12 Women on the Self-Care Rituals They Swear By

Leah Faye Cooper
12 Women on the Self-Care Rituals They Swear By
Photo: Nadia Aboulhosn

It’s an unfortunate reality that we often put doing things for ourselves last on our priority lists—if we even make the cut at all. On any given day, school, work, and caring for loved ones—among the myriad other responsibilities that come along with adulthood—easily take precedence over, say, a long bath or a reality TV binge.

While it sounds painfully cheesy, and is certainly easier said than done, we all deserve a respite from our respective daily grinds. And we also deserve to not feel guilty about it. For inspiration (and the sake of our collective sanity), we talked to 12 women about what self-care means to them and how they put it into practice. From medicinal baths to feasting on tacos, ahead is their pampering advice, which you’ll totally want to live by

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“Say what you will about psychics and palm readers, but I took a tarot card reading course four years ago, and now I’m hooked! Once a week, I set aside time to give myself a three-card reading to reflect upon my past, present, and to see what’s on deck for the future. I always feel uplifted afterward, especially because the deck I use [Angel Tarot Cards by Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine ] only offers positive, reassuring messages. It’s a great way to help me get inspired for the week ahead and do some self-exploration. If I’m going through a difficult situation or could use some guidance, the cards always offer clarity—not to mention I feel witchy AF whenever I use them!”—Jennifer, 25

“Getting my eyebrows threaded is a must-do. I feel so much more confident afterwards and the results are dramatic, in a good way. I go every three to four weeks.”—Dorothy, 32

journal quote 12 Women on the Self Care Rituals They Swear By
“I’m in the business of self-care, so I love to indulge in anything that gets me out of my head and into my body. Bodywork is an incredible way to reconnect with ourselves, to relax deeply, and to release anything that stands in the way of feeling comfortable in our own skin. Along with monthly massages and chiropractic work, I maintain a daily yoga and meditation practice that keeps me grounded and sane, especially in the winter months. And because I am susceptible to SAD [seasonal affective disorder], I write in a journal first thing every morning. My intention is to connect and communicate with myself first before I share myself with others. It’s a quick and easy ritual to affirm myself and keep my mental health in check. It often leaves me feeling clearer and lighter, and I’m more balanced when I step onto the mat to practice.”—Catherine, 28

“I used to love watching music video countdowns when I was growing up, even those long BET episodes where a celebrity would pick their top 100 videos. Now that I’m a cord-cutter and most of those countdown shows have been canceled, about once or twice a month I like to curl up in my bed for a couple of hours and watch the latest hip-hop and R&B videos on my Apple TV. It helps me keep up with what the younger kids are listening to, and reminds me of the more relaxed Saturdays of my high school years.”—Ashley, 28

bath quote 12 Women on the Self Care Rituals They Swear By
“I like taking very indulgent medicinal baths. A few times a week, I’ll fill my tub with very hot water and pour in epsom salts, fine sea salt, baking soda, or sometimes a bit of peroxide. Next, I fragrance the water with essential oils, rose petals, or rose water. Before getting in I’ll dry brush my body and set out a glass of cool water for myself. Once the water cools slightly, I’ll stay in until I break a sweat, and that’s usually just enough time for me to watch a few “School of Life” videos on the laptop I’ve set up across the bathroom. After, I towel off, massage myself in avocado oil, and go to sleep.”—Cambrey, 29

facial quote 12 Women on the Self Care Rituals They Swear By

“My favorite indulgence is a monthly facial. I’ve had sensitive skin since I was 12, so I’m obsessive about them! They give me an opportunity to relax and I feel like I’m purging the city grime from my face.”—Erinn, 37

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“I’m making a commitment to seek out what I call the ‘sun, sand, and sleep trifecta’ four to five times a year. Living in a city and maintaining a freelance schedule takes a toll on my body and spirit, so making time for sun and sleep keeps me sane. It’s not really about going out of town to party—I literally use this time to sleep uninterrupted and get natural Vitamin D to balance my mood. The main reason why people get so cranky in the winter is because your body is lacking the natural energy it gets from warm sun, especially for people of color. So if I can swing doing a trip, I’ll do it, even if it’s only for three days. It makes a huge difference in my mood for months.”—Jennifer, 38

food quote 12 Women on the Self Care Rituals They Swear By

“I make myself a luxurious meal at least once a month. It doesn’t have to be anything too difficult! In fact, my favorite is filet mignon. It can costs upwards of $50 at a restaurant but a single filet is only about $15 to $18, even at Whole Foods. It’s a simple preparation—just season with a bit of salt and pepper—and only takes about 10 minutes to cook. Paired with some broccoli or spinach sauteed in garlic butter, it’s even low-carb and paleo-friendly. I use my best flatware, pour a nice glass of wine, and remind myself that I deserve the best that life has to offer.”—Erin, 37

“I watch reality shows to take my mind off of my own stress, like Love & Hip Hop, Teen Mom 2, and Married to Medicine. I also like to listen to my favorite inspirational music that I have been listening to forever. India Arie is my go-to”.—Hafeezah, 31

“I live in New York and make it a point to ‘treat’ myself weekly because this city is tough. Whether it’s ordering an expensive glass of champagne, getting a facial, getting a massage, or getting my nails done, self-love is a weekly manifestation.”—Joi-Marie, 31

yoga quote 12 Women on the Self Care Rituals They Swear By
“I do hot yoga religiously. It clears my head and builds my discipline for mindfulness. It’s also helpful for intention-setting, making commitments to myself, and reconnecting to the divine. And on Friday evenings I focus on self-care, transforming my apartment into an at-home oasis, treating my hair and skin, and my mind by practicing mindfulness and meditation exercises.”—Stephanie, 29

After a long week, I enjoy spending an evening at home—in a onesie with a bottle of wine and some tacos.”—Danielle, 30