A Guide to Self-Care


A woman walking her dog. Self-care. How do you define it? Self-care can mean something different to everyone. For one person, it might mean getting a massage, for another, it’s a glass of wine and a good Netflix series; and for some, it might be going for a run or a night out with friends.

Whatever it means to you, self-care is one of the most important components of being a good parent. So why is it so difficult for us to engage in self-care? Often, we think that by putting ourselves first, we’re putting others last. It can feel like prioritizing yourself will leave something undone. However, we know that when flying on a plane, you need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first

I’m the first person to put self-care on the back burner. I usually ensure that everyone else is taken care of before myself, which leads to exhaustion, resentment, and feeling overwhelmed. When I take time to focus on myself, the playful and more patient side of me shines through, and in the end, I am more present. 

Now, this doesn’t mean I can take a full day to pamper myself instead of focusing on my everyday responsibilities (although that sounds amazing!). However, I try to focus on myself at least once daily, even for a few minutes.

Self-care means walking my dog by myself, taking a Peloton yoga class, breakfast with a friend, getting a manicure, sitting by the water, reading a good book, or belting out 80’s music in my kitchen while making dinner (much to my kids’ dismay). These things make me happy and remind me that I have other roles in life other than mothering.

It’s easier for me to practice a bit of self-care now that my three kids are in school (at least for part of the day!), but the days when I had a baby in tow and couldn’t get more than a minute to escape, are not far behind me. During those days, my self-care routine was different. I looked forward to my nights when my girls were sleeping, and I could take a breath. A long, hot shower and an episode of The Bachelor were what restored me and helped me get up in the morning and do it all over again. 

So if you aren’t sure about practicing positive self-care, here are some helpful hints.

1. Do something that fulfills you. Find an interest or hobby that makes you happy outside of your daily duties. It might be gardening, cooking, or tennis; whatever it is, allow it to spark joy. 

2. Find relationships and connections that support you and encourage you to be your best self. If a relationship is draining you more than empowering you, you might want to reconsider how much time you are dedicating to it.

3. Find things that give you purpose and focus on them. It might be volunteering, redecorating, or planning a party; as long as you feel like you have a purpose, you will feel good about it. 

4. Focus on things in life that you can control. Focus on being active, eating a healthy meal, and being more mindful. These positive self-choices will empower your body and mind. 

Self-care doesn’t just happen; it needs to be a choice. Allowing your kids to see you happy and fulfilled is healthy and will help them adapt the same habits into their lifestyle as they grow. So, put down that dirty laundry, take a walk and smell the roses!  

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Mandy Zoffness
Mandy is a proud mom to three daughters Hayden (2012), Ayla (2016) and Harper (2019), as well as a Bernedoodle puppy named Brodie. Mandy and her husband Ben both grew up in Mamaroneck, where they currently reside. They met in High School, later reconnected and have been married since 2009. Mandy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and sees clients privately at a private practice, Clear Mind Psychology. Mandy works with children, adolescents and adults, but particularly enjoys supporting mom's on their motherhood journey by providing perinatal counseling services. When Mandy is not shuttling her children to and from activities and attempting to train their puppy, she enjoys relaxing on the beach, yoga, evening bike rides with her ten year old, a good book, a Netflix series with her husband and a dirty martini (extra dirty!).