When I was a new mom, people kept telling me to take baths and naps.
I can see why, and they do sound rather nice, but I just didn't want to.
I was younger then.
When I transitioned to living a life that focused mostly on caring for another human being, I craved intellectual stimulation and physical exertion. I felt weird, but baths and naps made me jumpy and irritable!
A walk, a good book, or learning a new skill, were what I most wanted. And I tried to do these when I could. But it wasn't very often.
Nowadays, I still want those things, but a nap and a bath sound pretty good too!
I'm more tired now.
All this to say that, when it comes to self-care, it is important to find what rejuvenates and energies YOU.
It might not look anything like the norm. But that is perfectly OK. You are the only you. And only you know what you really need.
Here are a few ways this has played out in my own life:
The past year or two I have come to appreciate and understand my introvertedness. I am well aware of the fact that I get my energy from being alone and that a lot of time around others will drain me (even if it's enjoyable).
Now I try to make sure I have time for quiet.
And you know what? I actually need a good amount of it. More than I originally thought.
Dealing with a chronic illness has also brought to light the need for rest (baths and naps! Ha.). When I made our new routine/schedule, I wrote REST in marker to make it official.
Rest is in the schedule because I NEED it. Without it I will get sick and no longer function well and become unable to even do the bare minimum. I can't run on fumes.
For a long time the things that were vital to my health were only tucked in around the edges of my life instead of being priorities.
Things like exercise were on an if-I-have-time basis.
This kind of thinking meant those things only happened occasionally instead of regularly, like I needed them.
Intentionally carving out time is necessary to make the important things happen. There's just too much stuff to over run them otherwise!
I've also started to block larger amounts of time for things. This means I do less, but I do it in a more relaxed, un-hurried fashion.
Everything seems to take longer than I think it will, so this method helps me reserve enough time for what is really necessary (like preparing good food!).
Knowing yourself is key to self-care. Actively doing what you truly need will go much farther in creating a healthy life that doing what others believe is best for you.
And it might be worth noting that all self-care actions may not be completely enjoyable! Some things we know we need to do for our health, but they are not desirable or enjoyable at the time.
Self-care is not just about what feels good in the moment (although that is lovely), it's about what adds to our overall wellbeing.
Time in nature, soaking up God's creation, is something that energizes and rejuvenates me!
Build your own unique self-care routine.
Questions to ponder. . .
Here are a few questions to think on as you uncover what self-care might look like for you.
What activities give you energy?
Are you an introvert or extrovert?
How much sleep is necessary to function optimally?
What types of exercise do you enjoy? When can you fit that in to your schedule?
Are there things that drain you which could be eliminated or delegated?
What would your ideal day look like? Are there ways to incorporate some of that into your life?
In what areas do you need more help? How could you make that happen?
Are there any special concerns in your life? A chronic illness or other physical need? What accommodations need to be made in order for you to function well?
Where can you make time for Bible reading and prayer?
Do you have a dream? Even if now is not a good time to pursue it, is there a way for you to use a few minutes each day to work on it just a little?
I hope these questions will give you some food for thought as you explore ways to take care of yourself this week.
Don't forget to check out the other hosts:
Nicole from Gidget Goes Home
Beth from Red and Honey
Erin from The Humbled Homemaker
Krissa from More than Mundane
Mindy from This Crazy Wonderful Life
Leigh Ann from Intentional By Grace
Emily from Live Renewed
And please join us! Leave a link to your post on self-care in the link below.
Next week we will discuss health and spirituality as it relates to self-care.
I'd love to hear your thoughts: What does knowing yourself how to do with self-care?