Monday, March 31, 2014

A Case for Self Care

It is actually early morning. I've been up since before the sun. (Though honestly, I am not sure we will even see the sun today. It is rather rainy.) My cup of coffee is by my side. And I get to write.

I have been pondering the current buzz phrase in Christianity...self-care. This time last year, every blogger was writing about rest. This year they are all writing about self-care. Rather ironic.

A demographic filled with introverts and over-achievers. Lots of wives/mothers who are also simultaneously running home businesses and writing blogs. On top of living real life. Cooking, cleaning, schooling, exercising.

No wonder we get a little harried!

No wonder rest and self-care are re-accuring themes!

I get it. The past 2 months have been filled to the brim. Filled with good stuff. Filled with hard stuff. Filled with physical junk that might be the effect of all the other stuff. Sometimes I wonder if I am loosing my mind. I'm so not kidding.

And that is when I step back and re-evalutate. What can I do differently? Where do my health and habits need some shoring up? Is this a harried/busy season-temporary and that needs surviving and thriving? Or is this my life rhythm that needs a return to the basics?

Jesus believed in self-care though it may not look like our idea of self-care. When Jesus was buffeted by busyness and the neediness of others, He went away and prayed all night. His connection with His Father was His source of strength and renewal.

Our idea of self care is pedicures and glasses of wine. Sunny vacations and massages.

There is nothing wrong with any of that.

When I recognize that I am feeling on the brink and feeling rather fragile, I do a few things.

-I emphasize prayer and reading of the Bible. The truths and words of the Bible are rejuvenating and life giving. Pouring out my heart in praise and supplication takes the burden off me, and puts it on the Almighty's shoulders.

-I get off the computer. There is nothing wrong with social media. But I often spend mindless hours trolling and wasting time. It is doing nothing for me. At least, nothing especially good. Instead I read a book. I lose myself in fiction or fact or poetry. It feeds my soul and I often learn something, which is self-improvement. Thus self-care.

-I take my vitamins. Krill oil and an everyday supplement. I even up the krill oil dosage because it is high in Omega 3's, which are good for all around mood stuff.  I call my trusty midwife who is a natural health guru and get tips from her on what to do right now. Like drinking yucky teas to re-regulate chemicals and such.

-I get outside and get moving. I run or walk. The exercise is good-it gets the endorphins flowing. Being outside is good. It deals with the cooped up feeling.

-I don't spend money. There is a subtle pull to buy something. Anything. It will surely help. But it doesn't. The burden of guilt from buying outside your budget far outlasts the short lived thrill of the purchase.

-I give myself a pass. I am holding myself to these high standards, to this craziness. I am the one who has to say no. No one else is going to say it for me. Say no to baking cookies. Say no to cleaning the floor. Say no to a meeting. Not every time. Just sometimes.

-I look for beauty-in art, nature, life, music.

-I stop. To drink tea. To write.
-I sleep. Not too much. Like not the bury myself in a stack of comforters and never come out kind of sleeping. But enough to make sure I am getting the 8-9 hours that I need.

-I spend time with the people I love the most-my husband and children. I give myself margin to say no to activities that are the one more thing. I seek quality time in small groups and in conversations (which are my love language).

How do you practice self-care?