3 Big Myths About Self-Care That Are Keeping You Stressed

3 Big Myths About Self-Care That Are Keeping You Stressed
1) Self-Care involves spending money

Do a simple Google search and most self-care tips and advice do indeed have some type of financial cost attached. But to think that taking care of yourself costs always money is to do yourself a disservice. Self-care, in its simplest definition is “care of self” and you can do that no matter how much is your bank account. Self-care is about honoring yourself—your mental state, your physical condition, your emotional needs.

2) Self-Care isn’t something you need to do daily

You should do at least one act of self-care per day. Monthly manicures or massages sound great and I say, go ahead and do that. But you should also be waking up with intention. Simply going through the motions and swinging from item to item on your to-do list leaves you without space for yourself.

When you wake up, ask yourself, “What do I need today?” Some days I wake up and I just know I need to give myself extra time to get things done because I’m sleepy and probably not on top of my game. Other days I wake up and I know I will need some physical comfort later on (AHEM). Think about what you need (every day!) and make sure you find a way to get it.

3) Self-Care must be done by yourself

Just because it’s called “self-care” it doesn’t mean it needs to be a solo activity. Hanging out with friends or spending time with family certainly qualifies if it is something that refreshes you and honors what you need at the time. Remember, the “rules” of self-care are yours to create. Whatever YOU need is what qualifies as self-care. Feel free to disregard everything I said if it doesn’t fit what YOU need. Honestly. That’s how all of this works. :)

It costs nothing to move yourself up on your to-do list, but the rewards are immeasurable.

The Seven Rules Of Happiness According To My Seven-Year-Old Son

During one of our random “What do you want to be when you grow up?” conversations, I told my son Thomas that he would make an amazing teacher. And I fully believe it – he’s energetic and always looking for the “funner” way to do something. Kids would love him.

“I’d be a happy teacher!” he told me.

“Oh yeah? That’s great that you’ll enjoy teaching,” I told him.

“Nooo,” he corrected me. “I’d be a happy teacher. I’d teach people how to be happy.”

I smile big and wave him closer. “So what would you teach them? What are your rules for being happy?”

He thought about it for a minute and gave me these seven rules. It is times like these that I am so glad I am a blogger.


Thomas’ Rules of Happiness

1) Run out all your energy
When you wake up, you’ll have more energy to do it again.

Adult translation: Go hard, every day. Whether it’s at the gym or when playing with your kids, go all in. Sometimes you have to create energy by working hard.

2) Always play, all day.
That’s how you’ll be happy. You’ll feel happier when you’re moving your body. If you have a bike, ride it a lot (make sure it doesn’t get a flat tire).

Adult translation: Similar to #1, always look for the opportunity to have fun.

3) If you have a brother or sister, play with them.
It’s more fun to play with someone than playing alone.

Adult translation: Have good people around to keep you company.

4) Take a nap or sleep when you’re feeling sad.

Adult translation: Well, no translation is necessary. Go to sleep!

5) Gum makes you happy. 

Adult translation: Enjoy the little things in life.

6) Do a lot of crazy things. (“Do stuff like this,” he says, as he intentionally rolls off my four-foot high bed.)

Adult translation: Don’t be so boring and stiff. Lighten up.

7) Ask your parents to cook a lot of your favorite foods and that will make you happy too. 

Adult translation: Eating great food with people you love is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

Make A Stop At The Walgreens Wellness Tour

Disclosure: I partnered with Walgreens to provide an overview of the 2015 Wellness Tour. All opinions are my own, as always.

Earlier this year, I had a health scare that finally scared me enough that I went to see an urgent care doctor. He checked me out, gave me a prescription for a steroid and sent me on my way, but not before encouraging me to get myself a primary care physician.

“Do they have a pediatrician?” he asked, nodding at my two kids who happened to accompany me on this visit.

“Of course!” I said, taking his question as an insult. “What kind of mother do you think I am?” I thought to myself.

“But you don’t have a physician?” he asked, raising an eyebrow as he finished jotting down something on my chart.

“No,” I said sheepishly.

His question made me feel horrible. I wouldn’t dare let my kids go without a doctor to make sure they are healthy, so why did I think it was okay for me? I’ve since gotten a primary care physician and plan to see them before the year is out for my physical. Even as “young moms,” we’ve still got to take care of our health and make sure we are around to take care of those who depend on us.

