be sending a voice to a friend, calling them, or meeting up for an intimate dinner date. Share with your loved ones what is on your heart and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Take your vitamins and your medication. Talk about preventative and proactive self-care!
Travel, if you can. Go see the world, even if it’s just exploring your home town. Being outside of our regular routines and environment can be such a humbling experience, fueled by curiosity and wonder.
When you find yourself procrastinating, say I FORGIVE MYSELF. This helps take the blame away from you and let you make peace with the resistance.
Give away your old clothes. As Marie Kondo says, if it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. Remember that if the clothes don’t fit you, they are not right for you. There is no point holding on to them. You deserve clothes that feel comfortable and fit the body you’re in right now.
SLEEP. We all need more rest. Take a nap. Go to bed early. Sleep in. Rest before you’re tired.
Dress so that your outsides match your insides. How you feel changes from day to day, but when you dress in a way that feels like “you,” you feel more aligned and authentic to yourself. Somedays that might be sweats and others that might be a big fancy dress. Wear what makes you feel the most like yourself.
Brush your hair. Or give yourself a head massage. There are so many pressure points in the head and it can really stimulate those sensations.
Watch some comedy and find humor in everyday occurrences. Laugh at something or laugh at yourself. Don’t take life too seriously because none of us get out alive anyways!
Move your body in a way that feels good. Movement should never be a punishment; it should be joyful! Ditch workouts you hate and do the things you love.
Read my book, The Gift of Self-Love. This is a workbook I created that will help you build confidence, recognize your worth, and learn to finally love yourself. It’s a holistic approach to self-love which includes exercises for body-image, self-esteem, and self-worth.
Go on an unfollowing spree on social media. Minimize the amount of noise you consume online. Your mental health is more important than someone else’s beauty routine.
Do less. Say no more often. Protect your time and energy. You don’t need to book every second or every day. Like I said before, rest is so important and it’s crucial to give yourself permission to chill out!
Replace “I have to” with “I get to” and see how that feels.
Quit comparing and start creating. Whenever you catch yourself comparing yourself to your ex best friend or an influencer on Instagram, remember that you are just as capable, wonderful, and worthy as she is. The grass is greener where you water it.
Only take advice from people who you would actually trade places with in that area.
Learn about your ancestry. This one is so special because it helps you explore who you are, where you came from and what your family history is. By connecting with the past, you can build a more conscious future.
Release tension, set intention. This is a mini mantra I say to myself whenever I’m switching from one role to another. Release what happened and set an intention for what you want to happen.
Go get a Pap smear or any other routine medical visit.
Unsubscribe. Unsubscribe from emails, channels, beliefs, and anything else that doesn’t serve you. If something doesn’t move you towards the life you want to live, let it go.
Minimize some things so that you can maximize others. Focus on the things you want to maximize and put more energy towards those.
Wake up early to see the sunrise. When was the last time you saw the sunrise? It’s so magical to be reminded that no matter what happened the day before, the sun will still rise, just like you.
Get your feet above your head for 5 minutes per day. An easy way to do this is to lie on the floor with your butt against the wall so that you can put your legs up it. This will get your blood flowing and rejuvenate your body.
Sit on the floor instead of on a chair. Connect to your primal self and practice getting up without your hands.
Go on a walk? Yes, I know this is mentioned twice because you probably ignored me the first time.
Listen to vibey music. High frequency, binaural beats send feel good signals to the brain.
Make an ideas list. Sit down and write down 10 ideas that come to your mind. They can be silly or weird, but this will stimulate your creativity.
Take your time. There is no rush or race in life. It is okay to take breaks or stop for a while. This “go, go, go” mentality is ruining our collective mental health.
Reduce your caffeine intake or any substance that’s not making you feel good.
When in doubt, focus out. Love and self-love are one in the same. We are all one, connected to each other. Extend a helping hand to someone else and allow yourself to give and receive (self) love.
Work on a long-term project, but break it down into smaller steps. Write the book you’ve always wanted to write. Start that business or charity or podcast. Your dreams deserve to be pursued.
Simply exist. Let yourself be who you are and accept yourself as you are.
Thank you for exploring all the ways to express self-love!
Which of these ways to express self-love really resonated with you? I invite you to choose a few that you’d like to start doing every day and well, do them!
I hope you enjoyed these 100 ways to express self-love. If you practice at least some of these simple habits, I promise that they will help you love yourself. And remember that whether you do these acts of self-love or not, you are enough. It’s just a matter of believing it.
Thank you so much for your support on the Mary’s Cup of Tea Podcast and for helping us celebrate our 100th episode. This self-love podcast would not be where it is without our self-lovers.