How to Practice Self-Care (This Changed My Life)

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Note: Updated in January 2019 for clarity and additional resources.

Do you feel like you’re constantly putting other people first? Do you get so busy that you stop taking care of your own needs, and then feel depleted and sick? If so, you’re in need of a radical act of self-care!

I recently hit my own bottom in the self-care department. I had been moving so fast — working, traveling, being a wife, a friend, and a teacher — that I’d lost track of my own needs and well-being. And it wasn’t helping anyone! My body was breaking down, I was tired all the time and I had terrible neck pain. Finally, I had no other choice but to choose again.

When you show up for yourself you can show up for the world more completely. @gabbybernstein Tweet it!

How to practice self-care

To get out of the cycle and realign with peace, I committed to a practice that changed my life. Watch this video to learn how I practice self-care and start applying it in your own life today.

The simple and powerful ways I practice self-care

I made a commitment that every day I would commit to a radical act of self-care. Sometimes it might be one new commitment a day, and other times I’ll make one commitment and stick to it for a month. As long as I have that one radical act of self-care each day, I can stay in alignment with my flow and positive energy.

Some examples of my radical acts of self-care are:

    • Taking a bath
    • Sitting in stillness
    • Meditating a little bit longer
    • Starting my first moment of my day with my meditation rather than waiting until after breakfast
    • Go for a long walk and be in nature and be outdoors

Sometimes a radical act of self-care is to go get a hand massage or a manicure. Other times it’s to eat something I’m craving. Speaking up for myself is another awesome act of self-care.

I encourage you to make this commitment, too: One act of self-care every day!

Change your self-perception

Take this practice further with guidance from my book May Cause Miracles. In this video I cover Week Two, which is all about creating a new self-perception. Watch below:

Take this practice deeper with the May Cause Miracles virtual course

May Cause Miracles Digital Course

The May Cause Miracles virtual course is based on my book, taking you through all 6 weeks via HD video or audio!

This course will help you create beautiful, radical change by adding up subtle shifts every day of every week.

Get all the details.

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  1. Great blog Gabrielle! I am trying to be kind to myself and not beat myself up for situations that come up as I seem to blame myself for it which is not healthy.
    I use CBT cognitive behavioral therapy sometimes but I physically don’t care for myself enough show myself love. Very inspiring blog thanks so much for making amazing blogs keep creating Gabby xx

    1. Know that small right actions each day to take care of yourself will add up to a major impact. Showing up here is one of those actions <3

  2. Hi there. Thanks for the post. I constantly do “self care”, including all of the above mentioned, but it has not helped improve my self “love”. How can this be? I think it’s possible to take good care of yourself but still suffer from self hatred. Shouldn’t there be 2 different approaches? Thanks!

    1. It’s a process for sure. 🙂
      I’m not sure what you mean by two different approaches…

  3. Gabby, I love watching your videos because I get to see floating light orbs flickering all over! I absolutely love the light show! Thanks for another great message.

  4. Hi Gabby! I really enjoyed your periscope this morning. Porch talk is my fav! Quick question: I’ve been on a spiritual journey for quite some time now, but never bought or read much from the course of miracles. As an intro to the material, Would you recommend buying that book first or Marianne Williamson’s book? Thanks a million and hope yo got a great pedicure!????

  5. Thanks for posting this Gabby. As always, your timing was impeccable. I own two businesses and lately, I’ve been feeling stressed, overworked and frustrated that I don’t have enough me time. I really needed to be reminded to leave time in my dad for self care. After I watched your video I plugged in “self care time” for each day this week in my calendar and yesterday I went for a really nice long walk up the mountain and visited my furry friends the goats. Funny how something as simple as that made me super happy! I am a Virgo perfectionist that is very driven so I am used to pushing myself hard but I am going to work at finding a better balance. Thanks Gabby, love you! xoxo

  6. I love this! I have been so on my game in regards to staying better organized, cooking more, eating healthier, blogging, marketing my coaching business, and working my regular job, but I have had a hard time creating any space for relaxation. The past two days I have really been paying attention to my body more. I realize that a lot of times when I think I am sad or anxious, I am really just tired. So I have been resting. Love the idea of one act of radical self-care. Of course I love the word “radical” anyway 🙂

  7. A much needed reminder for everyone to practice self love and care, thanks Gabby. I must admit to being quite taken by the two white lights moving around to the left of the screen during your message. Beautiful.

