Photography by Jodi Lynn

I can’t tell you how long it has taken me to prioritize self-care, and I am NEVER going back! Like most moms, we tend to put our kids, husband, home, first… and we put ourselves last. There is that mom guilt that is always lurking whenever we want to do something for ourselves causing us to believe that self-care is selfish and that we need to care only for our family. I know I felt that way for many years. Never doing anything for myself, whether it be buying new clothes, going to the gym, making myself healthy meals, even pampering myself with a facial or getting my hair done. All of my time and energy was dedicated to my family, which I was happy to do because I love my family; I thought of it as the sacrifice of a mother. As a result of being so focused on others, I lost a part of myself- that important part of being a woman, not ONLY a mom. I lost the parts of me with the passion for fitness, nutrition, and fashion. The part of me that enjoyed getting dressed up and going out on the town with my husband, feeling confident in stilettos and skinny jeans.

It has taken a while, but I have finally learned that taking care of myself isn’t self-indulgence, it is self-preservation. It doesn’t mean “me first” it means “me too”. Taking care of myself is the most powerful way to begin to take care of others. It is giving the world the best of you, instead of what’s left of you. We owe ourselves the love that we freely and so generously give to others.

Self-care is different for everyone, but it’s anything that you do for yourself that makes your soul happy, it can be: Reading a book. Meditation. Eating a balanced diet. Exercising regularly. Getting enough sleep. Listening to music. Stress management. Going to therapy. Setting boundaries. Being creative. Prayer. Going shopping. Taking a bath. Getting your hair and nails done. Taking regular breaks. Stretching. Practicing gratitude. Mindfulness. Looking after your skin. Effective communication. Saying no. Challenging your mind. Learning new things. Hanging out with friends. Spending time with family. Date nights. Self-reflection. Balancing and centering yourself. Setting goals. Developing healthy habits.

Self-care goes beyond the pampering we do to treat ourselves every so often. That is important as well and you should do those things because you are deserving of it all. However, it is essential to practice daily self-care. Yes, I said, DAILY. It’s a way of telling yourself that you are valuable and worthy of care, love and respect. It is time that you make yourself a priority. It is time that you give yourself the love and care that you deserve. Remember that when you practice self-care you are showing compassion to yourself. You feel better, your mind is clearer, and it ultimately improves your relationships with others.

When you practice self-care, you are telling yourself and others that:

So tell me, what makes your soul happy? What are you going to do today to start making yourself a priority and start practicing self-care?

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