It’s not about spa days and bubble baths; it’s a mindset


Moms and dads–I implore you to join me in this movement to rethink our definition of self-care. An expert on the topic, life coach Sunit Suchdev, recently gave me the words that had been trying to surface for a long time, but she finally put so clearly. She was a guest on my podcast, which you can listen to here: Raiseology podcast – self-care.

I’m going to jump right into her definition because it is SPOT on.

“Self-care is anything you do to nurture what you need to be whole and healthy in yourself in order to serve others.”

I recommend reading that sentence a couple more times. It’s meaty but accurate.

Figure out what makes you feel better. (The how comes later. The “how” is often where people get stuck and never actually move forward. They think “I don’t have time/resources to do this for myself,” so they never try.) So, first check in with yourself and determine what you need to care for yourself.

Here are the parameters and some questions to ask yourself to see if your practice qualifies:

  • Would it make your life a little better?
  • Happier?
  • Calm?
  • Light you up?
  • Nurture you?
  • Help you feel your best?
  • Help you feel less stressed?

These self-care practices can be big, small, stereotypical or unconventional. Here are some examples to help get your own ideas flowing of what’s “allowed.” (spoiler: everything is allowed if it’s what works for you!)

  • Bubble bath (yes, we’re not knocking baths, we just don’t want you to think it’s your only option!)
  • Asking for help
  • Five minutes of silence
  • Cuddling up with a good book
  • Quitting your job
  • Working!  – This one will surprise some of you because we often say to take a break from work as self-care, or even quitting your job like the previous idea stated. However, I know a lot of moms who freelance part-time from home and also have the role of stay-at-home parent, and they are legitimately rejuvenated by having time alone to do some client work.
  • Saying “no” (i.e. attending one (or five!) birthday parties, volunteering on a committee, letting your child be in multiple sports, a holiday at a relative’s house, and so on)
  • Exercise
  • Yoga

Treat yourself like you would your best friend. Look at yourself a little objectively and ask the same questions you’d ask your friend if you were checking in on her during a stressful time in her life. This was one of my favorite takeaways that Sunit shared with me. It’s something she has her followers do every now and then, and I think it’s a game-changer.

And now on to how to make this shift happen in your life.


  1. Decide on what you want to do (and maybe a few backup options)
  2. If it’s something you can start doing without anyone’s help, then schedule it. If you’re a calendar person, block off the time, even if it’s just 5 minutes of meditation. Or if you’re not a calendar person, set a reminder to go off on your phone, and then actually respect it. Stop and do it, no snoozing!
  3. If your idea requires some assistance (like child care), sit down with your partner or support system and first tell them you are committed to prioritizing yourself more. Enlist their help. A lot of partners won’t need any convincing, but if they don’t jump right on board, tell them how it will benefit them in very practical and tangible ways. (A rejuvenated and happy partner is so much more likely to reciprocate and give breaks to the other partner.)

I want to reiterate that saying “no” is a form of self-care that takes ZERO time. A big reason that parents don’t pursue nurturing themselves is because they think they don’t have time or it takes time away from their family. But if saying “no” to something or declining an invite is nurturing to you, not only did it take no time, but also, you gained time from it!

As Sunit told me: you can give your family such a GIFT if you take good care of yourself and follow your dreams. You’ll be better equipped to be a good partner and parent, but also, you’ll be setting such a great example to your children when it comes to prioritizing yourself.


Now that we’ve done away with the misconception that self-care can only include luxurious things like spa days, let’s throw another misconception out. Self-care should not cause you to feel guilty.

Remember: this is NOT selfish. This is SMART.

If you’re still hung up on thinking acts of self-care are selfish, think of this: as Sunit explained, martyrdom motherhood (you know what I’m talking about–moms who exhaust themselves from taking care of their family) is actually {accidental} reverse selfishness. Or maybe delayed selfishness. So yes, maybe you’re constantly there for your kids. But that can only last so long. That can lead to mental and even physical issues, and then you won’t be able to be present for your family in the way they need. So taking time for yourself now, benefits everyone in the long and short term.

A way of life

A big thing Sunit told me is that self-care is not just a series of things you do. It’s a way of life. It’s a way of shifted thinking.

As much as possible, fill your days with what lights you up, not what drains you. It takes some self-reflection and work and asking for help to get there. But I know you can do it! Tell us how you’re progressing and let our community help you over in our private Facebook group, Raiseology Parenting.

About my guest, Sunit

Sunit Suchdev is an author, speaker and certified life coach and meditation teacher. She is passionate about inspiring moms to live a more intentional, holistic, and high vibe life. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her wonderful husband and twin boys, and is the founder of Modern Mommy Prepschool, a brand that focuses on getting women into the right mindset for motherhood.

She is also passionate about living a life of health and vitality, and vlogs over at 40&Such, where she shares how to live your best life in mind, body and soul, as you move towards and through your forties. Sunit is also a devoted fan of essential oils, and loves helping women learn about how to use this amazing plant medicine to get healthier in all areas of their lives.

About me! (Sharon)

I’m a general pediatrician, loving wife and mother to 4 daughters.

After a decade of practicing general pediatrics and working with families, I realized there often wasn’t enough time while tending to children’s medical needs to help parents in the way that would be most helpful in shaping their children’s futures.

The Raiseology Program was developed to teach parents how to raise their children with the love and authority necessary to promote resilience and responsibility.

My experience with hundreds of families as well as my own help me meet you where you are on your parenting journey to help you make it what you want it to be.

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