Why Self Care Is The Best Care

What happened to caring for you? Taking time to fill your cup is not only necessary but extremely rewarding and can put you in a better frame of mind. In this week’s episode of the Routine and Things Podcast we are focusing on the self care routine. I chat with Jenn Collins, wife, mom of 3, and the owner of the Mama Needs Subscription Box that equips women to take care of themselves consistently. She shares her journey with self care and provides tips for helping us overcome the major three hurdles faced when starting a self care routine.

To learn more from Jenn and purchase her subscription box, click below.



Word For Word

Ashley Brown 0:00
[Intro] Routines, my absolute favorite word, but you either love them or you hate them. And either way, I strongly believe that routines can be a springboard for improving your home, yourself and your life. I'm Ashley Brown and this is the Routine and Things Podcast. In each episode, we'll dive into a specific routine or point of view that will move you closer to enjoying life more and more each day. Trust me, you're gonna want to keep listening, because you're well on your way to getting and staying happy.

Ashley Brown 0:47
Hey, and welcome back for another episode of routine and things podcast. I'm your host, Ashley Brown. Thank you for being here with me today. Okay, so in this episode, we are going to be talking all about self care. It is a topic that is so near and dear to my heart, because loving on you is important, right? Showing yourself love, restoring yourself consistently. Like that's all a part of having a joyous and happy life. And so I was really, really grateful to be able to have the conversation today with someone that I absolutely adore. Her name is Jenn Collins. She is the owner and chief self care officer of the Mama Needs Subscription Box, and host of the Mama Needs Podcast. She is also a wife and mama of three amazing kids. And she's on a mission to help moms understand the need for self care, and give them the tools and inspiration to prioritize it.

Ashley Brown 1:53
Just by me saying that, like you already know, it's going to be a really amazing conversation. We talked all things self care and she's going to be giving you some really amazing tips, I would say go ahead and pull out your pen your paper so that you are able to write down these tips so you are constantly reminded how important self care is and that it is possible for you to care for yourself on a consistent basis.

Ashley Brown 2:16
And before we get into today's conversation, I do want to let you know like, for me self care has been something that I've been pretty good at. It was a short time in my life. When I say short, it was probably about a year, maybe a year, year and a half to where I was not caring for myself as much as I was before. And it wore me out, like when you realize like you get to a point where you're like, oh, shoot, I haven't taken a bath in six months. Or I haven't sat up here and painted my nails and like a year. I mean, you get to those points where you're just like, something's off here. And I know in that time in my life, that's what happened. And I was like, we have to change this. And so, for me, self care is so so vital, is so important. And I just think for all of us, especially for us as women, we have to care for ourselves, nourish ourselves. We are always the nurturers of those around us. We have to nurture ourselves too, right? So that's what we're going to be talking about today. And I'm super excited about that. But before we get into the conversation that I had with Jenn, let's take a quick break.

Ashley Brown 3:38
[AD] Before we continue the conversation today, I want to let you know this episode is sponsored by Routine and Things, which houses physical and digital products to help you get and stay in your happy place. From beautifully designed notepads that will help you rock your routines to programs that move you towards cultivating the life you want. To shop the collection, head to routineandthings.com.

Ashley Brown 4:03
Okay, now let's go ahead and get into the conversation that I had all about self care with Jenn Collins. Enjoy.

Ashley Brown 4:11
Hey, Jenn, thank you for being here. To start this off. Just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Jenn Collins 4:18
Hey, Ashley, thanks for having me. So I'm Jen and I have three kids. I'm a wife and I live in North Carolina in the mountains in the western side. It's beautiful here. We love it. But I hail from sunny South Florida. That's where I grew up near Miami. And so I love it. I miss it. But I also love living here. I traded the beach for the mountain so I can't complain right. And I own a business. I'm an entrepreneur. I started my subscription box business in 2008. And it's a self care subscription box for moms specifically.

Jenn Collins 5:02
A lot of people think that I include things for kids or for the babies. And I'm like, no, this is all for the moms. Because we give so much to our kids. And we're going to be talking about that. So my boxes are all about self care. And then yeah, so I get a lot of questions about what's in the box. And a lot of people think it's for, you know, moms and kids or just for kids, or like a new mom box. And all of those are really great ideas. And there are boxes for that. But for this box, specifically, it's just for the mom. It's just self care gifts for the mom to spoil herself and take a little time to just take care of herself.