  8. Dear Gabby,
    I am grateful that Spirit has lead me to become aware of you and the wisdom you share. I don’t know you personally but feel a ‘sistership’ between us. There are so many synchronicities and I love the way you convey your messages. I too had my life very changed after visiting JOG and notice you wearing one of his crystals. When ever I need some self care I take the time to receive healing under my crystal bed. I get so busy catering to my clients needs that I even forget that I can have the blessings of this bed too! I look forward to following more of what you have to offer the world. Many blessings to you…

  9. Hey Gabby,

    You have me on board….have just reached a crossroad in my life, time for change…..I am going to firstly set a daily alarm for me time….need to get back to finding my inner peace and happiness, so thank you for jumping out of me e-mails and giving me that gentle push I didnt realise I needed……another sign!


  10. I’M IN!!!! Lets do it…I’m committed….daily radical acts of self care!! I’ve been feeling the call. As a busy working mom of two busy kids (you remember Ian from our six week class in NYC a few years ago!) and having multiple businesses, this is exactly what I need to add to my day! I’ll let you know how it goes! Today’s act will be to take an hour to read my book. Thank you!
    Much love,
    Gladys xo

  11. I started today without even realizing it. I made time to work out even though I don’t have time. I felt so much better about myself afterwards. The next thing I’m going to do is really be present with my daughter. Put the cell phone and ipad away and just be. Thank you for this powerful reminder!

  12. I took the time to listen to your video as I have felt so lost lately. Being left go of my job months ago and not successful in finding a new job, wondering how the bills are going to get paid but trying to be positive as to not attract more bills, helping everyone else with their needs, and not caring too much about myself (pretty much because I do not think anyone else cares about me as long as I am there to help them). I prefer things planned to the nth degree and do not like surprises so with an unknown future, I feel like I am in limbo. I will make an effort to allow me the luxury of self-love, self-care, joy, happiness, and appreciating the moments with loved ones. Thank you for this reminder – I am glad to hear that I am not the only one who needed it!

  13. Hi Gabby,
    I’ve had a long, painful break up from my ex boyfriend, ongoing for years and years,. I’ve been so angry with him and we’ve done the craziest things to each other. I’ve held him responsible for my lack of happiness last time we spoke we had an enormous fight where I told him I that he destroyed my life. Awful thing to say.
    I’ve been stuck and unable to move on – and, ALL of my other relationships has gone wrong sence then. My sister, my best friend, my sister in law, I’ve had huge arguments with them all and pushed them as far away as possible. I’ve intuitive know that my bitterness has been what’s hurting me and blocking love.
    I asked you for help here in these comments about 6 months ago.
    You told me: read spirit junkie. I answered; but I’ve done that. You said: read it again.

    For the last 6 months I’ve been praying every morning and every night, I’ve listened to your meditation on forgivness and I’ve sent my ex boyfriend love and light. I’ve said the mantra I forgive you, I accept you, I release you, over and over again.

    Today I spoke to him for the first time sence our last fight 18 months ago.
    We were both moved to tears, we forgave each other and he said that he’s been depressed and hurting from me being so upset with him.
    Here’s the thing:………
    An hour later I got a text from my sister in law. She says she loves me and that things got off track.
    Same day. What are the odds?

    I can just literally die happy now, I’m that relieved.

