I was very intrigued when the concept of ‘self-care’ came to my attention; I teach all day, which I enjoy, but being around people left me feeling drained (classic introvert). At first I thought that self-care meant laying in bed or hiding in the dark for an entire day, so I did just that, but it didn’t help me feel recharged.
In reality, self-care is more empowering than giving in to your impulse to never move. Self-care means that you need to make yourself a priority and push yourself to take care of yourself. The guiding principle of self-care is, in other words, to do something that fills you back up rather than something that drains you. Below is my list of witchy self-care activities, some of which can be done at a moment’s notice, and others that need minimal magickal preparation.
1. Active Meditation – This is doing something that puts you ‘in the zone’ versus traditional, passive meditation (see #13 below). Active meditation can be anything from art projects to walking the dog, but if you lose yourself in it, then it’s active meditation. Active meditation means that you are lost in the moment, that you don’t feel time passing, and doing the activity that enables it can feel very rewarding.
2. Aromatherapy – I don’t know many witches who don’t have at least a few candles around, and filling your space with fragrance can really lighten a mood. I like seasonal smells since the weather doesn’t change much around here, but you can use any scents that help you feel positive emotions. For a magickal boost, use incense that has been charged or has a specific benefit (ie: lavender to calm). Carve sigils into the candles or write affirmations on them to focus their energy release as they burn.
3. Book of Shadows – A witch’s BoS is extremely intimate, so working with the BoS is like working with the self. When self-care is in order, open up your BoS and review the information. Is there anything you can add? Does the index need additions? Are there any spells or divination that needs reflecting on? See also grimoire (#7 below).
4. Cleansing Your Self – Much like space cleansing you can also cleanse yourself as part of a self-care routine. I started to sage myself daily in the morning to set the tone for the day, and I found it very helpful. You can use sage, lavender, or a number of other cleansing herbs to reset your energy. Cleansing also pairs well with grounding (#8 below).
5. Cleaning Your Altar/Space – Counter to what you perhaps want to do when you need self-care, cleaning your space will get you moving and help get rid of some of the negative or dull energy that may be weighing you down. My detailed guide to cleaning the energy in your space can be found here. Along with energy cleansing, regular cleaning does a world of good because it allows the energy to flow around the space more freely.
6. Divination – Depending on what caused the need for self-care, a little bit of divination may help. You can ask how to best approach the issue at hand, even if the issue is just malaise, then follow the advice you are given. The divination you conduct can also be recorded in your Book of Shadows (see #3 above) for a double dose of self-care magick.
7. Grimoire – A Book of Shadows and a Grimoire are often separate (see my post on starting a BoS/grimoire if you aren’t sure what either are) so they are separated on this list. Some grimoire activities include research, revision, organization, or addition of new information to your book. For personal magickal entries see Book of Shadows (#3 above).
8. Grounding – There are many techniques for grounding, which is the release of negative energy into the Earth (hence the name). This is because the Earth can handle our negative energy and dissipates it with ease. The traditional grounding technique is to put your feet flat on the floor and visualize roots coming out of the bottom of your feet and going into the ground. Then see the energy you want to get rid of flowing down those roots and dispersing in the earth. If you aren’t able to visualize, do something that involves earth, such as repotting plants, or tending your garden. Grounding combines well with cleansing (see #4 above).
9. Magickal Bath – There are a few ways to witch up a bath: tub sachets with herbs and herbal bath salt blends can be charged in the Full Moon beforehand for a magickal boost. You can also place representations of all four elements around your bath to restore balance by using the tub (water), epsom salts (earth), candles (fire), and candle fragrance or incense (air). Finally, a bath can be used to release negative energy by visualizing the negativity leaving your body and disappearing harmlessly into the water.
10. Magickal Crafts – Even if you’re not pagan, decorating for the season still adds to your magickal practice. If you don’t use the Wheel of the Year, the Moons – all of which have names – work wonderfully as well. Research seasonal crafts and add them to your altar or living space. You can also make magickal items like bath sachets (see #9 above), candles, tea blends (see #11 below), or a myriad of magickal items. Witches are natural crafters, after all.
11. Magickal Tea – Making yourself a cup of tea is a lovely way to relax and center. If you make your own tea blends you likely already know their magickal properties. If not, you can look up your favorite tea blend’s properties in a correspondence book, and for a magickal punch you can modify my coffee spell for use in your tea.
12. Nature Walk – Walking through nature is inherently grounding and centering. For people who can’t visualize, nature walks are a perfect replacement for traditional grounding exercises. The whole ‘tree hugger’ thing may be a joke, but hugging trees really helps! Wander outside, get some sun, breathe a little fresh air, and touch a tree to ground and center yourself.
13. Passive Meditation – I define passive meditation as meditation that takes place without moving. One witchy way to meditate traditionally is guided meditation. There are a lot of guided meditations available, and some are quite good, you can even record ones for yourself and listen to them at a later date. A lot can be revealed in a meditation as well, so you can walk away from it with some great insights.
14. Reading – One thing that I try to do every single day was read; not read online, but read a book or something in print. If you’re anything like me, your magickal library is likely to be overflowing, too. Reading a book is a great act of self-care because it takes you out of yourself, can inspire you, and when you put the book down you’re able to feel like you’ve accomplished something.
15. Sound Therapy – I really don’t like ‘noise,’ but sound therapy isn’t just noise. Listening to music that you love can improve your mood instantly. There are supposed to be benefits from sound therapy, too, and singing bowls are relatively easy to master. Some people absolutely adore than, and they aren’t hard to pick up. Additionally, playing a musical instrument can work as a type of active meditation as well.
I hope you found this list helpful and got a few ideas that you can use next time you’re in need of self-care. Enjoy some time to yourself during the dark half of the year, and blessed be!
Stock image by Ariel Lustre