In case you are between doctors like I was or have gone too long without a checkup, the Walgreens Wellness Tour might be just what you need. Now in its ninth year in partnership with the National Urban League, tests and screenings available include total cholesterol, glucose, blood pressure, body mass index, body composition, skeletal muscle, resting metabolism, visceral fat, real body age and body weight. Collectively, the health tests are valued at more than $100.

The health tests are administered by certified wellness staff and are available to those 18 and older. Afterward, a Walgreens pharmacist or certified wellness staff will talk to you about your results. You can get in and out in about 20 minutes and it is completely free. Your insurance company will not be billed.

The Walgreens Health Tour is a successful collaboration with the National Urban League to empower individuals  for the prevention and early detection of today’s leading chronic diseases (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc.) Together Walgreens and the National Urban League are committed to providing urban and at-risk communities access to valuable health tests that deliver key insights and assist individuals in the pursuit of happier and healthier lives.

Since 2007, Walgreens has financially contributed more than $2.1 million to the National Urban League for continuously providing health services and awareness to their Urban League affiliates across the country. In total over the last eight years, the tour has administered more than 570,000 health tests valued at $12.8 million to communities throughout the United States.

I say, you should go and bring a friend! When it comes to your health, ignorance is not bliss! It can actually cost you more than you think.

Take advantage of the free testing opportunity when the tour visits a city near you. Plug in your zip code and make plans to visit the nearest stop at Walgreens.com/tour

#StudentParentSuccess – Know Your Rights As A Pregnant Or Parenting Student


When I discovered I was pregnant during my spring semester and that my due date would fall in the tail end of my fall semester, I didn’t know what to do. Do I sit out a semester and just take care of the baby? Do I attend classes anyway and just cross my fingers that, I dunno, I give birth over a long weekend? What was the proper thing to do?

I tell this story often and whenever I’m in a group of parenting students, they nod their head and tell me they struggled with the same decision. But it’s hard to make the decision that is best for you if you don’t have all the information, and I’m willing to bet the vast majority of pregnant college students don’t know about the federal legislation that is Title IX.

In short, Title IX prevents your school from kicking you out, treating you unfairly or otherwise stigmatizing you for being a parent. Let’s take a deeper dive:

According to the National Women’s Law Center (a great resource for all things Title IX):

Does my school have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or abortion?

Your school must excuse your absences due to pregnancy or any related conditions for as long as your doctor says it is necessary for you to be absent. This is true even if there is no leave policy for students with other conditions. When you return to school, you must be reinstated to the status you held before your leave. The school can require you to submit a doctor’s note from you only if that is required of students with other medical conditions.

My professor adjusts grades based on class attendance. Can she lower my grade because of the classes I miss?

You cannot be penalized for pregnancy or related conditions. If a professor provides specific “points” or other advantages to students based on class attendance, you must be given the opportunity to earn back the credit from classes you miss due to pregnancy, so that you can be reinstated to the status you held before you took leave.

Does my school have to let me make up the work I missed while I was absent?

Yes, your school must let you make up the work you missed while you were out due to pregnancy or any related conditions, including recovery from childbirth. For example, if you have a doctor’s note that excuses you from class for several weeks because you were on “bed rest” before giving birth, your school has to provide you with the appropriate assignments and information to make up all of the work you would have been required to complete while you were out. For an extended absence, it is best if your school provides you with the work you miss regularly, so you do not fall far behind.

But what if my school says that absence/make-up work policies are up to each individual professor?

While that may be the school’s practice, the school administration and professors are bound by federal civil rights law. Title IX requires that schools ensure that all faculty and staff comply with the law and do not discriminate against pregnant and parenting students. An individual professor’s policy is not okay if it breaks the law.

Does my school have to provide special academic services to me, like tutoring?

Title IX requires that schools provide pregnant students with any special services they provide to students with temporary disabilities. If students with temporary disabilities get at-home tutoring to help them keep up with work they miss when absent, the school must provide students who miss class because of pregnancy or childbirth with the same benefit.

For students in high school, the same laws/rules apply. Schools can not force you to go to an “alternate” high school and they must allow you to make up any work you missed due to pregnancy or childbirth.

Did you know about Title IX? What can you do to spread the word to pregnant and parenting students?

Welcome To #StudentParentSuccess Week!

I can finally reveal the big news I’ve been sitting on for a month: I was tapped to write an article for the September issue of ESSENCE magazine on — what else — student-parent success! See my emotional video HERE (viewed more than 1,000 times!) on why this meant so much to me.