  14. Hey Gabby, I watched this yesterday which lead me to buy May Cause Miracles. I’m also a member at Get More Gabby and I went back and listened to the archived lecture for July – about things happening the moment you think about them. I was working through the willing to see this differently, and recognized that I needed to really begin forgiving my father and releasing a lot of the resentment I had towards him. I closed my journal and received a text from him. You’re not surprised, I know, but buddy I was!!! 🙂

  15. That’s funny! Came home yesterday from 2,5 week vacation and I told my husband a few days before we were going home: “I love you and our two kids so much, but I love myself as well and from now on, I will spend quality time with myself more!” This morning I started the day with meditation and get inspired by Gabby, and I leave the holiday mess what it is.. First starting the day relaxed, and guess what: Gabby is talking about self-care!! I think I am on the right way… Thank you!!

  16. Thanks Gabby! A simple act of self care I begun this spring was taking my running program outside (i’d always been inside the gym-at my work on lunch). Running outside has allowed me to feel the sunshine, enjoy the breeze and people watch but I was a little nervous to run beyond a ‘workout environment’ and now I am so glad I did!
    I am currently working on transitioning from listening to music…to running without music. I am doing this because I remember a Gabby video suggesting giving space for our thoughts to flow to us, and allowing me to hear my feet rythmeticly hit the pavement as a rewarding sound for tough sweat being earned. Its hard to shut off the distractions like music, tv, etc but taking the time for self care has huge pay outs I’m finding!
    ps. Gabrielle looks especially beautiful in this video! 🙂

  17. Sat nam, Gabby~ thanks for the many ways you shine and share your light! 🙂 Your message is very timely for so many of us it seems…and for me as well. Love the invitation to commit to daily acts of spiritual self-care~ yes, I’m SO in! Lately, I’ve been feeling like an emotional punching bag for others :/ but I am reminded that is only the case when I’m not filling my own cup with self-love. Today I commit to deepening my self-care practice to include yoga, meditation, drumming & kirtan, walks in nature, and dancing hoop flow to clear energy. <3

  18. My radical act of self care for now will be to give myself permission to live in the moment. So many times we allow ourselves to be defined by what others expect of us and we(I) don’t allow myself the peace to just “be”. This is something that when I do, give myself permission to be in the moment, I have a joyous day and feel that I am in alignment body, mind and spirit. The doors fly open for me and my heart swells. This will be my radical act of self/care. Thanks Gabby for shedding the light.

  19. I need this reminder and once I hit the send button I’m turning off my computer and enjoying my essential oils. Making a new blend and rubbing it on my wrists then inhaling deeply is my Radical Self Care today!

  20. Thank you for this timely reminder, Gabby. As the head of my household it’s easy to cut that time for myself to ‘get more done’ each day. I’m going to recommit to radical self-care. You have such a way with words! Bless you!

  21. There is an amazing amount of guilt around this practice of self-care. My ‘taking time for myself’ is usually cleaning the house or trying to accomplish some project for someone else. I take the time and then i beat myself up for it afterwards because the to-do list in my head is no shorter than it was before. My weekends are like little races to get as much done as possible so on Monday I can feel like I’ve accomplished something. My husband, on the other hand, takes an excessive amount of self-care time! And he has NO guilt about it. I gotta find a way to erase the feeling of guilt.

  22. All the sparks in this video!! I used to always notice them in your old videos from a few years ago. Maybe your self care recharged you, AND your sparks! ;D Thanks so much Gabby!

