What Exactly Is “Self-care”?

“Self-care” has become one of the most ubiquitous words these days. On Instagram, since it has become a ruler for measuring the popularity of anything in our world now, #selfcare has been tagged, as we speak, in 6,655,903 posts. So, what is self-care, exactly? And why is everyone talking about it?

On my mission to answer this question, I came upon one definition on Forbes: “Self-care is not an indulgence. Self-care is a discipline. It requires tough-mindedness, a deep and personal understanding of your priorities, and a respect for both yourself and the people you choose to spend your life with.”

Ok, that’s pretty spot-on. And powerful. The more I poked my nose into this concept of taking care of ourselves, of loving ourselves, though, the more I realised that while the general idea may be similar, the how of self-care can go a million different ways, to each her own.

“What is self-care?” is a question that we have asked many of our WoW Women in recent years. So, in order to answer the question for me, I decided to revisit them, as well as reach out to a few more women whom I know will offer us some good insights and ideas on treating ourselves more care-fully. More importantly, I know they will also give us the courage, or remove the guilt, whenever we devote a little time, energy and effort just for us.



Co-Founder, Touch The Toes


“Less is more — having less things, shopping less means I have more time. Time for self-reflection and being with other people (in equal parts). This leads to more conscious behaviours, more deliberate actions, and less clutter in the head. 🙂”


Founder, Esse

“Self-care is all about listening to your mind and body. I am generally quite low maintenance, but sleep is a big thing for me. I need a good night’s sleep (after listening to this podcast by Arianna Huffington, I was totally inspired to relook at my sleep hygiene). Some practical advice:

1. Don’t be afraid to sleep in. If I don’t get at least six hours of sleep, I try to take naps or move my morning appointments.

2. Get quality sleep. I used to have my mobile phone beside my bed  now I’ve moved it to the far end of my bedroom so the phone is not the first and last thing I look at when I wake up and go to bed. (I’m still working on minimising screen time before I sleep though.)

3. Create the best environment to sleep in. I usually put a couple drops of lavender essential oil in my diffuser and try to meditate before I sleep.

On the emotional/mental front, it’s all about being able to decompress. I am an introvert, and my job requires me to meet so many different people, which means I also need lots of alone time when I can recuperate and read a book or watch a show on Netflix.

Over the years, I have become more selective about who I spend my time with  I try to make the most time for family, friends and surround myself with other women entrepreneurs who are willing to have honest and open conversations.”






“I believe in self-care, 100%! My idea of self-care is indulging in and treating the self to anything it desires. It could be as simple as taking a nap or allowing myself an extra slice of cake. My tip would be to remember to tune in to your intuition for what you need, to always listen to your body and live life for yourself, not others.


Founder, Boss Of Me

“I do yoga and boxing twice a week, and go for runs with my dog on other days. If you look at my organiser, you’ll see that my schedule is planned around my workouts. Self-care is important because if I’m not feeling my best physically, I won’t be able to function well mentally. It’s thanks to my yoga that I can sit for hours writing and editing without fatigue or a sore body. Also, committing to exercise is discipline, and that helps when I’m juggling a few books. I also travel widely. I find that I write very well on the plane where there is absolutely no distraction (yes, I am a multi-tasker who is usually replying to emails, texting, writing and eating at the same time!).”



Founder, Bynd Artisan


“Knowing myself and my possibilities and limitations is important. Otherwise, I could be over-extending myself for others, and under-achieving and not maximising my potential.

Stress is often self induced when we have high expectations or demand too much of ourselves.

The key to self-care, I feel, is self acceptance and being comfortable in our own skin. If we can acknowledge our own shortcomings and understand that happiness is possible even with what we deem as imperfections, that life can be fulfilling even with rawness and scars, then we have attained self-care.

That doesn’t mean we accept that we cannot achieve certain things we envision. Daring to dream, understanding our own shortfalls, and believing that we can make it possible despite hurdles — these are also different forms of self-care. There is greatness in each and everyone of us waiting to be unleashed.”

Self-care is about maintaining/restoring your inner peace.
Through that, you can build a strong framework as an individual
to live freely, and not be a social pleaser.




Co-Founder, Touch The Toes

“For me, self-care is setting time aside for me to breathe slowly and consciously. This can be doing a yoga sequence slowly with my eyes closed, while consciously inhaling and exhaling. This helps declutter my head and allows me to serve others around me better. Recently, I’ve been enjoying floatation. Here, you lie in a tank filled with salt. The salt allows you to float and you’re in pitch darkness and silence for 90 minutes. To be honest, it did freak me out the first time because we’re just not used to this kind of experience. But I enjoy it now as it allows me to slow down, breathe and allow my imagination to flow and envision the future. I love the feeling of weightlessness. I would love to feel this sensation in space one day. 🙂”


Co-founder, The Mindful Company

“I think it starts with internalising the idea that if you’re not kind to yourself, you won’t have any capacity to be kind to the people around you. You can only give out what you put in. Being kind to yourself starts with the idea that you can only do your best, and your best is enough. ‘Best’ in this context means what is within your control.”


What does “self-care” mean to you? How do you take care of yourself?

Share with us in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you. x


(With the exception of Wuen’s, Eliza’s and Alicia’s which they kindly provided.)

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