Discovering what the heck “self care” is: the journey to REALLY making my heart happy


Ok, first off who is a Parks and Rec fan? Because this was how I shaped my version of “self care”.  I would treat myself.  I had a bad day, let’s pull the plug and order someone online! In my head I would tell myself, “Devin, you are great at self care, can’t wait to see those new clothes girlllll”. (note: I do talk to myself like this, I always have, feel free to judge… I probably would)

As a non-profit executive director I would subscribe to blogs and pinterest hacks on taking care of yourself, these lists always made me chuckle. What could not having lunch at my desk, a ten minute walk, setting limits on work email, doing deep breathing REALLY do to my mental well-being? Spoiler alert,  these are sanity savers for me too don’t get me wrong.

That’s when it dawned on me, all of these lists probably do work for some people, but it is also important to figure out what works best for you. This got me to thinking about the three most important aspects of my own self care…

When Matt and I got married, everyone told us to do the five love languages book and quiz.  My love language is quality time and I started reflecting that this could also be my self-care love language.  This led me to the following three components of my REAL self care.

Eliminate distractions:

I don’t care who you are, how old you are, or what technology you had growing up… it’s nice to take a break.  I used to think that if I wasn’t on my work email I was fine, but there are so many other distractions on social media, netflix binging, etc… (hey, that could be your self care too, but bare with me for a minute). Yet, when I go to the beach or my in-laws, or on vacation where there is limited service or wifi it is uncomfortable for the first few minutes, but everyone always comments how amazing it felt to just take a quick break.  So, for me, heading to the beach with no service forces me to disconnect.  Taking a run or going to gym might be a way for other people to disconnect, or simply turning your phone off at dinner with your loved ones.  Whatever it is you do, disconnect and be mindful about it, and make sure you view it as a treat and not a punishment.

My little slice of heaven on Boar’s Head walkway in North Hampton, NH. Great place to reflect, bullet journal, or just take in the sights. 

What makes your heart happy?

I love this question and I love asking this question.  My heart is happy when I am breaking out my best dance moves in the kitchen while cleaning or cooking.  While I am cuddled next to Matt or Ruckus, when I am hanging out with my mom, watching my brothers succeed, the look of my nails right after they get done (on the flip side, chipped nails drive me crazy), when I do to bed in a made bed, when I go for a walk with a friend, or try something new — all things that make my heart happy.   Grab a piece of paper and write yours.  One of mine was an easy fix.  I am 2 miles from the beach, I wasn’t going at all when I was stressed out, because I wanted to get other things done.  Yet, when I made time to go to the beach, I was so much more productive when I got home.

How do you start and end your day?

This is a little bit more “traditional” self care.  Do you fall asleep on the couch with all your make up on?  Do you wake up with minutes to spare and start your day in a frenzy?  These things matter. I was doing both for a period of time and boy did I not realize how bad it was for me until I stopped doing them.  The simplest of things like washing my face felt like a chore, but now that I do that I feel so much better getting into bed.  I’m hoping others can relate.  My routines are still FAR from perfect, but making my bed in the morning and putting my clothes away at night before I go to bed have been such big game changers I too wonder what else I can do to keep improving.

Well, that is my quick rant on self care, now that I really understand what it can do to my mind and body. Don’t get me wrong, I will be getting a massage in a few days and doing the golden standard of self care too, but my hearts a little happier now.