Have you ever had one of those conversations with someone where, within minutes into it, you can just wanna’ hold up a bright red stop sign and say “whoa, there’s a BIG misunderstanding happening here!”

That’s exactly what happened to me a few months ago. It was late at night. I was sitting on my couch, laptop on my lap desk (par usual). Babies quietly sleeping, cup of tea on my table, earphones plugged in so I wouldn’t miss anything.

I was hosting a group coaching call for mamas and, not long after we started, I heard it. The proverbial elephant in the room, making that weird elephant sound (a screech? a yell? What is it, exactly? I digress.).

Anyway, this mama was telling us how she takes care of herself and, in particular, how stressful it can be.

You know, like, when you…

  • race to get to the massage appointment on time so you don’t miss one precious moment on that heated table?
  • sweat bullets trying to get to yoga class early enough so you don’t get stuck unrolling your mat on the crappy spot in the corner next to the weird dude who always wears Speedos and flicks sweat on you when he chatarungas? (Just me?)
  • spend weeks with your eyes glazed over looking for travel deals for a weekend getaway, and eventually you just end up exhausted and Netflixing on the couch?

Anyway, you get it. Sometimes self-care IS stressful.

We work so hard to take care of ourselves that — instead of building our resilience reserves — we actually really need that treat time just to get back to a basic level of balance.

It took about 3.5 seconds into the conversation for me to see the problem here. And I hear it all the time.

In fact, it’s one of the most common misconceptions about true self-care: it has to be big.

This is soooooooooooo not true!

You don’t always have to have a hot stone massage with a homemade sugar scrub and vichey shower afterward (although, okay, yeah, that is super-nice). Sometimes, it’s having a hot shower at the end of a long day.

You don’t always have to take a 90-minute yoga class in a studio (especially if you’re always stuck next to Speedo Guy). Sometimes, it’s plopping down on your mat in the corner of your own, comfortable, familiar home base.

And you certainly don’t have to always hop on a plane in order to feel better (promises the person who *loves* traveling so much, I’ve lived bi-continentally for over 3 years). Sometimes, it’s about reading a fabulous novel that’s set in a foreign land.

Point is, self-care can be extraordinary… or ordinary. I talk about how to know the difference, and how to make both kinds of care accessible, in CORECARE (my new program for busy moms who need more me time).

But for now, just notice that when you feel too tired to take self-care, maybe you’re making it too exhausting. You can always do something for yourself. Big or small.

Both count.