Jenn Collins 5:46
And then I also have a podcast. It's called the Mama Needs Podcast, Ashley was on. I loved having you on. I think you were in the 40s Episode 40 something and have to go back and look, but But yeah, you guys should go check that out. She talks about routines for us. And so yeah, I have the box and the podcast. My kids are all in school. And we're trying to navigate what that looks like right now. So that's me in a nutshell.

Ashley Brown 6:16
And I love your business name. The name of your subscription subscription box, which is mama needs. I think every time I think about that, I'm like, the first thing that pops into my head is like mama needs rest. I don't know why. But that's what pops into my head. And mama needs all the things right? Like, I love that name. And so thank you, I love that you do this for women. And for moms in specifically because you know, self care is something that we will put on the back burner, because our focus is primarily our family, and specifically our children. And I feel like we get to this point where we're like, What happened to me? Like, where did I go? And so were you ever at this point?

Jenn Collins 7:11
Yes, Yes, for sure. I had two kids down in South Florida where I said I was from, and then we decided to quit our jobs, and kind of have a fresh start in a new place. And so that's why we moved to the mountains. And it's also a lot cheaper to live here. And we want to start a business, my husband started a business we moved here. And so I found myself unexpectedly pregnant with number three, my husband and I found out not long after we got here. And that was, again, unexpected, but a welcome surprise. And so it just kind of pushed me further down on the list. And not only that, but because it was an unexpected pregnancy because we had totally upgraded our lives and move to a new place. We had next to no money.

Jenn Collins 8:12
We were starting a new business, making new friends. I mean, everything was new. And it was all at once. And I saw myself just declining rapidly down into depression and anxiety. I hated living here, I wanted to go back home. And I was I knew, but I knew like I'm a Christian. And so I knew, you know, that we were supposed to be there. God had brought us there. And like I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt. But I was like I don't want to be. I don't want to do this, I have changed my mind.

Jenn Collins 8:49
And so not only that, but just in my motherhood journey, my daughter's almost 12 now, so I've been a mom for almost 12 years, and I've had I've seen a pattern of ups and downs where I put myself, you know, not first, but I put myself up there so that I can, you know, take care of myself. And then there's times where I'm just, you know, drowning, and I can barely get my head above water. And that's pretty much how I felt after we moved here, having our third baby and finding out that he had a severe speech disorder. That was extremely difficult.mAnd he now talks our ears off. So he's amazing. He's worked so hard.

Jenn Collins 9:33
But yes, I have been in that position like more times than I can tell you. And every time it was like almost to dire straits before I realized that I needed to turn things around that I needed to get rest and drink more water and exercise. Eat better. Take a bath, you know, read a book. Like all the things that I actually really love doing, I was just forgetting about them, and I was not doing them and I was just sinking further and further down into this hole of just sadness and depression and so on. So yes, it's a pain point for me, I know exactly how women feel, how moms feel, and, and I just don't want to see people get to where I was, I want to see people, see moms thriving, I want to help them see the need for self care. And then I like, I want to give them the tools to actually do it. And so that's my mission.

Ashley Brown 10:39
I love it. And yeah, I've been there too. Just depression piece, definitely. Because,like, just kind of just, it just comes on.

Jenn Collins 10:51
It does.

Ashley Brown 10:53
You're like, why am I not feeling like myself? Why am I not as you know, doing the things that I love. And then it's just like, Oh, I haven't been caring for myself. And I've been putting everyone else before me. And now, my life doesn't look like how I want it to look. And so that can weigh so much on us very heavily. So I definitely understand that. I know that it may be some women listening and some moms listening today, they feel like they're drowning? Any advice you would give them right now?

Jenn Collins 11:26
Yeah. Okay, so I'll give you a specific time, where I didn't realize how deep I had gone, and, how far underwater I was. So every month for about, I don't know, six to eight months ish, I noticed that I would get super angry, like super angry, and frustrated with my family, and I would take it out on them. And I was not a nice mom. And I kept like beating myself up for this. And wondering what's going on with me until finally, I realized that it was around the same time every month. So I think you can see where I'm going with this.

