My theme for the year is self-care. In this season, I am being intentional about taking care of myself. How about you? Do you love yourself as you love others? God’s words in Mark 12:31 have been on my mind and heart lately; “to love others well as you love yourself.” (MSG)
I’ve always loved the analogy that we are like water pitchers. We pour out to our family and friends, we pour into our work; we even pour parts of ourselves into volunteer opportunities. Those things are all great, but if we never take time to fill back up… we will be empty. How can we truly care for and love our neighbor if we aren’t taking care of ourselves? We will have little or nothing left to give.
Some things to consider about self-care:
- I’ve written about self-care before, but this year something is different…God is speaking words like “permission” and “just do it” into my heart. I’m realizing that self-care often needs to be practiced; it doesn’t come naturally for many of us. And, we are all in different seasons and circumstances – some women are caregivers for an ill family member or friend, another woman just had a baby, and still another person took a new job that demands a lot of her time and energy. Plus, there are the day-to-day routines and activities that fill our planners. We need to realize that self-care will look different for each woman and will change with the seasons of life. Don’t compare or feel guilty for where you are and what self-care looks like for you right now. Just practice it!
- For some, it may have been ages since you’ve practiced self-care. In fact, you don’t even know what to do to care for yourself! I would suggest you grab a notebook or journal and spend some time doing nothing….allow yourself to daydream and be aware of what brings you joy. I know this sounds simple, but life happens and we often don’t clear the time and space to “just be”. What would you do if you had the time and money to pamper yourself? What does self-care look like to you in this season? Write down anything that brings a smile and fills your joy bucket. This can be your “self-care list”.
- Now that you have a “self-care list”, be intentional about scheduling the items on your list into your daily, weekly and/or monthly calendar. There may be some activities, like a retreat, that are scheduled yearly. Again, we will all have different amounts of time and money to use for taking care of ourselves in this season. What I can do now that I am a single empty nester woman in my 50’s is definitely different than what I could do in my 30’s raising two children. Get creative about working the things in your schedule that fill you up and bring you happiness. And after you schedule this time for self-care, treat it like you do any other appointment – don’t cancel unless you must! Yes, emergencies come up, but learn to say “no” to those things that pull you away from taking care of yourself. Take a good look at your schedule and ink in appointments that are just for you!
- Some of you are thinking, “When will she write about getting massages and pedicures? That’s what I think of when I hear the words, self-care!” I am right there with you! But, one of the things I’ve learned as I talk to other women is self-care means something different to each of us. Your “self-care list” may have organizing and running on it. Those two things are not on my list and that is Ok! Allow yourself permission to do what brings you personal fulfillment and happiness; don’t let self-care become a competition.
Self-care is essential to living a life you love. If you need ideas, search blogs, magazines and/or ask friends and family how they care for themselves. I’d love for you to share ways you practice self-care in the comment section below.