Welcome back to Modern Routines with the Palermo Community. One of our Self-Care Tenets as a company is that self-care looks different for everyone. The intention behind this series is to share how other's self-care routines can inspire, spark ideas, and sometimes provide just the right motivation to take the time for yourself. I hope you’ll read on and maybe find a little inspiration here too.
Michaella Kurdziel work's with the Palermo team around strategy and storytelling. Dog-mom to one, human-mom to two, friend-mom to…quite a few very special humans. She is ardent believer in the power that stories have to inspire, make sense of the world, change opinions, and bring people closer together.
PB: What are your first memories of understanding the importance of self care?
MK: For a very long time, I thought self-care looked like doing yoga or taking a bath, but that understanding changed completely after my first son was born. I had a tough recovery and ended up with severe postpartum anxiety—panic attacks, sleeping 15 minutes at a time, all while taking care of a newborn and trying to go back to work. I discovered the real meaning of self-care during that recovery journey.
It started so small, and it was so hard, but it would be something like: I am going to sit and drink this entire cup of tea and notice how it makes me feel. Seeing self-care as a radical act—putting myself first long enough to become the person I wanted to be the rest of the day—was completely transformative to me, and I’m never looking back.
PB: What are your favorite Palermo Body products?
MK: The thing I love the most about these products is how they remind me to come fully into my body while I use them. My brain usually has eighteen tabs open and my favorite products help me back into myself, take a deep breath, and smile (because they genuinely make me feel good).
I keep the Harmonizing Aromatherapy Oil on my desk in my office and put it on whenever I feel like I’m becoming distracted or unfocused. It's a moment just for me and pulls me right back into the present.
I transitioned all of my skin and body care products to be as natural as possible when I became pregnant. Now, I’m almost on year five of being either pregnant or nursing, and the comfort level I have with just being able to pick up a Palermo product without Googling half of the ingredients is such a game changer for me. I’m still nursing now and I feel really comfortable using the body oils, the scrubs—I just love that I can take care of myself without worrying.
PB: With the limited time you now have as a mother, how do you incorporate purposeful self-care into your life?
MK: My self-care modalities have changed pretty drastically over the past few years. My favorite form of self-care is anything that gets me out of my head and into my body, which used to mean going on vigorous hikes, long bike rides, yoga, dance… But it’s a lot harder to find time for that these days, and Palermo has been such an awesome bite-size way to move out of my head and into my body in a few minutes instead of hours.
The one form of self-care that I do daily without exception is cooking. It is extremely meditative for me, and a complete 5-sensory experience. I love the alchemy of the process, plus it makes me really proud to nourish my family by extension of taking care of myself.
PB: What does caring for yourself mean to you, how does it help you grow?
MK: Since becoming a mom, personal growth beyond my professional life has become critically important to me. I’m constantly thinking about how I can lead by example, how I can become a better emotional co-regulator for these tiny humans, how I can embrace joy, curiosity, and love through work & play…and through all of it, how I can demonstrate that by taking care of myself and the broader world. It’s a pretty humbling process, and I’m learning a lot every day.
PB: What books are currently on your nightstand?
MK: Oh gosh, one thing about my transition to motherhood is that I rarely finish anything other than a storybook these days. My current half-read books are really run the gamut: Breath by James Nestor, Cuckoo Cloud Land by Anthony Doerr, and—recently actually finished—a fantastic novel by my former coworker, Tory Henwood Hoen, called The Arc.
PB: What does a self-care morning or evening look like now?
MK: Nothing makes my soul happier than getting to spend some agenda-free one-on-one time with one of the boys—I love bringing them into the things that bring me joy. They are so different and so sweet, and really being in the moment with them feels like magic. Barrett has always been my big-movements kid, so for us it’s the beach or riding bikes…and usually a pastry to top it off. Gabriel is in his last days of baby-hood, so I’m trying to soak up all the time that he wants to be physically close to me playing at home or going for a walk in the carrier.