“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul” ~3 John 1:2
I know that you’ve probably heard it said a thousand times that self-care is important. I know I have. So why then do you think it’s something that many women consistently struggle with? I have a couple of theories on the subject.
- Even though we know it’s important, we still don’t take the time to plan for it because it’s one of those “I’ll get to it” items wayyyy down at the bottom of our never-ending to-do lists.
- We don’t FEEL like it. Exhausted from the imperative duties of womanhood, we tend to count the four hours of sleep we had the night before as our self-care time and keep it moving.
If one or both of those theories sound even remotely correct and they apply to you, then let’s figure this thing out together.
We plan for every big deal in our lives in order to make our dreams come to fruition. We plan out which college/university we will attend, our graduations, our wedding, vacations, kids’ birthdays, and anniversaries of special occasions. Please trust me when I say, self-care is a BIG DEAL! …And we need to plan it out.
We can not pour into any cup from an empty container…I’m officially coining that phase right now.
Really think about that though. If you are life-giving water to your family then what can you pour into them when you are on empty? Nothing! Hence, self-care is imperative to refresh, recharge and to give your family the absolute very best of YOU!
Plan for Self-Care
Let’s get started with our planning by writing it out. Build self-care into your schedule. By doing this, you will eventually build it into your routine and may not need to write it out each time. I had a mentor once that told me to write out everything I was going to be doing daily in a scheduler for an entire week.
…Yes, she said EVERYTHING…at first, I gasped…then I pouted…but then I did it.
You know what, it helped me to identify space where I could plug in time for self-care. I’m not saying that you should write out EVERYTHING, but it truly did help me to find time to schedule in self-care and I know it would help you as well. If you simply don’t have the time to sit down and write out your every move each day for a week, then just write self-care into your schedule and then stick to it.
A big part of planning out your self-care is knowing what you are going to be doing. Deciding ahead of time the type of self-care you will take part in will help you to keep your date with yourself. This will help to reduce stress due to not having the faintest clue of what you will be doing at your designated time. Ultimately helping you stick to your goal.
Another consideration is taking a few minutes to evaluate your greatest need for the time you have allotted. For instance, if you have been overwhelmed trying to keep up with toddlers all day, then you might decide that you want to invest in quiet time activities to refresh instead of spending time with friends or extended family members.
Now let’s think about four areas where self-care can benefit us and develop activities around those. They are physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual.
These are activities that may invigorate you or use some sort of physical extortion. This may look like:
Going for a relaxing walk
Spiritual self-care edifies the needs of the soul/spirit (for the purposes of my writing soul or spirit meaning the part of us that desires a relationship with our Creator). This may look like:
Writing out meaningful scripture
Online bible study
Reading a new book
Expand your prayer list
Attending a church service
Listening to worship songs
Listening to a spiritual leaders podcast
Taking care of how you’re feeling. You don’t need to be feeling disgruntled or depressed to care for this need. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to nurture your emotional needs BEFORE you get to the lows. This may look like:
Meditating on scripture
Spending time with a friend
Naming your feeling (this can be fun, drawing a little feelings chart, even if you can’t draw that well)
Enjoying the company of a pet
Intellectual self-care is like professional or personal development. You are intentional about stretching yourself, your skill-set, and/or intellect. It may look like:
Taking a class to learn something new
Reading a book
Webinars on topics of interest
Attending a Conference
Learning a new language
Learn something new on YouTube
Download an app to learn a new skill
These are just a few ideas, the list can be endless. The idea is to choose something suitable for your immediate needs. Also, be aware that what works for someone else may not work for you. I like to try new things, but trying new things may be a stress trigger for someone else and they may need something familiar to suit their self-care needs.
A Quick Word on The Time Factor
In all honesty, I know how tempting it is to say I’ll just schedule an hour or two on Saturday for self-care, but consider this. It is less likely that you will be able to set aside hour blocks of time one day a week than it is to schedule 15 minutes every day of the week…right? It’s been my experience that a little time every day seems to pay greater dividends than the more time, less frequently model.
After all, is said and done, it is my prayer that you will pull out your planner right now and start scheduling your self-care dates. You will be amazed at how good you feel and how much more present and joyful you are.