While #selfcare has been a trendy buzzword over the last few years, being kind to your body and mind is so much more than sheet masks and bubble baths (despite how Instagram makes it look). Of course, it can, and should, include a little self-indulgence, but real self-care means creating habits that are likely a lot more boring—like going to bed earlier—rather than trips to the spa. “Self-care is the action we undertake to look after ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally,” explains self-care coach Mel Noakes. “It’s the commitment you make every day to look after yourself.” With the right self-care approach, you’ll be rewarded with more energy and a positive mindset, and have the mental capacity to be more present for friends, family, and work.

Find out what our experts have to say about what it means to commit to nourishing yourself with self-care.

Jennifer Haddow

Owner of global outdoor travel company, Wild Women Expeditions 

We are all sick of being pushed too hard and ignoring our inner wisdom about what’s right for us. For me, I get into nature as much as I can and try to keep it very simple. I feel most healthy and inspired when I immerse myself in the rhythms of the natural world. 

Suzanne Brown

Marketing consultant and author of Mompowerment: Insights from Successful Professional Part-Time Working Moms Who Balance Career & Family    

Self-care means drinking enough water, getting enough sleep. You can’t avoid all those things and then go and have a spa day and think you’re taking care of yourself. How are you caring for yourself the other 29 days of the month? You are so much better as a mother, an employee, a friend, if you take care of yourself and find a way to re-energize and recharge.

Meghan Burrows BSc, RTS

Healthcare Project Coordinator

I’ve learned not to let environmental factors like "urgent" emails or bad weather impact the quality or consistency of my personal self-care. On [busy] days, I park my car farther from work and take an extra 10-15 minutes to walk in, fully unplugged from music and my phone, and soak in the gentle movement without distraction. My ultimate form of self-care is reading before bed. It brings me back to when I was a kid, and I like to embrace that part of myself that enjoys learning and adventuring through the words of others.

Spenser Brassard

Certified Life Coach & Fertility Expert

Self-care is being willing to ask your mind, body, and soul what it needs right now—and actually listening to it. If your eyes are strained from looking at a computer all day and your body’s tired from sitting in the same spot for eight hours, self-care would be lying down or shutting your eyes for 15 minutes, even if it’s 3 p.m.; even if you hear society’s voice in your head saying, “Just push through it.” 

Joy McCarthy

Certified holistic nutritionist, owner of Joyous Health, and best-selling author

Self-care, to me, is the simple practice of making time to do something that fills up my happiness cup. It doesn't matter whether it's five minutes or 30 minutes, and it doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's rejuvenating. When my self-care practice falls by the wayside, that's when I feel overwhelmed and stressed. My daily practice is walking with my daughter in the park in the morning. Being in nature nourishes my soul, helps me feel grounded, and gets my heart rate up.

Ellen Latham

Orangetheory Fitness Co-Founder  

Self-care is where I check in with myself and assess what is going on with my body, mind, and soul. I cannot be the best version of myself if I’m not in tune with what’s working and what’s not in my life. After assessing, I can plan for that day, week, month, or life. You must pay attention to self-care or you’ll burn out or lose motivation. You can only go so far on fumes, like a car out of gas.

Lorna Jane Clarkson

CCO of athletic apparel company, Lorna Jane @lornajaneactive

I believe that self-care is vital for everyone, especially women. We often need to make an extra effort to be sure that we’re taking time for ourselves, because we’re generally taught to put everyone else’s needs before our own. But how can we possibly support others if we don’t take care of our own needs first? Similar to running your own business, it’s about setting boundaries and ensuring you’re having that time for yourself, otherwise you’ll find yourself working 24/7. It can seem overwhelming to find the time at first, but if you just start small, you’ll see the benefits and be able to build a self-care practice that works for you.

Chelsea Clarke
Chelsea is a Toronto-based editor and writer, penning everything from investigative reports to inspiring profiles. She’s the current Associate Editor of Strategy Magazine.