I was out a couple weeks ago and talking to someone life in general.   Somehow my love of tacos and ice cream cones and dessert in general came up, and she made a comment to me that those were self-love tacos and ice cream cones and to go get another because I deserve it.  We laughed and the conversation moved on, but that comment has stuck with me and I’ve been rolling it around in my brain for a while.

With my social work background especially, I’m a firm believer in self-care.  I used to tell clients you need to practice “the airplane rule.”  You know how during the safety presentation they ALWAYS tell you to make sure you put your oxygen mask on first BEFORE helping others?  And all the parents roll their eyes internally because a lot of people want to help their kids first? Well, the airlines are on to something because you are no good to your kids, or anyone else for that matter, passed out in that tiny aisle.  Now you’re a burden for someone else to take care of, simply because you chose not to put your own mask on.  Another analogy is that you can’t pour from an empty cup.  Fill your proverbial cups, people.  Then go out with full cups and spread your positive attitude.

The most beautiful thing is that self-care for me may not be the same as self-care for you.  And your self-care rituals can change depending on the season of life you’re in!  Its a very flexible, fluid thing, which is wonderful because that means you don’t need a certain amount of time or money to practice self-care.  Self-care can be ANYTHING that fulfills you, brings your peace, and gives you strength and sustenance to move forward.  For a lot of people self-care, or self-love as that person put it, might be having the ice cream cones or the tacos or whatever treat they so choose.  It’s very easy to justify things we do by putting the “because I deserve it” label on it.

That said (and this is a judgement free zone, I love tacos and ice cream cones as much as anyone), I don’t want dessert to be my self-care.  I’m an “everything in moderation” kinda girl when it comes to what I eat, so I don’t intend to give up dairy and only eat kale, which honestly wouldn’t be very healthy either.  I want my self-care to be things that help keep my body healthy.  I want my self-care to be things that bring me peace and contentment.  Truthfully, that comment was a good reminder for me to make self-care a priority and take it a little more seriously.

There’s a difference between self-care and being selfish.  It’s not selfish to tell your kid you don’t want to listen to the Laurie Berkner Band for another 3 hours and its not selfish to tell your spouse you want to go do something with your friends so he needs to watch the kids.  Sometimes in our culture those things can seem selfish.  It feels like sometimes women are expected to do it all and never falter or admit its hard to keep it all together.  Or maybe that’s just me!

So moving forward, I’m going to try and cut back on the desserts a little bit, and increase my vegetable intake.  I’m going to continue to go to my work outs at the park, and maybe even step it up a notch.  I’m going to read more.  I’m going to reach out and tell my husband or my friends when I miss my mom, not so they can fix anything, but just so they know I’m struggling.  And I’m going to label it all as self-care, because that’s exactly what it is.