Self care has become one of those buzz words floating around advertisements, Facebook, Insta (all the cool kids call it “insta”), the work water cooler and the playground benches.  But what is it? I mean, its not a difficult word to decode – Self Care, Care of the Self, Taking Care of Yourself. But again, what does that mean? Girls only vacay? A $600 sweet potato face mask? Putting on a bra?  Anyone?

In truth, it can mean all of those things.  The real question you should be asking and attempting to answer is, what do I need?  Not what does your boss need, your kids, your husband, your mother, your neighbor, or your dog need.  You. What is it that YOU need to feel more energized, prepared, more able to do the things you want to do AND (here is the key) do them well?  Feeling even more lost and confused than before? Totally normal. If you google self care (warning rabbit hole! rabbit hole!), you will see SO many definitions and  recommendations.

The irony is that self care is completely individual.

It’s based entirely on you, your lifestyle and your personality.  For instance, my husband is a total extrovert. He recharges by going out, socializing and being with people.

I on the other hand, refill my cup by tossing on some ratty sweatpants, grabbing a few Oreos, and watching reruns of West Wing with zero people.  

The dog can stay. My mother shops. One good friend does ridiculously difficult workouts. Another friend does weird Asian beauty techniques she finds on YouTube (I may have even been talked into the gooey plastic booties that make your feet peel off).

The point is, you can get some good ideas from others about what A self care routine could look like, but you have to dig a little deeper to find YOUR self care routine.  

Don’t panic.  It doesn’t have to be complicated.

Self care can be as simple as making sure you drink enough water each day, eat 3 meals and snacks, put on real pants.  It can get deeper and more involved like planning a weekend trip with your spouse, a monthly massage, the gooey foot booties.  Whatevs. The key is finding what fills your cup, recharges the battery, focuses the mirror. It’s an individual journey and it’s one that’s going to take some trial and error, cough, gooey foot booties, cough.

And if falling down the rabbit hole of the interwebs is jus too much for you, here are some very basic tips:

  • Don’t let the gas light come on.  Don’t wait until your running on empty to take care of yourself.  Even in the most stressful situations, prioritize yourself even if only in the most basic ways (sleep, eat, hydrate).  Its harder to fill up an empty tank than to just top off every now and then.
  • Don’t reinvent the wheel.  Self care should be intuitive.  Listen to yourself – YOUR self. Feeling restless? Take a short walk (even if just around the office).  Tired? Try to get that extra 30 minutes of sleep (turn off West Wing). Hungry? Fuel with nutrient dense food.  
  • Ask for help.  In this geographic area specifically, many are solo parenting or slugging through a 60 hour work week. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  You are not a one woman wolf pack. It’s not selfish, it’s not a sign of weakness, it’s not burdening anyone. Truth.

You are worth it.  You are the best at being you, and you cannot be the best you unless you take the time to to care for numero uno.

Your partner, children, friends, boss – they all deserve the best you. That can only happen when you realize you are worth that walk, that break for lunch, and yes, even the gooey foot booties.