#srsly, wtf is self care.
Self-care. How we nurture ourselves will show our daughters how to live their lives. What I want for my little girl is to be truly happy, with herself, her choices, her life. To laugh til she cries, to be a good person to herself and to others. To be the kindest badass out there who knows her life is meaningful and who honors her own intuition. But she needs a good role model. Here we go.
As always, you'll find a bit of my experience, coupled with expert Q&A, this week from the Insta-famous Rachel Spencer, Business Coach, Instagram Expert, and Body Positivity Advocate on her take on self, self-care and living her #bestlife.
(Mandy, Polite As Fudge) As I stood in my bathroom, tired as a mother, medical tape still running like railroad tracks over my brand new c-section scar, I made a commitment to myself. I was a mother now. But I would still brush my teeth.
I was 26-years old and had just been through 24-hours of labor that got a little scary at the end, resulting in an emergency c-section. And there I stood. Promising myself I'd still have decent oral hygiene.
In a way, in the beginning of my journey, I stayed truer to what I needed. I am a person who needs quiet time. So when my first baby would nap, I'd go into my room, close my door and take a long shower, relax and get my ish done.
But then there were three, and when the baby napped, I was busy with things toddlers and big kids needed, as well as managing a home. Life got busier. As the physical demands of having a young baby or toddler subside, they are replaced with emotional demands of entertaining young children. Planning their days, making their food and snacks, making sure there's enough toilet paper and wine. The essentials -- wink, wink. I forgot about my former "cave" where I went to recharge.
I'm pleased to say I've found my way back to my 'me cave' and I make a conscious effort to do things for myself to recharge. I typically go to my room while Shepherd naps and my older kids are at school. I write, I do our bills. I (usually) make time to shower. I keep in mind what I need that makes me feel whole, and try my damndest to honor that.
Time is a luxury when you're an adult. Self-care is giving yourself a piece of that time back.
My Self Care List
This is ever-changing. But it is what I am capable of giving myself now, without guilt.
- My Me Cave! AKA My bedroom. I like to get the house tidied up, throw in some laundry and then go to my cool, quiet, dark room to write while the kids are at school and the baby naps.
- Date night! One thing we've always done since becoming parents is to keep our once-a-week date night.
- 50s + 90s music. I can't explain it. But put on some Dean Martin, or like, basically anything from the 90s or 2000s and I can clean the kitchen in like two mins flat.
- LATTES. WINE. Love them both, in moderation. The ultimate treat for me is an iced decaf latte at like, 2 pm.
- Taking a nap. I'm an 8-hour person, and I could literally take a nap every day. With deadlines to write for and babies to chase, I don't often get the chance, but it's the first thing I like to work into my self-care weekend goals. (My husband and I swap. He gets an hour to himself, I get an hour to myself).
- Before we had baby Shep, when I was pregnant and we didn't have anything to do, we'd put out sleeping bags in our bedroom for the kids, put on a movie, and my husband and I got to relax. We've started to get back to then again. It makes us all happy.
- Exercise. I love yoga. But I don't have consistent help right now. So I'm not beating myself up about not being able to go at the moment. For now, I walk or jog with Shep in the baby stroller.
Q&A with Rachel Spencer, CPC
Business Coach, Instagram Expert, and Body Positivity Advocate
Email Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org // Instagram at @mycoachrachel
Rachel is best known for breaking the internet, a-la Kim K, with her beautiful narrative on learned body shaming in the media, and how she overcame it. Rachel's "mission is to empower women through self-love so that they can build profitable businesses and powerful lives."
Polite As Fudge: As a professional business coach and Instagram growth expert, do you have to remind yourself to ‘take care of you’, or does it come more naturally?
Rachel Spencer: Oh, it’s definitely a constant struggle. I don’t technically think self-care comes naturally for anyone. We’re taught the importance of giving from such a young age that it’s actually MORE difficult to put ourselves first. We’re taught that it’s “selfish” which isn’t true at all.
I’m definitely guilty of giving so much to my clients that it’ll be 5 pm and I suddenly realize I haven’t eaten, showered, or even brushed my teeth. And on the days I DO make the effort to get ready before work, my clients get a LOT more out of me. So now, it’s something as simple as forming a habit. Self-care is part of my daily routine so that I can be my best (mentally, physically, and emotionally) for the people around me.
Polite As Fudge. What does self-care look like for you?
Rachel Spencer: Personally, I’m not one to get my nails done, take myself out for dinner, or order myself flowers. Pampering myself just isn’t my personal form of self-care. I’ve recently been journaling a lot so that I don’t keep my feelings bottled up. It feels good to do first thing in the morning with my cup of coffee. I also have my own life coach who I vent to when I’m feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
I don’t “meditate” per say, but sometimes I like to sit “criss-cross applesauce” on my bed with the lights off in complete silence. It feels good to just be with myself and shut my mind off.
However, if I had to choose my absolute favorite form of self-care, it would probably be taking a dark, candlelit shower. It seems so simple, I know, but there’s something amazing about the warm water massaging my back and the relaxing, dim lighting!
Polite As Fudge: I’ve read your beautiful story of how you’ve become the confident woman you are today. What do you attribute your shift in mindset to?
Rachel Spencer: I talk a lot about self-love and body acceptance because I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I went through a horrible eating disorder in college and learning to value myself for who I was on the inside is the reason I am alive today.
I think my “WOW” moment was when I realized it would be a journey and not an instant switch in my brain. It sort of took the pressure off.
To me, everyone shouting “love yourself” and “love your flaws” seemed so impossible. If you don’t know where to start, it’s not that easy. So once I realized that confidence and self-love were skills, NOT personality traits, something clicked for me. No one is confident by nature.They’re confident because they practice confidence every single day. Practice makes perfect. If someone can put daily practice into sports they’ll eventually get better and stronger, right? So if I can practice confidence, I’ll eventually start to feel it in my bones. From then on out, I looked at it as a skill I would have to learn. I wasn’t jealous anymore when I saw other confident women. Instead, I started mimicking their confidence. I walked with my head held high. I wasn’t afraid to start conversations with strangers. I told myself I was beautiful -- even when I didn’t feel like it. I started saying, “thank you,” when someone complimented me, instead of turning away. Eventually...I started to believe it.
Polite As Fudge: Can you tell us a little bit about your philosophy as it pertains to self-care and “doing what’s best for you”.
Rachel Spencer: So many people think self-care comes in ONE form and one form ONLY. But the truth of the matter is, self-care can be whatever you want it to be. It’s all about what feels good for YOU. I define self-care in three ways: mental health, physical health, and emotional needs. If working out or getting a massage is your way of taking care of yourself, go for it. If journaling or speaking to a life coach is your form of self-care, please do it! And if watching a sappy movie so that you can let out a nice cry is what feels good for you, more power to you. No one can tell you how to take care of yourself. YOU know yourself better than anyone else. Trust that.
Polite As Fudge: Why is self-care important?
Rachel Spencer: Women, in particular, are incredibly giving by nature. We spend most of our lives giving more than we receive in both life and relationships. When women become mothers, there’s a part of them that is lost due to their lives surrounding their children. There’s this underlying guilt that comes with taking care of oneself before our families. And while children are the greatest gift, it’s important to remember that we can’t give them our best if we aren’t taking care of ourselves. THAT is why self care is important. Putting ourselves first and taking care of our own mental, physical, and emotional needs, so that we can be a solid rock for our loved ones who need us. We are Wonder Women!
Below are self-care quotes, from Instagrammers to bloggers, old friends and new. My sister's even in there, too. (that rhymed, hehe). Click on each quote to connect through to that person's page/site.