“It is not selfish to refill your own cup, so that you can pour into others. It’s not just a luxury. It is essential.”

—Hannah Mayo

As a mother of two who just launched a self-care subscription box company, it’s my job to think about self-care and pampering. A lot. And while pampering yourself can certainly be considered “self-care,” there’s so much more to it than just painting your nails while wearing a face mask in a quiet bathroom. (That does sound lovely, though…)

When I’m talking to other small-business owners about my box, they inevitably say the same thing: “Oh, I have a friend who does body butters! I’ll get her in touch with you.”

I greatly appreciate every suggestion for a possible vendor, but I also gently remind people that while I enjoy a good body butter or body scrub, that’s not all self-care is about.

When I say “self-care,” people tend to think “pampering.”

Massages, long baths, pedicures, manicures… all of those fall under the category of pampering.

But while all pampering falls under self-care, not all self-care is pampering.

Sometimes self-care is simply setting boundaries.

Self-care is learning to say “No” when you really mean “No.”

Self-care is learning to not overextend yourself.

Self-care is talking about yourself with kind words.

Self-care is being your own best advocate.

Self-care is knowing when you’ve had enough and leaving the room.

Self-care is saying yes to the brownie because it’s just a damn brownie and eating it shouldn’t feel shameful.

Self-care is making your body sweat in a way that’s fun to you.

Self-care is creating time for your hobbies and creative activities.

Self-care is ending draining relationships.

Self-care is, simply, discovering what you need and then doing what you can to make it happen.

I think it’s safe to say that every mama wants, needs and deserves pampering. But while you might not be able to hook yourself up with a warm bubble bath every single day, you can (and should!) practice self-care 24/7.

To enjoy $5 off on the Bloom Beautifully Box, first-time subscribers can use promo code MYFIRSTBOX.