What is Spiritual Self-Care? (+ 5 Easy Ways to Start)

Spiritual self-care is tending to the part of yourself that wants and needs to connect and find meaning in something greater than yourself.

Another aspect, which you might call “energetic self-care” is managing your subtle energy field or aura so you are not carrying around other people’s energy and your chakras are balanced.

Because everyone’s spiritual path is different, everyone’s practice is going to be different. But spirituality is as old as humanity itself, and there are a lot of commonalities in how we connect. So here are some general practical tips about how you can nurture your spiritual connection.

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1. Simply slow down and be present throughout your day.

There is an ancient Zen saying that goes, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.” (You can substitute modern chores like “wash dishes, make dinner”). The point is that spiritual awareness isn’t about your actions. It’s about how you experience those actions.

There are many actions we can take to shift our state of mind (like the rest of this list). But these are all things to help us regain that sense of connection on our side. Spirit never leaves the other side of the connection. That means you can drop into that connected state no matter what you are doing, because it is always available.

Spiritual practices help train your mind to be present and appreciate the wonder of existence. As your practice deepens, this presence and appreciation extend to your entire life.

2. Devote your everyday spaces to the sacred.

Spirituality is an awareness of the sacred, and ultimately everything is sacred–if you choose to perceive it that way.

Your bed can be an altar to nurturing your body & your relationship. Your office can be a sacred space devoted to meaningful work and contribution. Your home can be a retreat that nourishes you, or a place that welcomes weary travelers.

Accomplishing this is about mindfully decorating and arranging your spaces so they remind you of the sacred purpose you have dedicated them to.

I’m obviously partial to crystals, but you can get your spiritual vibe on with artwork, statues, or whatever else you associate with your spiritual practice.

3. Make a reading nook stocked with spiritual books.

I don’t know about you, but reading my favorite spiritual books is one of the quickest ways for me to shift into a mindset of connection, gratitude, and devotion.

Here are a few that I rely on:

The Wise Heart: A Guide to the Universal Teachings of Buddhist Psychology
This is my favorite book on Buddhism because it focuses on the psychology behind the teachings. Buddhism is as much a system of how to live well as it is a religion, and its precision in matters of the mind is unparalleled.
Legacy of the Heart: The Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood
This is one of the most beautiful and heart-touching books I have read. It helped me let go of continually defining myself by my childhood and see my pain as just part of being human.
Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
An oldie but still the best guide that I've found about how to align your creativity with your Divine connection (which is the Source of all creativity).
Emotional Clearing: An East / West Guide to Releasing Negative Feelings and Awakening Unconditional Happiness
This book has a very simple message: accept your feelings. When you resist your feelings you are rejecting yourself and you stay locked in perpetual inner battle.

4. Make a standing date with nature.

There is nothing more powerfully resetting to our spiritual connection than time spent in nature. And the best way to have this in your life is to make it a regular date.

This might mean walking through the park every day on your way home from work, or going backpacking one weekend a month. It’s really up to you, and starting small will make you more likely to maintain it.

It could just mean stepping out onto your balcony every morning to take in a fresh breathe of air and greet the day.

5. Regularly attend to your energetic boundaries.

If you are sensitive (and if you found your way to my blog, I’m assuming you are), you are likely picking up other people’s energy as you go through your day. If you are an empath, it’s likely much worse and you can lose your sense of where you end and others begin.

This can leave you feeling drained, irritated, overwhelmed, and having intense emotions that you can’t resolve (because they are not yours).

There are several ways to begin managing your energy better.

  • Wear clearing & protective crystals like black tourmaline or amethyst.
  • Burn a clearing plant like palo santo or sage.
  • Use a singing bowl for vibrational sound clearing.
  • Visualize a bubble of white light around you.
  • Say out loud, “Any energy that is not mine, please leave”, and “I call all my energy back to me”.
  • Do regular crystal chakra body layouts, where you lay down and place a corresponding crystal on each chakra.

If you need more help in this area, I highly recommend Anna Sayce’s empath’s toolkit.

Whatever you choose to do, make it a practice.

Like any form of self-care, spiritual self-care only works if you do it regularly. One way to help yourself do that is to set up reminders. Put them anywhere you will see them–in your calendar, a post-it on your bathroom mirror, a note on the fridge or on your car dashboard. Simple phrases can be best, like:

  • Tune in
  • Slow down
  • This is sacred space

Experiment, have fun, and stay curious!