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Simple but Significant Questions for Practicing Self-Care

Listen To Your Heart Lettering

Self-care is not a to-do list. I was recently reminded of this in this newsletter from Nicole Antoinette. In other words, self-care isn’t a list of tasks you need to check off every day or every week. Get a manicure and pedicure Monday. Take a bubble bath on Tuesday. Work out on Wednesday. Make a home-cooked dinner on Friday. 

Rather, self-care is paying attention. It is listening to ourselves. Now. Right now.

Nicole writes in the same piece: “Sure, self-supportive habits play a role, but true self care is the ability to listen deeply to myself in real time each day so that I can hear my needs as they arise, followed by the ability to take those needs seriously and do something to meet them (instead of beating myself up for needing anything in the first place).”

Self-care is asking ourselves thoughtful questions to help us make decisions that nourish us—whether that’s sleeping in or getting up early or eating something or drinking water or taking a deep breath or taking the day off or saying no or saying yes.

That’s why today I’m sharing a range of simple but powerful questions we can ask to help us take compassionate care of ourselves in the moment. 

  • What emotion is coming up for me right now?
  • What am I saying to myself?
  • What assumptions am I making? (For instance, you might be making these assumptions: If I’m not productive, clearly something is wrong with me. If I can’t fit into a size 6, I’m disgusting. I can’t be tired today! I slept the whole night.)
  • What is my body yearning for? (For example, this might be rest or sleep or movement or meditation.)
  • Am I hungry? Am I full?
  • What am I worrying about?
  • What is true for me in this moment?
  • What do I need?
  • What is troubling me?
  • What am I struggling with?
  • What would make me feel better?
  • What’s on my mind?
  • How can I honor myself?
  • How can I support myself through this?

You might pick a few questions that you like and ask those regularly. Or you might simply check in by asking yourself: How am I doing? What do I need? And then give yourself whatever that is.

Photo credit: Natalia An/
Simple but Significant Questions for Practicing Self-Care

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2019). Simple but Significant Questions for Practicing Self-Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 31 Mar 2019
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