Self-care is what lets people stay strong enough to keep functioning and help others. It’s what helps you avoid burning out or breaking down. A lot of people ignore it, or even feel guilty for doing it, but neglecting adequate self-care is one of the most self-destructive things you can do.
There are plenty of ways to take care of yourself in a mundane fashion — take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply, make sure you drink enough water, prepare a healthy meal for yourself, get to bed in time for a full night’s sleep — but there are magickal ways to take care of yourself, too.
Ways to Take Care of Yourself
- Practice grounding. This helps you realign and return your energy to its natural state. It’s not quite as glamorous as spellcraft, but grounding is an integral part of any magickal practice and a vital part of properly taking care of yourself.
- Make time for meditation. I know, it shows up on pretty much every list of self-care tips out there I say this a lot. I think its importance is hard to overstate, because I have personally experienced the enormous difference that regular daily meditation (even though I do it a bit differently from most people) has made in both my practice and my mental and physical health. Even if you only have five minutes to devote to it, or even just a minute to close your eyes and breathe, do what you can to help yourself regroup.
- If part of your practice is distressing you or preoccupying your thoughts, put it on hold for now. I’ve heard stories of some people who’ve become wrapped up in divination as a way to alleviate some of their anxiety. While this may work for a lot of people, in their cases it led to sleepless nights while they thought through a thousand different interpretations of the symbols they saw. Don’t worry about letting part of your practice be for a little bit — you can always resume when you’re in a better place. You aren’t less of a witch for doing so.
- Take a magickal bath. A regular bath can be super comforting and soothing, but invoking your deities (if any), adding the right herbs, and improving the ambience with candles and music in a ritual bath setting is even more so.
- Enchant your tea. Trace a clockwise spiral over the surface of the liquid with the index finger of your dominant hand. Feel yourself channeling healing, protective energy into it, making the tea dance with sparkling golden light. As you do so, say, “With this tea, I bring calmness, peace, and resilience into myself. I will continue my day relaxed and renewed.”
- Perform a self-care spell. Here’s one from Llewellyn’s site, but it’s easy to make your own along the same lines. It doesn’t have to take very long, just a few minutes for you to acknowledge your needs and state your intent to have them fulfilled.
- If you’re a healthcare provider, social worker, crisis counselor, teacher, or in another position that leaves you at risk for burnout, consider pre-loading some tea lights with cleansing, peaceful, healing, and soothing herbs like mint, lavender, chamomile, and ylang ylang. Channel healing energy into each one, and save them for the days when you most need a tiny self-care boost.
If you’re interested in crafting your own self-care rituals, some of these herbs might be helpful:
- Allspice. Associated with luck and healing, allspice berries have a warming flavor that makes them suitable for including in magickal recipes.
- Anemone. Associated with protection and healing. Anemone blossoms (particularly red ones) provide protection when grown in or around a home.
- Apple. Associated with healing and love, apples have a long history of use in magick. Best of all, if you’re one of the many people who gets colon trouble from stress, the fiber in apples may help calm things down.
- Ash. Associated with protection, prosperity, and healing. A stout ash staff keeps evil at bay.
- Blackberry. Blackberry fruit is an excellent ingredient in healing potions, while the thorns can be added to protective spells.
- Borage. Borage helps lift spirits and imparts courage.
- Cedar. Cedar smoke is purifying, and it’s also associated with healing and protection. In aromatherapy, western red cedar is said to have a strengthening effect.
- Chamomile. These daisylike flowers are associated with sleep, healing, and purification. They also have a very calming effect when used in a tea, and I love adding them to sleep sachets and healing brews.
- Eucalyptus. Eucalyprus is associated with healing and protection, and can be discreetly carried and used in the form of products like VapoRub.
- Lavender. Associated with love, peace, happiness, and protection, lavender is an herb I don’t think any home should be without.
- Lemon Balm. Associated with healing and love. Tea made of lemon balm has a mildly sedative effect.
- Mint. Associated with healing and protection, mint is a great ingredient for healing teas. As an added benefit, mint tea can help quiet a nervous stomach.
- Wood Betony. If you’re suffering from nightmares, some wood betony placed under your pillow can protect you.
- Ylang ylang. Associated with peace and love, ylang ylang oil is frequently added to aromatherapy preparations for relaxation.
Sometimes magick isn’t enough. If you’ve tried everything and still don’t feel like it’s helping you maintain an even keel, don’t be afraid to reach out. Look for a good therapist if you have the means to do so, or, if you’re able, reach out to your friends and family for emotional support. If things reach a crisis point, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If you feel unable to talk to someone, please consider the Crisis Text Line.