Self-Care: Permission Granted by Marquita Terry-Lanier

Self-care: that buzzy compound word of the moment. Just hearing it can immediately cause a hard eye-roll at the thought of another “bubble bath” recommendation, but caring for oneself in a real way is super important. Adopting this reality in to the day-to-day, however, is easier said than done. For us moms especially, it’s often easy for everything (and everyone) else to be more important. There have been days that I’ve prepared a beautiful, healthy meal for my family and failed to eat it myself. What’s that about? How does that even happen? I don’t know, but it has.

Self-care is something I’m learning to incorporate into my routine on a regular basis. I’m better for it. It adds the fuel needed to deal with the daily demands of being a wife, mom and creator. My real “awakening” started last year with a little “momcation” gifted by my husband. I was in total burnout mode, so — with love — he pretty much kicked me out of the house. Sounds harsh, except that he’d arranged for me to spend a few nights alone at a beautiful hotel overlooking the beach. He didn’t tell me until the last minute because he knew I’d resist and come up with a thousand reasons not to go. He allowed no room for it.

Well, I went and it was glorious. The kids were fine — they ate food, wore clothes and received an education while I was gone. Nothing exploded. It wasn’t easy for me to let go, lean into it and relax, but I eventually did and enjoyed all the things associated with the stereotypical version of self-care. I had a massage, met with a girlfriend for happy hour, gave myself a facial and even ran that bubble bath. But I also did some things that are really important to the lasting personal care of me. I worked on my script. I spent quiet time realigning priorities to put a plan in place toward accomplishing some goals. I ate healthy meals and walked in nature. I think that’s all self-care is: the pursuit of what brings more joy, balance and health to your life.

Lately, I’m getting up earlier than the rest of the house and playing soft music to stretch, read and meditate. That’s self-care. The physical acts make me feel good, but what they do for me mentally is even more rewarding. I feel accomplished just by taking that time for myself, and when the kiddos wake up I’m in a place of peace, ready for the day ahead (totally worth the early wake up). I’m exploring new recipes, going to the farmers’ market weekly and filling the fridge with super healthy foods — also self-care. I’m practicing going to bed earlier for more rest, taking social media breaks and saying “no” without guilt when needed. Again, these are all very simple forms of self-care, but self-care nonetheless. It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. Giving yourself the gift of intentional time is priceless — be it on a hike, in a bathtub, backyard or on a balcony.

Think about what would add positivity to your life and pursue that. Turn the heat up on those dreams that may be sitting on the back burner, and take the baby steps needed to make them a reality. Read the book; find the class, workshop or blog. Podcasts are my jam these days. There are endless streams of insightful, encouraging information out there on any subject. You can learn anything on YouTube!

So friends, please take care of yourselves. Needing time away from your kids or the day-to-day grind does not make you less caring, weak or selfish. In fact, it makes you a genius and pillar of strength because you’re giving yourself what you need to operate as your best self. Anyone who’s great at anything will tell you about the need for rest and restoration of mind, body and spirit. And for what it’s worth, it’s pretty clear that Wonder Woman herself takes time to partake in a good deep-conditioning hair mask from time to time, so there’s that.

Marquita Terry-Lanier is a multi-hyphenate writer, actor, producer, and content creator who currently manages the family blog, Love the Laniers. Marquita happily resides in Los Angeles with her husband, two beautiful children and American Bulldog, Daisy. Follow the Lanier family’s fun-filled adventures on their blog, Instagram and Facebook.

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