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Two of the questions I get the most from my readers is, “HOW on earth do you prioritize self-care when you have kids? “How do you invest in your marriage as parents of little ones?”Self-care is important to Moms because, without it, we are pouring from an empty cup. We take care of so many needs each day, that taking a little bit of time to refresh our own souls is vital. I’ve noticed that when I slack in this area I’m grumpier, more exhausted and I tend to feel overwhelmed. I thought I’d take today to answer the first question and give you some practical tips for making self-care a regular part of your life- no matter what season you’re in.
If you think of self-care as a day at the spa, quiet for hours on end or a vacation, you’ll get discouraged and give up on this area of life. Self-care isn’t always fancy or extraordinary, but usually, small things that can be built into my daily routine. I believe that this term needs to be redefined. My personal definition of self-care? “An activity that brings me joy and refreshes my soul.” This definition focuses on more than just external value because, at the end of the day, it’s not my hair that needs to be refreshed (usually!) but my spirit. When we think of self-care in this way, it becomes easier to picture ourselves doing it.
Consider What Brings You Joy
Think about what makes you feel alive, the things that fuel your spirit and let you carry on with joy in your heart. For some of us, it’s going to be a cup of tea and a few pages of a good book. For other more extroverted women, this would look like window shopping or meeting with a friend. One of my goals for this year is to include more of these joy-bringing things in my life, so I’m making a physical list. Sometimes, it’s easier to process this sort of thing on paper. 🙂 Note: Everyone is different and if you fail to embrace YOUR unique tastes, you’ll be missing out!
Once you have your list, start figuring out how you can do more of those things. Here are a few examples of small self-care steps that I do:
- Paint my nails
- Listen to my favorite Pandora station
- Listen to a podcast
- Purchase my favorite candy bar at the store
- Drink a cup of tea
- Take a bubble bath
- Write in my journal
- Light a candle
- Apply an essential oil
- Read a few pages of a book
- Listen to an audiobook
- Go to MOPS (Free childcare and fun with friends!)
- Choose a healthy meal
- Exercise for 10 minutes
- Breathing deeply for a few minutes
- Memorizing a Bible Verse
- Playing worship music
- Grabbing my favorite coffee when I’m running errands
- Playing outside with my kids
Many of these things are done during the day, in extremely limited time. Is it an oasis of peace and harmony? Umm, no. But it is a bit of brightness in the midst of a long day.
Never Stop Learning
Last year, I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to. I chose Netflix and Pinterest over getting lost in a good fiction book. In the last half of the year, I started setting aside just a few minutes each day to read a fiction book and it has done so much for my soul. One of my favorite writers, Sally Clarkson, speaks often about sharpening your mind so that you always have something interesting to bring to the table. In her books, she gives examples of music, art, and literature, but learning new things can come in many different ways.
- A new recipe or method of cooking
- Being a tourist in your town
- Watching a documentary
- Listening to an audio-book or podcast
- Learning a new skill
- Turning on the classical Pandora station
- Reading a classic book out loud to your kids
- Taking an online course (There are SO many nowadays!)
- Learning a new language through an app
Choosing just one or two steps is going to make a huge difference. Self-care brings optimism, a sense of self and it teaches us how to sit in the rest that God so freely gives.
What is your idea of self-care?