Thank you my dear readers and friends for taking this short, but profound journey with me about self care. I chose this image for this post because it represents both what self care is and is not. It is not a one time thing or a single fix-all. It is a consistent commitment to small things meant to prevent the need for a big operation later.
This is also our last chance to get to 100 readers for this series, and your sharing this might make the difference! If I get to 100 readers, I’m upgrading my site!
But first, let’s recap the journey:
What self care is not:
- It is not avoiding, hiding from, or numbing unpleasant feelings or situations.
- It is not self indulgence.
- It is not self centered.
What self care is:
- Being attuned to and receiving the Lord’s provision in our lives.
- Implementing routines and rhythms that allow for rest.
What has my month looked like after living this redefined self care?
- Less Striving. I used to try to carve out time for relaxing things such as a super hot epsom salt bath or a night time movie. When things didn’t work out for that to happen (a kid wakes up early or another task popped up) I was so frustrated. The striving gave me a scarcity mindset. Then I would be even more worked up than before my self care attempt. It felt self defeating to try and take care of myself and then end up in an even dyer need for self care.
- More Enjoyment. When I’m simply looking for the small times throughout the day for moments to breath, I enjoy the day more. Instead of picking up all the burdens throughout the day then trying to find time to unpack them all at once, I am slowly releasing them throughout the day. In very practical terms I am:
- Making a list of the absolutely necessary things. This includes things like playing with my kids and connecting with my husband–not just tasks.
- Looking for and utilizing the small moments throughout the day to chip away at the necessary things.
- Finding joy in the midst of the task. This is easy when the thing to do is connect with my family (I’m an extrovert). But I’ve had to discover that part of the joy in some tasky-things is simply that it will be off my plate.
- More Rest. I can rest in the trust that the Lord will provide the breath I need to get through the next thing in my day. This results in a more restful day. I’m also seeing the small moments to get a small thing done adds up. This means there are less tasks at the end of the day and a longer period of time to sink into rest.
My new(ish) self care routines are:
- This has looked like not bottling up frustration–even if it means a kind confrontation.
- Something less new but still good is being in the habit of recognizing my emotions, naming them, identifying the source, and resolving anything causing unpleasant emotions.
- Being vulnerable with trusted people about my dreams.
- Being more focused on my children and actually playing with them when it’s time to play. This has helped me chunk the mom guilt about not paying enough attention to them when I need to work at home. It’s helped convince me that quality of time with them is more important than quantity (that’s for all you working moms and dads out there!)
- Planning better so that my mind is free when I have free time.
- I’ve walked about a mile at least 3 times each week this month. The weather is BEAUTIFUL! We’ve also had a lot of good park time!
- I’ve started the Move by Madi classic work out plan. I’ve never been one for the classic work out kind of thing. I’m more of a Zumba and Yoga kind of girl, but I was really wanting something a bit more intense. I’ve lost A LOT of strength since having babies, and I don’t like that. I also had like ZERO endurance and diastasis recti from Charlie’s pregnancy still. I’m only 4 weeks in, but I’ve seen my endurance and strength increase. Only I would notice this, but that’s all I really care about. The diastasis recti is still healing.
- I’ve restarted an old Bible study that I never finished from 10 years ago. It’s the study about the Old Testament Tabernacle by Beth Moore. I’m rethinking what Bible study and quiet time means with small children who don’t alway sleep through the night. (PS: I’m reading my 18 year old answers to questions thinking bless my little heart 😉
- It will not look like long spans of time spent contemplating and doing self led study.
- It may not be a typical early 2000’s “quiet time” where I’m completely alone and solely focused. I CAN’T EVEN PEE BY MYSELF FOR 1 MINUTE!
- It will look like relying on good teachers to guide me to the meaning and impact of the Scripture being studied. I do not see this as a regression from being able to do self-driven study. That wasn’t working, but having someone guide me is working.
- Practicing compassion and making generous assumptions about others. This is another one that I’ve been doing for a while, but I’ve refocused on it this month. When I remember that every human deserves to be treated with dignity and respect simply because they are a human, I bypass a lot of self-inflicted frustration. When I believe that others are doing the best they can with the tools they have, I have a heart to help and not judge. Thanks Brene’ Brown for that life lesson.
So there you have it! A month long journey into what it looks like to integrate self care as a part of your daily life. I hope it has inspired you to rest in God’s care for you so that you can quit striving and start resting!