When I think of self-care, I think of a garden that’s under my care. In my mind, it has the potential to become this magical place, but it’s not always rainbows or butterflies to begin with. To grow a lush green garden, we must be willing to get our hands dirty and put in the work. Planting seeds and pulling out weeds won’t be pretty, but real self-care involves paying attention to what’s stunting your growth and developing healthier habits.

There’ll be a lot of blood, sweat and tears when it comes to self-discipline, painful healing and behaviour correcting. But your garden requires regular maintenance and constant growth in order to thrive. If you neglect it, or forget about it for too long, it will wither. Start with these 5 steps to grow real self-care:

  1. Plant your purpose
    We all have our own reasons for wanting to practice self-care. Imagine the best version of yourself and write down what you need to do to become that.
  2. Prioritise your mental health and happiness
    These should be the pride and joy of your garden. Set healthy boundaries to protect your emotional space when it comes to work and personal relationships.
  3. Focus on growth
    Give yourself permission to grow. Commit to practicing real self-care on the daily, and make a conscious effort to maintain your mental health and happiness.
  4. Address root issues
    Dig deep into the root of your problems. When we ignore our issues, we allow ourselves to get stuck in bad habits and negative thought patterns instead of finding a solution.
  5. Go at your own pace
    Don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s. Give yourself all the time and patience needed to grow and blossom.

In order to flourish, you must nurture and support yourself. Start small, take responsibility and reflect honestly. You’ve got this!