How to *actually* prioritize self care (even if you feel like you don’t have time)


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Meet Wellness Collective, our new, immersive curriculum with Athleta that hooks you up with actionable advice from the smartest experts and brand founders in wellness right now. Get the goods at our monthly event series in New York City plus our online one-month wellness plans. Here, Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton, founder of Chillhouse, shares her four-week guide to prioritizing self care—for real.

If your first thought regarding the self-care movement is, “That sounds great and all, but I literally have no time for face masks and bubble baths (and idk how anyone else does, either),” you might be in need of a self-care mindset adjustment, according to Chillhouse founder Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton.

The personal-care pro believes that when people are stressed out by the thought of self care, they’re actually misunderstanding what exactly the practice is.

“I think the words ‘self care’ and ‘wellness’ have become a bit muddled,” Ramirez-Fulton says. “The way I see it, self care is a daily practice that doesn’t even need to be a beauty or wellness service. […] It’s mostly defined as an act of prioritization of oneself, in whichever capacity.”

“[Self care is] mostly defined as an act of prioritization of oneself.”

For Ramirez, self care translates to a daily skin-care routine, three minutes of stretching, weekly manis (because of course), three to four workout classes a week, and monthly Chillhouse massages. But if you feel most at peace after sitting down to pay your bills or organizing your closet, that counts too.

“Once you start thinking of self care as self preservation, you’ll realize you already do practice this every day,” she says. “It’s not all about face masks and CBD baths, okay people?”

To tap into more of her self-care real talk, we asked Ramirez to share her four-week plan for turning your self-preservation time into an everyday habit.

Keep reading for 4 self-care tips that will help you make the practice a non-negotiable part of your routine.


After you figure out what your preferred me-time methods are (whether they involve reading a book, going for a walk, or taking time to floss), make a date with yourself and add the time to your calendar.

“Scheduling things in is a no brainer, but oftentimes we don’t think to do so because we prioritize work as the only thing that should be on a calendar,” Ramirez-Fulton says.

By adding your nightly meditation session to your calendar, it not only reminds you to get in the habit of doing it regularly, it also makes a statement that you think it’s just as important as your weekly meetings with your boss.


Your project for Week Two sounds like a contradiction to Week One, but it actually isn’t. Part of the benefit of self care is becoming more in tune with your body’s needs, so this week is all about listening to your intuition when it comes to downtime—and not feeling obligated to hit up a million social engagements.

“Don’t schedule anything on the weekends,” Ramirez-Fulton suggests. “Just let your body dictate how it wants to feel. It’s okay to sleep in and be lazy on a Saturday.”

This weekend, give yourself permission to hit the snooze button or (gasp!) don’t set an alarm at all. And if you naturally wake up early with loads of energy, take that as a cue your body is craving a more active day of rejuvenation—which could be a great opportunity to hit up that new workout class you’ve been meaning to try.


Accountability is a huge part of making any habit stick, but since your self-care journey is a personal one (hence the name) journaling is a great way to keep yourself committed to the process.

“I know a lot of people who do [this],” Ramirez-Fulton says. “Journaling is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your wellness journey. If you’re in a phase of self discovery and tracking progress, this is a constructive way to document the process.”

Journaling not your thing? Hit up your friends. By letting them know prioritizing self care is something you’re working on, they’ll understand if you want to skip happy hour this week in favor of your standing date with yourself.


Did you fall short on completing this challenge perfectly? Good. Ramirez-Fulton says that’s an important part of adopting a holistic—and realistic—mindset when it comes to self care.

“Be okay with the bumps in the road,” she says. “Life isn’t perfect and neither are you. If you fall off, don’t kick yourself in the ass for it.”

As you’re embracing a real-life approach, don’t forget the importance of surrounding yourself with people who celebrate your efforts—not who make you feel hyperaware of your imperfections. Ramirez-Fulton’s pro tip? Hit the unfollow button. “Only follow people on social that don’t make you feel bad about yourself,” she says. That’s a self-care strategy we can get behind.

Want more Wellness Collective? Hit up our monthly events at Athleta’s Flatiron flagship in New York City and click here for more wellness intel.

In partnership with Athleta

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