  23. Dear Gabby. I had to learn about self care big time after looking after my mum for many years. In my case I came to shut down and suffered from chronic fatigue for nearly 3 years. I learned to say no! In a big way andoom after my physical emotional and soul needs. It really brought me in tune with myself and realise how important I had to be first before anyone else. I still support my mum and I care for friends and family but I really have committed to self care on a daily basis. I’m much better and happier and looking forward to more yes time for me x

  24. Thank you! I’m Going to make time to meditate everyday again. I got so busy with my art that I kind of let it slide. No more! P.S your measure your success by how much fun your having, what an amazing way to live! Thanks for that tip too! Xo
    Hope you liked your Teddie-T painting 🙂

  25. Thank you! I’m Gonig to make time to meditate everyday again. I got so busy with my art that I kind of let it slide. No more! P.S your measure your success by how much fun your having, what an amazing way to live! Thanks for that tip too! Xo
    Hope you liked your Teddie-T painting 🙂

  26. I’m in! AMEN! It’s incredible how much of a difference it makes to truly take care of ourselves. It’s part of my mission and passion to invite moms, especially, to practice this! Thank you, Gabby. Big hugs. xoxo

  27. Another great message, I am going to have to watch again, there was so much activity in the room with you I was distracted. Very neat, thank you again Gabby B!

  28. I am so caught in the loop of only until x, y and z are done can I make space to do something that feels good for me. I find myself zoning out on social media because I need a break but never feeling rested or recharged after. I’m committing to doing something that will really serve me when I would typically be going for my social media zone out instead. Thank you for this message Gabby! xoxo

  29. Great video. I don’t think there has ever been a day in my life in years where I didn’t take the time for at least one act of self-care. No matter how busy I get, there’s always time for a bath, a walk around the block, a dance break, a few minutes of silence, waking up early and enjoying my coffee, reading something inspiring. No matter where I travel to, I find a place, or a time, to give myself some attention. Glad you discovered this! It’s so important.

  30. Your timing is amazing. I started a new journey in my life a month ago. I left my job on July 2nd. While driving to drop off my computer I was hit from behind. I haven’t had my car in a month. I am in physical therapy for whiplash. I have been facing my fears of going off to do something greater with my life. All the uncertainties that come with a radical change. I have pushed all month long to move forward regardless of what has happened.
    Today I woke with a physical sign that my body gives me when I am run down. I ignored all the signs. Now my body has let me know, SLOW DOWN! Then I find your email in my in box with the answer.
    I AM IN… one moment of every day I will give myself radical self care!
    THANK YOU from the deepest part of my spirit.

  31. Thank you so much for your post on a self care commitment! I recently took time off work because I realized my energy had become very off balance. I was the “yes” person at my job and took on a lot of extra work all of the time.
    Continuity gets my energy so happy and excited. And this is the second video I have seen of yours in the last two months and they are laying out everything I have been seeking with bettering myself. I haven’t been able to figure what my self care could be. I deal with a sense of guilt with acts of self care at times. (I gave myself a manicure a couple days ago, and didn’t know if that was self care or materialism) hearing that on your video gave me some reassurance as I respect you so much. Last night before seeing this video I decided to quit my job of 5 years and I knew it was for my happiness and I knew I wanted to figure out how to keep this positive energy realignment going! And BAM here is this video. I am now 100% commited to at least one radical act of self care everyday and to be open to all the new positive energy and opportunities! Thank you!

  32. I am in! Thank you so much for this today. I truly needed this message now in my life as a single mom of two!

  33. I love going back to basics and getting away from technology for a bit. I went to a friend’s farm over the weekend and they only have wifi and phone service in like one corner of their property. Other than that, you are hanging with the cows haha! The first few minutes I’m there, I feel my fingers twitching because I’m so used to checking my email and tweets and stuff on my phone all the time, but I truly love getting away from all the noise and just being able to sit on the porch with the dogs and watch nature all around me. It’s truly beautiful to disconnect from tech, because it allows you to connect with what’s important.

    Love the video. Thank you for everything, Gabby! Happy Monday! xoxo

  34. During this video, there are two orbs of white light ! How beautiful. Thank you for this message on self care. I wish you much aché and much shanti. You are truly a positive light in this world!

