I Started A Self-Care Practice To Get To Know Myself Better, And Here's What Happened

by Karen Tietjen

“Self-care” is one of the most of-the-moment terms you hear thrown around today. There’s self-care for the body, like an endorphin-boosting workout or a splurge-worthy spa day. There’s self-care for the soul, like taking a few minutes to meditate or reflect in a journal. And there’s self-care for the mind, whether it’s escaping from life’s daily stressors to read or binge-watch some brainless reality TV.

While all these forms of self-care are valuable — and yes, I’ve enjoyed each and every one of them — I started looking for a practice that went a little deeper with benefits that lasted beyond the self-care moment. I also craved guidance, accountability, and even a bit of a challenge, because let’s face it — routines are difficult to stick to. That’s why I decided to try Madefor, a 10-month program to help me build better habits that are tailor-made just for me. And through the process, I’ve begun to re-acquaint myself to … well, me, and what’s more, I hadn’t even realized that I’d lost touch.


But let’s back up a bit. I’m a first-time mom with a toddler who recently learned how to walk and throw tantrums. I also work full-time and did I mention we don’t have a daycare? Like many parents these days, I’m a work-from-home mom, and between family help and those sporadic chunks of time when my son is either napping or entertaining himself, we manage to get the important tasks done. Needless to say, things can get pretty chaotic around here, and like many moms, in the midst of prioritizing everyone else’s wellbeing, I started to get pretty burned out.

With my self-care routine in desperate need of a glow-up, I decided to try Madefor because it’s a slow burn — you work at building positive habits a little at a time over 10 months — plus I needed the structure to hold me accountable. I also love that it’s app-free, which offers a much-needed break from the screens in my daily life.


Here’s how it works: Madefor sends monthly boxes with a themed goal to work on for several weeks. Each package comes with a booklet explaining the benefits behind each goal (including the science behind it, for you fact-loving friends), plus a physical tool to help you achieve it. The whole point is for you to build better habits to make your life healthier, happier, even more efficient — one baby step at a time. And since everyone is different, the specifics of each habit will be unique to you; truly, it’s all about self-discovery.

For instance, the first challenge is to drink water — sounds simple, right? Not when you’re a full-time work-from-home mom and find yourself reaching for more caffeine than H2O. The box comes with a chic glass water bottle with a string of rubber beads on the cap so you can track each bottle you drink, a booklet on the basics of hydration (let’s just say … it explains a lot), and a huge reality check that I definitely, definitely do not drink enough water. It also comes with a journal for reflecting on your progress (turns out I feel happier and more energetic when I’m hydrated — who knew?!), a gorgeous glass hourglass to remind you to put down your phone, and a sweet Japanese bracelet that reminds me that I can do this. And you can, too. The other challenges are similar in that they make you more mindful about *one* aspect of your life, whether it’s hydration or how the food you’re eating is making you feel. It really allows you to slow down and really recalibrate your habits and choices — in a totally healthy, positive way.


The Madefor program is definitely an investment, but it’s one worth making in order to prioritize you. Break it down, and it’s less than $60 a month, the equivalent of our family getting one dinner for delivery (note to self: order less takeout). Every month when I receive my beautifully-packaged box and surprise items, I remember: This is a gift to myself, from myself, and I deserve this.