This was a full circle moment for me, as I was a scared, unwed, broke college student with big dreams when I found out I was pregnant. Seeing the positive pregnancy test made me feel like I’d have to give up my dreams of moving to New York and having a fabulous Sex and the City lifestyle because I had been too busy living out Sex in the Dorms. Ha.

To celebrate my first ESSENCE magazine article,  I’ve dubbed August 17-21 Student Parent Success week!


This week we’ll be sharing tips and advice from student-parents and for student-parents about how to have the best year ever — from where to buy textbooks, to how to find a great babysitter, how to study with kids around you and more!

We’ve been writing about the student-parent life for quite a few years here and the archives are full of advice to get you going!

Follow the #StudentParentSuccess hashtag and join in with your own experiences! :)

[GIVEAWAY] “The Date Deck,” A Must-Read Book For Couples Stuck In A Date Night Rut

date deck collage

For a strong four years after we had our two kids back to back, my husband and I rarely had date nights. Sure, we’d sometimes find ourselves on the couch together at the same time on a Friday or Saturday evening and we’d pass the time by watching a movie together, but that wasn’t “date night.” That was “I’m tired and you’re tired and these kids wore us out and my God why did we decide to have two of them” night.

It wasn’t until 2014, honestly, where we took a good hard look at our marriage and realized that what we were doing (having honest to goodness date nights only on anniversaries or birthdays) was killing us slowly.

See, date night tends to get neglected when you’ve got so many other responsibilities vying for your time and money and energy. For many couples, it’s just plain ol’ expensive to go out on regular dates. Once you factor in the babysitter and the actual date itself, it definitely seems easier to just stay home and relax on the couch.

We could have benefited from a book like Esther Boykin’s “The Date Deck. 

In the few short months that I have been reading her site religiously, I have become a huge fan of Esther and all she represents. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship coach who is passionate about helping people build healthier and happier relationships (AND she will be speaking at this year’s self-care retreat!).


In this book, she not only gives you ideas for date night, but she also explains why each date has significance and when you might want to put it in rotation. (For example, when you’ve been fighting and bickering, staring deeply into the other person’s eyes on the lake might not be the best idea.)

It’s a quick read and gave me ideas to spice up our dates. But most importantly, reading the book reminded me that I have a good thing in my relationship and it’s important that we recognize date night for what it really is: an opportunity to connect with each other. Her book is a must-read, not just for the date night suggestions, but also for the fact that she has given you an easy-to-use tool to create a more intimate relationship. (I also recommend her 14-day love challenge, as it helped me create a stronger relationship with my husband in just two weeks.)

I’m giving away a copy of The Date Deck to one lucky reader. To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below on how often you date your significant other (once a week? a few times a month?). I’ll pick one winner on August 14 at noon. Good luck!

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Letter To My Son On His Seventh Birthday


I would say that I can’t believe you are seven but you have brought so much joy to my life that yes, I know exactly how many days you have been here.


I have never met a kid who is happier to be awake than you. You wake up, you bounce out of bed and you’re ready to meet the day. Nothing keeps you down for long, you’re only a tickle away from complete happiness most of the time.


You’re curious and I love that, even when your “I wonder what happens if I mix these two chemicals together” mind gives me heart palpitations. I do see a career in engineering for you, but again, I can see you excelling in all the careers you’ve chosen for yourself thus far. I do think you could be the world’s first mayor/principal/chef — all three require leadership qualities that you already possess. I’d quit my business and come work for you in a minute. (Provided you hook Mommy up with some benefits..I’m getting older, kid!)

The one thing I love more than anything is taking you new places and getting to see this world through your eyes. That is my drug, seeing your eyes and your sister’s eyes light up as you get to explore your way through this country. Passports are coming, babies. I know you said you wanted to go to South America. Mommy didn’t forget.


When you came along, you were a huge surprise. I found out I was pregnant with you right after your sister’s first birthday party. I kept saying to myself, “But I already have a baby! What am I going to do with two babies???”

Turns out, God knows things that we humans don’t. He knew my life needed you.

Happy birthday, Thomas. I love you!

Save $$$ On Your Next Vacation: The Benefits Beyond Groceries At BJ’s Wholesale Club

mountain road travel

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of BJ’s Wholesale Club and all opinions are 100% my own.

I’ve been shopping at BJ’s for about three months now and I’ve quickly become a fan. I love that they have a wide selection of organic food and my kids had a ball with some of the summer toys we found in the center of the store. (My kids call it the “fun part.”)

The store continues to surprise me because I didn’t know what all your BJ’s membership offers (other than great prices on food and gas). Paying $40 for the year is already a great deal because I’m pretty sure I saved at least that amount in my first two trips. But with the additional savings, I’m inching closer and closer to saying good-bye to my other wholesale club memberships.