Jenn Collins 12:15
And I realized I went to the doctor, finally I made myself an appointment. And I told her, you know, I get into, I get to be a different person, like I don't even recognize myself every month around period time. And what she told me was that basically, I had a hormonal imbalance, which is very common for moms, especially because I was still postpartum technically. And so she gave me a, you know, low dosage, anti depression medication that I started taking. And that particular medication was not for me. And so I switched to another one. And I have been on that one for probably three years now. And it has changed everything.

Jenn Collins 13:05
Because it helped me see that, you know, the pattern I was seeing of myself becoming a monster every month was not necessarily my fault, and not something that I could really control. But I needed extra help. And so for advice for moms who are who feel like they're drowning, you may not be going through this specific situation. But the point is that becoming self aware of, you know, realizing what's happening around you in your body, and in your life, and then doing something about it, that will give you the life raft that you need. Because although I'm not like, I don't love that I have to take this medication, but it was the life raft that I needed in that situation because I was just drowning, and I was not myself and I hated what it was doing to me. And I hated how my kids saw me acting like that. Um, you know, it wasn't like, I didn't go like crazy, but I would just yell more, and I would be more sad. And my, you know, my symptoms, like serious symptoms would be a lot more severe. And so, yeah, just being self aware of, of, again, just your body, your surroundings, your life, and then taking action. What do you need, like, what do you need to do to fix this? And I think so often, as moms, we just don't even realize what's going on around us. We're just literally surviving the day. So that would be my number one piece of advice for sure.

Ashley Brown 14:42
Yeah, no, that's really good. I love it because self awareness. I mean, I've talked about self awareness here on the podcast so many times because I think it's super vital for us to really tune into ourselves, what's going on around us. Because if not, we'll just be swept away by life, and you know, that's not going to be helpful. So I do feel as if I even sometimes when I talk to moms now, the self awareness sometimes is there and that they know they need to better their self care and their self care routines. Like, I feel like that is the routine every time I ask on Instagram, women say self care, and I'm like, okay, let's get this together. Right. That's why I love that you're here. So when it comes to women, and moms, being able to craft a really beautiful self care routine for themselves? Can you share any tips that can help with this?

Jenn Collins 15:47
Yes, absolutely. Now, just hear me out. But I'm not like a self care guru. I am not an expert. But I do have a lot of experience with this. And I'm sharing basically what I have heard from pretty much hundreds of moms, some that are my friends, and some that are just, you know, women that I've come into contact with. And just from my own experience, and this has been true time and time again.

Jenn Collins 16:19
And there are three reasons that keep Mama's from self care. And I know that your listeners are going to identify with these, I just know 100%, they will. So when you know when you think about self care, and you're like, Oh, I should do that. But I don't have enough time is number one, I don't have enough money is number two. And I feel really guilty about taking time for self care. Those are the top three reasons, excuses, whatever you'd like to call them obstacles for moms to that keep them from practicing self care. And so what I say is that we basically need to change our mindset, we need to get rid of those, we need to just erase them from our vocabulary because they don't hold up. And I'm going to tell you why.

Jenn Collins 17:09
So like to look at self care through the lens of I need to do this, so that I can be a better mama today. And then I can be intentional about making that happen. And so if we look at time, we schedule time in our day for all kinds of things. You know, I scheduled time for appointments for my kids doctor's appointments, and soccer practices, I scheduled time to go to the grocery store. Even if you're aren't a planner, like a planner person, you still schedule time, even if it's just in your head. So why can we not schedule some self care in our day, it's so easy to do. It doesn't have to be extravagant, it doesn't have to be this like huge production, you can take 10 minutes to paint your nails, if that's something that you like to do, you can take 20 minutes to read a book that you bought that's been sitting on your nightstand. And I am talking from experience there. I have like 10 books on my nightstand.

Jenn Collins 18:14
You can take five minutes to text a friend to see how she's doing. I swear when I check on other moms and my friends or family members, it really fills me up to check in on them, see how they're doing, and just encourage them. And then at the same time if these people are local, if I'm talking to a local friend, and then I'll be like, hey, let's go get some coffee sometime or why don't you come over and have coffee on my porch or something. And then I've knocked out two birds with one stone because I've not only connected with a person, which is so important, especially right now and what we're going through, but also you have something to look forward to. You've got a coffee date, or you've got a lunch date, or whatever it is, or you're going to go walking at the park or something easy like that. And those are very simple ways just to kind of build them into your schedule. And I swear that no matter how busy you are, you can fit it in because what's important to you you will do and there is there is time for it. And again, you don't have to do it every day. But you do it on a schedule that kind of makes you feel good.