  35. Gabby- thank you for this beautiful message. Every time my neck and shoulder pain starts up I instantly intrinsically sense that it’s signaling something going on with my energetic and spiritual alignment- thank you for confirming this here! :). xxx Lots of Love

  36. Hi love, this was exactly what I needed to hear today … thank you so very much. I do know that in my heart all the time, but it´s like a really shallow message I didn´t feel obliged to listen to as I always found something more important to care about … my job, my family, the money, my existence… But still in know in the deep of my heart that in my little family (I´m single mom with two kids) nothing would work if I was´t there … so this is my personal reminder to take good care of me, of my body, my soul, my spirit and my health. I will be starting right away with giving myself more time for my meditation for today.
    Love to you!

  37. I totally have to be conscious about this area of my life, that is self-care. And my best motivation to be disciplined in self-care was that I found myself enjoying my work as a psychologist a lot more and my presence and my work was a lot better. That was my big realisation that I needed to take care of myself for others 🙂 A perfect motivator for me hehe..

    Thank you Gabby !

  38. Love it. I have two kids and when I don’t take the time for self care I feel it and my family feels it. I am going to step it up this month. Thanks for the reminder 😉

  39. Thank you Gabby! This is exactly what I was thinking about at this second, because I was showing up for radical self-love lunch time. There is no way we can be fully present and living our purpose if we don’t bring love to ourselfs as well! It is extremely hard thing to do for me, food and sleep is my core struggles. I tend to eat very fast or don’t eat at all when it’s a busy day, thus I am making alarm clock from this week, to take breaks every hour, to have meal 3 times a day, to go outside at least for 15minutes, to do sports at least 15minutes and MUST HAVE morning ritual- yoga, prayer and meditation. Plus one beuty thing a day (nail coloring or simple shower time for example). There IS ENOUGH TIME for love. It’s like affirmation I have to be reminded more often (you should see my workspace wall full of reminders!!). And when I bring those little moments of self-love my mind expands, my energy fuels, my heart gets open and time – is really in His hands and Universe (He) opens the gates for all the miracles during the day. Gabby, you are not alone, shine to yourself!!! Thank you for sharing and sending much love!

    Let’s bring self-love a priority. Then we can give the World the fullest selfs!

    This week’s affirmation I use is: Let me be a blessing to myself and All (friends, strangers, World, everything).

    Sending much love, Gabby, take care! (Don’t push yourself too much, you’re the best Gift to the World, and since we’re deprived of nothing it is time to rearrange daily routines to bring self-love! Thank you from all my heart.).

    1. Karolina, I just want to say thank you for that affirmation, it was really powerful for me, kind of a mind shift that I needed, and thank you Gabby, I am just now almost forcing in time during the late night hours, pushing through exhaustion to finally read my emails from you, and all the while struggling to do simple self care throughout the day, like shower and eat!!! I desperately needed this wake up call from you to make self care my number one priority. I struggle with a deep seated guilt of putting myself first, I didn’t grow up religious, but I grew up very subservient to my family and developed this spiritual mantra from a young age to serve others before myself, in everything from serving the food on the table to what I do now which is basically life coach…that is life coach everyone but myself. How can I be a good example and serve others in bettering their life, loving themselves, caring for themselves, if I’m not doing the same for me. I really needed to simple yet profound shift in perspective you brought me. And it’s crazy, I’ve heard it and been reminded a thousand times to make that time for self love, but to make it a daily commitment, and as you said a moment…like a fully present Ekarht Tolle MOMENT! That really sunk it in! Thank you again, many blessings <3

  40. Today is my Day 42 on MCM and got this message on my mailbox. I truly resonate what you shared here. It is time to create space for self care so I can enjoy the life and contribute more to the world. Thank you,

  41. Thank you for this beautiful message today. As always, it was exactly what I needed to hear. I am SO in. I feel like the biggest act of self care is getting to my meetings everyday and working a program of recovery. Sometimes when I’m so busy with my two jobs and my coaching business, I can lose sight of my primary purpose. But when I get back to my basics, I instantly feel SO much better. Thank you Gabby <3

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