I’m in the midst of planning my 30th birthday celebration (I’m a Thanksgiving baby!) and I plan on heading to New Orleans! So I’m very excited to see that I can save a whole bunch of money (music to my ears) while putting my BJ’s membership to good use:


It always amazes me how many different ways you can save on a hotel room. For many travelers, this might be the most expensive part of your stay, particularly if you’re staying more than one night. BJ’s offers an easy to use hotel search to get the lowest prices PLUS an up to $200 rebate depending on how many nights you book. I’ve been looking all over at New Orleans hotel prices and yup, BJ’s Travel was right in line. Once the rebate is factored in, they actually have you coming out ahead.

Car Rentals

Look at all these deals. Free weekends, free upgrades, 25% off. It all sounds amazing to me! The beauty is you can get these offers with all the major rental companies — Enterprise, Alamo, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Dollar and National — and you’ll drive away happy.


I went on my first (and so far only *cries*) cruise last year and I had an amazing time. I know people teasingly say that only old people enjoy cruising but what’s not to love? Seeing different islands/ports, eating as much good food as you want, taking advantage of cool activities packed into one space. It’s worthwhile, trust me. BJ’s Travel also offers great discounts and deals for each of the major cruise lines — Carnival, Royal Carribean, Princess, Celebrity and Norwegian. Ready to sail?

What are some of the ways you can save money on your vacations?

Confession: I’m Scared Every Day


Last December, I was in the biggest funk of my life. If I wasn’t actively doing something with my kids, I was in the bed, attempting to sleep the day away.

It hit me that the “sadness” I was feeling was actually depression and it stemmed from a number of things and past traumas that I never quite worked through. After seeing a therapist and making strides to get better, I decided that I was going to make 2015 the best year ever.

And I have. I launched my Self-Care Retreat, published a new book, hit a professional milestone that I can’t wait to share with you in the upcoming weeks, and much more.

But I’d be lying if I said that I’m always confident. I’m not. Most days I have to give myself pep talks and breathe slowly through my fears. Because it can be terrifying when you are “living your life like it’s golden.”

So how do you make it through your doubts–those voices that tell you that you can’t have what you want? Here’s what I’d advise:

  • Remember your gifts. You have a very certain set of talents that you can tap into to achieve whatever goal you have. Are you creative? Use that. Are you talkative? Use that. Are you thoughtful? Yes, use it! Everything you need to realize your dreams is already within arms’ reach.
  • Breathe slowly. It’s easy to let those doubts overpower your confidence, to make you feel like maaaaybe you ain’t cut out for this after all. But just breathe deep and talk back to those voices. They don’t know you. You got this.
  • Take one action to shut up your inner critic. The longer you wait and listen to the doubts, the more power that inner critic is going to have. Action is the enemy of fear.

Trust me, there are lots of days when I don’t feel so confident and I go running to my husband and girlfriends for support. And in the meantime, I follow those three steps above and I go for it. The only thing you have to lose is your fear. And isn’t that the point?

#SmashYourGoals – 5 Steps To Successful Goal Setting (Part 5 – Reflect)

smash your goals series

You’re reading my five-part goal setting series to help you #SmashYourGoals. Read the other four tips here.

1) Determine what YOU want

2) Visualization

3) Break your goals into bite-sized chunks

4) Do the damn work

5) Assess + Celebrate

So you did some soul searching, you wrote down your goals, you made those goals manageable, then you rolled up your sleeves and went to work.

Now what?

Now, you look at what you’ve done. What went well? What do you need to improve? If you set a fitness goal, for example, ask yourself:

  • How often did I actually work out versus how much did I anticipate working out?
  • Did I eat the things I was supposed to or did I cheat a little?
  • Would it have been easier to do with a workout buddy?
  • Was the weather a factor?

You have to be completely honest with yourself. And you have to be willing to admit that in some areas you failed. What’s really important is that you celebrate whatever you did accomplish. Say you wanted to lose 10 pounds but you lost 5. That’s still fantastic news.

Say you wanted to save $500 in your savings accounts, but only saved $475. That’s still progress. Say you wanted to go out for a run four times a week but you made it twice a week. That’s progress.

One thing we don’t do enough is celebrating ourselves. How hard you work and how dedicated and motivated you are in pursuit of your goals. So go on, raise a glass, because you earned it, my dear.

Missed a step in the series. Get the whole thing here.