Ashley Brown 19:19
I love that you say yes you can fit it in and what's important to you, you will do so please, please listen up. What's important to you, you will do! It is so vital. And like you said planning it and I know every week I ask myself like when I'm planning for the week I asky myself you know what would make me extremely happy to do. Like I always ask myself that question because I want to make sure that I'm doing things for me and my week because I know I have other things that I need to do. I am forefront in my life as well. And so making sure that you're keeping yourself Top of Mind is super duper important. So I love that you say that and like she says you know, we have the time and we can create the time because if it's important to us, we will.

Jenn Collins 20:05
So I'm just going to be real with you for a minute. I kind of mentioned this earlier, but that when we moved from Florida to North Carolina, quit our full time salary jobs, we left everything that was comfortable. And, you know, known to us. And we started a business from scratch, not my business, but my husband's. We knew two people in the town that we lived in and live in, we knew two people at the time, that was it. found out that I was pregnant had two young kids already, they were five and two, and quickly realized that we needed help. And luckily, the government has programs that can help you. And they're not meant to be long term, you can use them for as long as you need to. And that's what they're there for. It took me a really long time actually to, like, get okay with that. Because I was like, no, no, no other people need this more than me. And somebody in my life who was amazing was like, you, you are that person.

Jenn Collins 21:09
And so I went to the Social Services Office, and I applied for WIC, I applied for food stamps, I even stood in line at a food pantry with that woman who told me this is you you need you need this. And she was an amazing helper in my life at that time. And so that was my reality. And so if I could practice self care, living on food stamps, and WIC and going to food pantries, anybody can do it. So I know what being on a tight budget is like, it was extremely isolating, it was extremely depressing. And there was a lot of shame mixed in with that, too. And so basically, what I did for self care during that time was that I went for a lot of walks. And so of course, we had moved to the mountains. And it's just beautiful, relaxing and picturesque here. And so that was a huge piece of self care for me, of course, I needed to walk to because I was pregnant, and I needed to keep myself, you know, healthy. And so I would get outside and pray. And it would help me kind of just fill up for a little while to get back into the house, and do what I need to do. And kind of it really helped my mental health, I would also call my best friend or my mom, I would read a book during nap time. And so really, whatever your budget is, tiny, large, whatever you can fit it in. And you I mean, it kind of goes along with like, whatever season you're in, in life, you can figure it out.

Jenn Collins 22:37
And you can, you can still practice self care. And of course, I love my boxes. And I encourage everybody to at least try one. But I also recognize that not everybody can spend, you know, 39.99 a month. And so that's why I just really feel like self care does not need to cost you any money. I simply offer a solution that does, you know, that has a price on it. But anybody can practice self care doing anything at any, you know, it can be free, it can be $5, whatever. And so just in that season of walking the simple, simple joys of life, and that's what really fills me up during that time.

Ashley Brown 23:23
I love that you showcase and you know, self care doesn't have to mean that you're spending a lot of money. I know many of the things I do don't require money at all, there's no, you know, like you said, like prayer. And gratitude practice is something that I do constantly and meditations and, you know, reading, because some of the books like you said, I think I have probably about four above my bed. And I just started reading another one, just a few days ago. But yes, so like, it doesn't have to cost you a lot of money, it doesn't have to cost you any money. There's so many free resources out here. But if you do have the money, Jenn's box is amazing. So you should definitely get it. But yes, I love that you share that other piece, too. You know, showcasing that self care doesn't mean that you have to go and spend money.

Jenn Collins 24:22
Yeah, and, you know, I would have rather gone to, you know, escaped my house and my life for a day and gone to a spa. But that just wasn't in our budget or you know, not even in our wheelhouse at that time, probably still not but it would be it would be nice, but I think that's what people think is that it has to be all spa days and super expensive massages and all kinds of stuff like that. And those are definitely self care. But I feel like it just goes so much deeper than the surface stuff and it mostly free, can be mostly free.

