Self-care is something I’ve always struggled with. For awhile, I didn’t even know that I was supposed to do anything for myself. I had my job and my friends and I just worked, came home, ate whatever was easy, and crawled into bed. That was my life. While I wasn’t happy, I didn’t really see any way (or any reason) to change anything.

But then I was diagnosed with depression, and the therapist asked me what I do for myself. I just stared at him for a bit. I wasn’t sure how to answer at first, and then I realized it was even worse than that—I didn’t have an answer. I didn’t do anything for myself. I didn’t think I deserved it, and I didn’t have the energy for it.

At first, it felt like something that I had to check off on my to-do every single day. Like it was work. But it does not have to be that way. As time goes on, I am practicing self-care more and more. It is an important part of the recovery process. We all need to believe that we are worthwhile, and self-care is a very simple way to show yourself that you are.

Here are some of my favorite ways to show some self-care: reading a book in a bubble bath, getting my nails done (or even taking the time to paint them myself), wearing my pjs all day on a weekend and watching cheesy movies, calling a friend on the phone to talk about anything or nothing, writing in this blog or a notebook about my day or my feelings, talking to a counselor, getting a haircut, going out to a movie with my friends, dancing around my living room to a good song.

Not all of these things cost money and some take hardly any time to do at all. Self-care can be as big or as little as you make it. What it is doesn’t matter as long as it is something positive. For example, maybe a couple of cookies can be a real treat for me but if I eat the whole bag in one sitting, I’m not taking care of myself at all—just the opposite, actually. I also know lots of people who indulge in retail therapy. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. If you have a budget and stick to it, this might be an occasional treat for yourself. But buying things can quickly put you into debt—which can make you feel even worse and add to your stress—and purchases don’t usually make people feel good for very long.

Think about the things that you like to do and how you can incorporate even little aspects of them into your day. Giving yourself a few moments to meditate, write about how you feel, or something else that puts a smile on your face every day is going to be very worth it in the long run. You deserve it!