We’re good at giving love to others, but how often do you nourish your relationship with yourself? We’ve spoken to our favorite self-care gurus about their favorite ways to boost their self-love: you deserve your attention as much as anyone else.

Today we speak with New York-based health coach, co-founder and CEO of EMBODY Wellness Company, and mom, Stephanie Rapp, about how she creates space for self-care and self-love.

Splendid Spoon: Hi Stephanie! What are your go-to self-care rituals?

Stephanie Rapp: Hello Spooners! My self-care rituals depend on the day and its demands. I’m at my best when I carve out time to workout 3x per week, read for pleasure (even if it’s just a page a day), make a home-cooked dinner once a week (hopefully more), put my phone away for several hours, and spend time alone with my husband.

I frequently remind myself to breathe deeply and be present. I belly laugh daily, smile often, and hold off worrying until there’s something to worry about. These small shifts in mindset and perspective have become go-to self-care rituals!

SS: How do you remind yourself you’re enough when life gets overwhelming?

SR: I slow down, push pause, and take a few deep breaths. I remind myself that life’s long and I don’t have to have, do, or be it all right now. I look at my life from a bird’s-eye view, and see how happy and proud I am.

Sometimes I get anxious that I haven’t built, accomplished, or created enough, but I realize it’s because I’m happy in the here and now. When I stop pushing myself so hard, I can reconnect, breathe easier, laugh more, and love deeper. I know I’m enough — more than enough. And you are too!

SS: As a busy working mom, how do you create space in your day for self-care?

SR: I literally schedule it in. I plan three workouts each week, and put them on my calendar, like a client meeting. I tell my kids where I’m going and why it’s important to me.

I also find small spaces of time and make them me-time. For example, I never take a subway without a good book. Self-care doesn’t have to be a massage or a bath — it’s anything that feeds you. Making tea, eating mindfully, engaging in a conversation with a friend, spending an extra minute in the shower…these are all acts of self-care.

SS: How do you use food as self-care?

SR: I love grocery shopping and never skip a farmers’ market. I love to see and try new things, and experiment in the kitchen. Cooking is calming and restorative to me.

Eating with family and friends (especially if it’s food I made!), is one of my favorite ways to self-love and love others. I always buy the highest quality food I can find. Buying food I believe in is self-care: when I eat whole, real, good food, I feel and look better. Of course, I enjoy wine and cocktails, I love ice cream and popcorn (two other self-care favorites!), I go out to dinner, and I order in, but I generally eat what nourishes me. [This is exactly the Splendid Spoon philosophy! We all need to give our body what it loves, and find that perfect balance! — Ed]

SS: Our relationship with our body and sense of self-love can be complicated. How do you help your clients navigate this relationship?

SR: Cultivating self-love is a huge aspect of how I work with clients. I use a variety of methods and techniques to help each client see themselves for all their talents, worth, and beauty. We also help them look and feel their best physically. This is powerful for many reasons: when you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you look good.

SS: How did having kids change your sense of self-love?

SR: Firstly, I learnt that I’m simply not that important anymore! I’m not my own first priority: someone else ranks above me, and I have less time for me. Secondly, I love my kids so unbearably much, and remembering that I made them and am responsible for them is a powerful self-love reminder!

I also became aware that I’m a role model. Kids grow and learn from watching and imitating our behavior, so I try to be the woman I want my children to mimic. I embody self-love and want them to see that and embody it too. I love them unconditionally so they love themselves in the same way. If I allow my authentic self to shine (in all its facets, colors, and tarnishes), they will learn the confidence to love their whole selves. It’s a big, important job and the fact that I do it each day — with my clients and my family — is another reinforcer for self-love.

SS: What’s the most important lesson having kids has taught you about yourself?

SR: That it’s just not about me anymore. My morning routine now takes three minutes and is done with one kid in the sink and another at my feet. I’m also much more forgiving of myself, partly because things that were important before are trivial now, but also because I want to model the behavior I’d like my kids to cultivate.

Before kids, every moment was a version of “me time.” Work was fulfilling and challenging. After work I did whatever I was in the mood for. I spent weekends doing anything that interested me. I took vacations wherever I desired. Now, vacations are short flights and family-friendly resorts, workouts are scheduled like meetings, and dinner out is planned weeks in advance. I love how life has shifted, but I have to make sure I take care of the me that existed before kids. For me, that means date nights with my husband, fun dinners with friends, weekend getaways, passion projects, community service, and building my business, EMBODY Wellness Company. I hope all these things I do for “me” impact my kids, showing them that they can find joy and balance in so many ways!