Jenn Collins 25:00
So the third obstacle that keeps moms from practicing self care is guilt. And so what I say is that guilt is basically a big fat lie. And guilt creeps in when we think that we should do something else other than self care. We feel bad about that. And we need to just stop saying should, because that is unrealistic expectations that we're putting on ourselves. You know, I feel like, we feel as moms that we need to be super women, we need to do it all, we don't need to ask for help. And, you know, I really feel like we all have felt like that in one way or another. But those are lies, no one's expecting that from you, no one's putting that on you. It's something that we're putting on ourselves. And so I want us to be free from guilt. And so just one way to do that is to recognize that we need self care to continue to be the best mama that we can for our families. So instead of seeing it as a negative task, or even seeing it as like, I deserve this, I'm, let's look at it as a necessity.

Jenn Collins 26:07
So when it becomes a need to the guilt goes away. And so we don't want to become martyrs as moms, because martyrs are wonderful people. But when you continuously put yourself at the bottom, when you continuously sacrifice your well being or someone else's well being, even if it's your husband and your kids, you know you are empty, and you have completely poured yourself out. And then now you need to fill yourself back up. And then you will overflow which I strongly feel like as moms, we need to give out of the abundance that we have, rather than the overwhelm. And so often, myself included, I give and give and give to my family out of complete overwhelm. And that's not serving anyone well. And so we want to be able to give out of that overflow, because we have taken the time to fill ourselves up. And I feel zero guilt, about practicing self care. I feel zero guilt if I need to go and take some time to myself, because when I come back, I am a better mom, and I am a better human. And I'm happier. And I can give more and I can be more fun. And I can see more things. When I'm filled up, I can see my surroundings of Oh, I've let this go or Oh like, you know, do you just see more things when you're in a more healthy mindset and a more healthy kind of mental space. So guilt is a lie. Let's get rid of it. And move on.

Ashley Brown 27:45
I agree wholeheartedly. That guilt is definitely a lie. And that is something that I had to get over too when I first became a mom. It's like that mom guilt that just Yeah, you're just like, No, no, I shouldn't. Please like you said, Get rid of the shoulds. That's one thing that I've learned and especially going to therapy specifically, like, get rid of the shoulds, because no, they do not serve you. And take care of yourself like, Jenn said, give from that overflow, not out of overwhelm but from the overflow. And it's super important. I love that, I'm gonna write that down. I think that's really good. And so I just love how you share those three, the three obstacles that we usually will come up against, and how we can overcome those obstacles because we can. Thank you so much Jenn.

Ashley Brown 28:40
Is there anything else you would like to share with any Mama's listening right now who really want to care for themselves out but maybe struggle and is still struggling with it right now? Would you like to share anything else?

Jenn Collins 28:57
Yeah, you know, just start simple. Don't make it a big deal. Don't make it overwhelming. You don't have to get out your huge planner and say, Okay, I'm going to give myself this many minutes this time of day, you know, it also can be really organic and spontaneous and fun. And another thing that I feel is like, it's important to say that I think, you know, we kind of forget about when we think about self care, is that self care doesn't have to be done alone.

Jenn Collins 29:29
You know, I get filled up when I go on a date with my husband, I get filled up when I do a mommy date with one of my kids or all three of my kids. When we experience something new as a family, my heart just bursts with joy. And so self care isn't always I got to be alone. You know, it definitely is. You know, self care can literally look like just going in the closet and sitting so that no one can find you for like five seconds because constantly all day I'm getting called mama mama mama. So yeah, it doesn't have to be alone. It can be with your people. But if that is not serving you at that moment, then do something else. And so, yeah, keep it simple. Do not make it extravagant or a big deal. And just start somewhere, just start.

Ashley Brown 30:26
Alright, Jenn. First off, thank you this, this has been really, really helpful. I love everything that you've been sharing. So as we close things out, I always ask this question, which routine right now are you looking to improve? Or you're loving right now in your life?

