When I hear the words “self care” my mind drifts to thoughts of luxurious spa treatments, relaxing salt baths, hot yoga sessions, and free time soaking in nature. And, while I love all of those things I am also a workaholic balancing my family and my business, both of which I love passionately. Carving out days or even hours to regularly enjoy these expressions of self care feels unrealistic. So, I practice a simpler form of self care that I can incorporate into every day, and that’s doing my best to speak to myself with love, acceptance, and kindness.

As a portrait photographer, I always begin by asking my clients “What is it that you love most about yourself that you would like me to capture today?” And, often the response sounds something like “Well, I really hate my [insert perceived physical flaw here], so I definitely want you to hide that.” And, that’s ok! My studio is a safe, open, and completely judgement-free space where people are encouraged to express themselves with honesty and authenticity. Most of us have things we haven’t accepted about our appearance, and my magic is in capturing the most beautiful version of my subjects, drawing out the things they love about the way they look. But, imagine how much happier, healthier, and lighter we can feel in our everyday lives when we really focus our attention on appreciating the things we LOVE about ourselves. It gives me so much joy and power when people say “I love my hair so I really want to show that off.” Or, “I love my eyes when I smile. Let’s get lots of smiling shots.”

Our own inner voices often include criticism we would never direct towards someone else. So, why do we think about ourselves that way? My personal commitment to self care is doing my best to show myself the same love, acceptance, and kindness that I give to my clients, my family, and my friends. When I look in the mirror, I make a genuine effort to see and appreciate the things I really love.