Do you first

Fill your heart through self-care

By Barbara Pierce

selfcare“Fill your cup first, so that you can give your best,” suggests April Cacciatori, certified life coach, licensed massage therapist and founder of Zensations Therapeutic Massage in Rome.

“When you operate from a position of fullness, with a full heart, you’re not depleted. You can give your best,” she said.

Self-care is often a huge part of what’s missing in the life of someone who’s busy and stressed.

What is self-care?

It’s paying attention to yourself, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.

Self-care is a way of refreshing yourself, replenishing your personal motivation, and growing as a person. It is a vital part of maintaining good health and a vibrant life.

“Self-ish is not selfish,” stressed Cacciatori. “For many women, this is a hard concept to embrace. We’re brought up to think that we’re being selfish if we don’t put everyone else first. Give everything away first, then take care of our self. Be the first one up and the last one to bed. It’s like an obligation.

“Women, especially, are the caregivers of life. We resist taking care of ourselves first.”

We’re busy, and finding time to take proper care of our self can be hard. But if we don’t, it won’t be long before we’re battered from exhaustion and operating in a mental fog where it’s hard to care about anything or anyone.


Cacciatori knows, as this is what happened to her: “I used to have overwhelming to-do lists. My worth was wrapped up in what I could get done. I took care of my family and worked two jobs. I was the first one up in the morning and the last one to go to bed. It was like the world would fall apart if I didn’t do all of these things,” she said.

“What happened was that I burned out — I burned out many times. Then I couldn’t do anything; I was like a zombie, no good to anyone,” she said.

“It took many years for me to break these patterns,” she said. “The first thing it took was realizing I was doing it. What I did was get quiet; I cultivated quiet.  That was part of my journey. I discovered ‘less is more.’ Now I help other women discover this.”

Focus on self

It’s “me” time that keeps you sane, say the experts.

“It’s the little things, the little moments that matter,” said Cacciatori. “For example, have quiet time in the morning; enjoy your coffee. If you have to get up a few minutes early to do this, get up a few minutes early.”

“For me, I love my mornings. I enjoy my coffee and work quietly, writing. I’m not so much on social media. I schedule time for social media a few days a week. Next, I might read a few paragraphs or pages from a favorite book, then meditate for five to 15 minutes; just sit in quietness and clear my mental space,” she said.

She teaches a form of meditation to help others cultivate quiet. “If you just do it for even five minutes — set a time and sit in quietness. This will clear your mental space, help you prioritize and let go of things that aren’t important.”

Meditation is simply being present with what is going on inside of you. There are many ways to do it; you can’t do it wrong.

Little things matter, Cacciatori stressed. For example, if you enjoy a pedicure, plan ahead and enjoy every minute. Make time to do what you love and what nourishes you, whether it’s walking, relaxing in a bubble bath, reading a favorite book, or enjoying essential oils. Small subtle practices bring about profound changes.

As a life coach, Cacciatori will teach a new program for women, beginning in January. “Your Time to Shine” will be an online group, meeting every other week for three months.

“Self-care will be the initial topic. I’ll teach women how to care for themselves — how to delegate, discover your boundaries, cultivate quiet, and how to say no. I’m teaching women how to live life to the fullest. This program is exclusive with me,” she said.

Cacciatori adds this advice, for both men and women: “Try to find time to make a little more time for yourself. Find time for you. Find grace and gratitude in anything and everything. Ground yourself in the present.”

Cacciatori offers individual life coaching in her office or online. To determine whether you are a fit with her, she suggests a complimentary discovery consultation.

“Every person who shines a little brighter makes the world a better place,” Cacciatori said.

For more information on Cacciatori, see or call 315-339-9100.