We all know that we should take care of ourselves, right?

However, most of us struggle to grasp the difference between “self-care” and “indulgence”.

Self-care: noun, care of the self without medical or professional consultation.
Indulgence: noun, the act or practice of indulging; gratification of desire.

For me, both of these nouns are necessary when paving a road toward a fulfilled life. The phrase “You can’t pour from an empty cup” means to put yourself first. Literally. You have to take care of YOU. How can I be a good friend / wife / sister / daughter / mother if I cannot first find a sense of peace and stability in my own life? I’m not much use to anybody if I’m feeling worn out or overworked.

With our little guy’s arrival only 11 short weeks away (wait, what?), it’s time to make self-care a habit so that I can be the best mom that I can possibly be.

After reading countless blogs about healthy habits, self-care, and little indulgences, here’s a list of things that I vow to work on:

Read an actual book — Not an iPad. As per recommendation, I’ve started reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. I can already tell that this book is going to prove incredibly useful as Richard and I prepare for our baby boy to arrive.

Keep the calendar up-to-date — Richard and I share a Google Calendar. We can both add (and edit) events and appointments, so that we are constantly in the know. This helps us avoid “surprises”.

Drink tea — Yep. It’s that simple. When you really sit down to enjoy a cup of tea (or coffee), you are able to practice complete mindfulness. You aren’t thinking about what comes next or what task you still need to work on… you’re just enjoying life in that very moment. And to me, that’s big.

Create a haven — Make your bedroom your happy place. We have new bedroom furniture coming (which I’m SO excited about), and this is going help move our bedroom in the direction of being a peaceful place. Right now, we have a miss-match smorgasbord of furniture from before Richard and I met!

Hug someone — This sounds stupid, I know. But when I come home after a long day on my feet, a big hug from Richard seems to melt any lingering stress away. Hugs are awesome. Don’t underestimate their power.

Drink water — And lots of it. I feel infinitely better on days that I drink 10+ cups of water. Ask anyone who knows me, I LOVE water. I drink it constantly. It helps my mood, I swear. Plus, it’s just good for you.

Get a massage — My brother recently gave me a Groupon for a prenatal massage at a nearby spa. What an amazing gift. I was able to indulge AND experience something that actually helped me recharge. I’ve decided to make massage a regular part of my life. After all, I’m not spending money on craft beers lately… So that calls for a “treat yo self”! If massage isn’t your thing, get a manicure or pedicure. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit. Sometimes these little things can change our outlook on an entire week.

Carry snacks with you — I’ve been a fan of Graze.com boxes for about a year and a half now. (Thanks, Mom and Kara!) I throw them in my lunchbox and my purse, I pack them on trips (sometimes pretzels on an airplane just doesn’t cut it), and I most certainly bring them to the gym. It’s nice to feel prepared when that afternoon hunger pang strikes!

Travel — This is a must. Richard and I have a few places that are very special to us, and it’s important for us to get away from everyday life every once in a little while. So, get out there and see it all.

As my 91-year-old grandfather so often (and so wisely) says,

“Just do everything.”

Acadia 2

Acadia National Park, October 2015

Our trip to Acadia National Park, October 2015

How do you feel when making time for you? Does it come easily, or do you feel a bit selfish from time to time? What does self-care mean to you? I’d love to hear your tips and thoughts!

xo Cassie