It is important to take care of yourself; don’t forget that you are a member of your family, too.
Is the idea of taking care of yourself a foreign concept? Do you even know where to begin? Do you already feel overwhelmed enough with day to day life that you don’t even want to think about taking care of yourself because it would mean you have one more thing to do?
One day a friend of mine was telling me that she was feeling burnt with all of her responsibilities as a mother. I asked her, “Are you part of your family?” We talked about how it is our vocation as wives and mothers to take care of the needs of our families, yet we are part of our families, too. We tend to forget this as we work to take care of the needs of everyone else. We need to take the time for self-care, too.
Take care of yourself.
Yes, I know. It is easier said than done, for sure. But, if we don’t take care of ourselves, who will? Even when our husbands take over a household responsibility that we usually do so we can have a break, do we take a break or do we use the time to get one more thing done? Yep. We need to make the decision to take care of ourselves and then make the time to do it.
Don’t run yourself into the ground.
We need to be mindful to not run ourselves into the ground. Not eating well, or not eating at all, not sleeping, not taking the time to rest our mind and body will all backfire on us eventually. When that happens, we will not be any good for anyone at all. It is not worth it.
Think of this analogy: If we drive your car until it runs out of gas, we get stranded in the middle of nowhere. We’ll need to get a gas can if we don’t have one already, transportation to the nearest gas station (that we have no idea where it is) and then transportation back to the car to put the gas in it so we can get back to a gas station and finish filling up the tank. Then we can get back on the road. What a pain and inconvenience!
Yet, this is what we do to ourselves when we allow ourselves to become run down; we run out of energy and emotional resources and then we are so depleted we can’t function. It all could have been avoided if we had just taken the time to fill up our gas tank before it ran out.
7 Tips for self-care.
1. Plan ahead.
Planning ahead is key. To make something happen, we need to plan for it and then execute our plan.
You can plan something into your daily routine or put a date on the calendar. The important thing is that you stick to it.
Plan what you will do.
Some of us recharge when we are by ourselves (an introverted personality), and some of us recharge when we are with other people (an extroverted personality). You know yourself, so you know the best way for you to recharge.
Do you want to read a book for 20 minutes (or more) each day? Maybe exercising three times a week is what you are longing to do. Perhaps you need to go out with your friends.
Decide what activities will be the best ones for you to do to help you to recharge.
Plan when and how often you will do this.
You may choose to read every day, but go out with friends two or more times a year. Decide how often you will do what activities you decided on. Then, put them on the calendar.
The next step is to follow through.
You will never recharge if you don’t take the time to do it. A date on the calendar won’t recharge you, but taking action and following through will. Remember that what your objective is to nurture yourself and full yourself up so you are not depleted. This is necessary to your well-being, so follow through on your plans.
2. Do something that recharges you.
Yes, I am saying this again. It is an important part of self-care. If you are an introvert and you go out with your friends, you’ll probably have a great time, but may still feel tired and unfulfilled the next day. Make sure that you plan something that will help you to recharge your energy. This may take some trial and error. It may be that what recharges you one day may not be the best choice for another day. Take a bit of time to evaluate yourself and discover what you really need. It will be time well spent.
3. Eat well.
This seems obvious, right? Yep. But, do we do it? No. Not all of the time. (At least I don’t.) Even if we don’t eat well all day every day, we can make the effort to eat well for at least one meal. We can start there and then eat well for two meals. Then three. Don’t forget snacks! Good snacks can help you out, too, to sustain your energy level, which also affects your mood.
Food is fuel for our bodies. Are we trying to fuel them with junk and low-quality foods, or are we going to nurture the bodies God gave us by fueling them with what they need to work their best?