Jenn Collins 30:45
That's such a good question. And I am constantly working on a morning routine. So I will say that, it has always been that elusive thing for me. I'm not an early riser, by any means I really enjoy sleeping. And so if we know about the enneagram, which I know you and I talked about it on my episode, you know that I'm at enneagram, nine. And the nines tend to just kind of like, be relaxed, go with the flow, very slow, to get moving and slow to start. But once we get there, oh, like watch out, you know, so once I get going, I'm good. But that's hard for me in the mornings, I am at my kind of lowest, my lowest activity point, I guess, or just I have very, I need to just like chill for a while. So I am working on my morning routine that kind of works for me. And especially now because our kids, right now we're doing a hybrid model of school where they go in person two days a week. And they stay home to do virtual school three days a week. And so we're just now going into week three of this schedule. And I feel like we're kind of getting there in a routine. And so I'm just trying to stay consistent with it. With try to wake up consistently around the same time, but not an unrealistic time where I know I'm going to fail, because like I just can't do 530 in the morning, I can't even do some barely do six o'clock in the morning. So I just need to do what works for me. And so that's what I'm working on now is trying to like, get into that routine, and get myself moving, propelling forward so that I can get the things done that I need. Get that coffee in me, and then I'm good to go.

Ashley Brown 32:45
Yes, like you said little by little like trying to figure out what works for you. That's all that you know, starting routines are about. If you're really mellow in the morning, do something, do some things that are mellow, and, you know, align with your energy. That can really help. So thank you for sharing that. So we would love to know where we can find more from you because I want to for the listeners to know where where they can learn more and really can get a subscription box.

Jenn Collins 33:16
Thank you so much. So you can find our website at mamaneedsbox.com and I spell mama Ma-Ma. And then I'm on Instagram and Facebook at Mama Needs Box. And the podcast is at mamaneedspodcast.com. And yeah, so you can just check us out there, I've got everything on our website, as far as you know, you can get a one time box, you can get a subscription, you can do a prepaid thing where you get it, you know, every three months or every six months or even annually, so you just don't even have to think about it just arrives at your door magically. So I've got lots of options. I would love for your listeners to check out our boxes and the podcast. And yeah, I appreciate you having me on, it's been awesome.

Ashley Brown 34:02
Yes, thank you so much, Jenn.

Jenn Collins 34:04

Ashley Brown 34:05
That was such an amazing conversation with Jenn. She just gave us so many goodies in that conversation and just hearing about her life in the ways that she has been able to care for herself in times where she didn't have a lot of time, where she didn't have a lot of money, where she felt guilty, right shows us that, you know, we're not alone. But there are ways that we can still give to ourselves and love on ourselves. Even if we see those things as roadblocks because they're no. We can care for ourselves even if we don't have a lot of time, even if you don't have a lot of money, even if you feel guilty, right? Because self care is important. So if we can try to change the narrative around self care, we will do more of it. And I want you to do more of it for your life.

Ashley Brown 34:56
But before I let you go I want you to know that if you are wanting to care for yourself more specifically, if you are wanting to care for yourself when it comes to a morning routine, because I know a lot of us, as women as moms, we want to have like a really vibrant morning routine and start our days off right. And so if this is something that you are interested in starting, in doing. I want to invite you to go grab my free Morning Routine Roadmap that I have for you, where I walk you through how to set up a morning routine that will start your day off right. And that is really specific to you for what you need. So if you want to get that you can head to routineandthings.com and pick that up.

Ashley Brown 35:38
But yeah, care for yoursel girl. Care for you. When you care for yourself. You caring for those around you. And like Jenn said, when you give from a place of overflow instead of overwhelm, this is when the magic occurs. So go ahead, go off and do something for you this week. That's your routine work for this week is to do something for you. Something that makes you smile, something that brings you joy, something that just lights you up. Be sure to tag me on Instagram at routineandthings and show me what you've been getting into and what you did for yourself.

Ashley Brown 36:20
Also, make sure that you subscribe to the podcast if you haven't already. And if you could do me a huge favor today. If you could review the podcast. If you listen on iTunes, please review the podcast for me. Write a heartfelt review of what you're learning what you are gaining from this podcast. It really helps to support the show. Alright girl, well, I hope that you enjoy the rest of your day. And be sure to enjoy wherever you are and wherever you're doing right now. Stay happy, and I'll talk to you later.

Unknown Speaker 36:53
[Outro] Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed today's episode, could you do me a huge favor and take a screenshot and share it on social? And for more routine goodness, be sure to visit routineandthings.com, here's to staying happy.

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