As Reese Witherspoon describes, Self-Care For the Real World (Abrams) by Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips is “a manual for everyone about real health from the inside out.”

With our busy lives, many people, especially women, can’t help but believe that caring for themselves is self-indulgent. When we have so many other people to care for, there’s little time for self-care—someone else would suffer for it.

But self-care is getting what you need instead of just what you want. It “…means being switched on, fully present and engaged in your life…. The opposite of switching off and retreating from the world.” It’s necessary.

What nourishes, nurtures and recharges you? Refueling, loving, and being kind are the basics of self-care. You must look for balance in your own life and decide what it means to take care of yourself. The goal of Self-Care For the Real World is not about reaching perfection but about accepting yourself, both the good and the flawed, and realizing that you deserve to feel good and be happy

According to Narain and Phillips, “Self-care doesn’t mean overhauling your entire life in a drastic way…. It’s about meeting yourself where you are right now… and thinking about the small steps you can take to care for yourself better.”

Get started by taking inventory. Make a list of things that make you feel bad and another list of things that make you feel good. Compare your lists and focus on the feel-good list, the positive.

Narain and Phillips have organized their recommendations into five chapters, with easy-to-follow suggestions, including the following highlights:


  • Learn to love yourself, including your body. Acknowledge there is nothing wrong with you.
  • Learn to forgive yourself. Admit that even though you’ve made mistakes, they don’t mean you’re a bad person.
  • Give your body massage-love.
  • Food—make mealtimes sacred and eat what makes you feel good.
  • Exercise.
  • Habits—learn how to make a good one in five minutes.


  • Don’t compare yourself to others—you never know what someone else’s story really is.
  • Learn to use social media to your self-care benefit.
  • Cultivate gratitude in your life.
  • Learn how to grow your confidence.
  • Manage money struggles—respect money but don’t let it define you.
  • Use positive messages and quotes.
  • Trade the “Fear of Missing Out” for the “Joy of Missing Out.”
  • Do something for someone else.


  • Replace stress with peace—spend time being, not doing.
  • Create a work-life balance.
  • Allow yourself to relax.
  • Give yourself time to heal from heartbreak and illness.


  • Nurture your relationships.
  • Let go of resentment.
  • Find your tribe and bond with it.
  • Just let go.


  • Start the day right.
  • Learn how to keep your work-life sanity.
  • Prepare for travel.
  • Create your personal sanctuary.
  • Love your home.
  • Prepare for bedtime and get a good night’s sleep.

Interspersed throughout the book are recipes, exercises, and stories to help guide us on the path to loving ourselves.

Narain and Phillips remind us that “there is no final destination…to self-care…there is no perfect self…. Think instead of a constantly evolving process towards feeling the best version of yourself wherever you are right now.”

So, take good care and be the best person you can be in the present.

Self-Care For the Real World is now available to purchase.


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Nadia Narain is one of the UK’s top yoga teachers, known for her range of bestselling DVDs. She began her career teaching yoga on tour with bands, and then became one of the original teachers at London’s celebrated triyoga centre. She is a regular in magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar, and also has her own range of chemical-free candles and perfume.

Katia Narain Phillips has worked in wellness, food and massage for more than twenty years. Hailed as a ‘health-food pioneer’ by Red Magazine, she opened a raw food café over ten years ago, and now runs the innovative Nectar Café in London. She lives in London with her husband and her two sons.

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