As women we have many responsibilities - home, marriage, children, work, school, caring for parents. The weight of all we have to do - even when it is all good things and there are no crises - can overwhelm us.
It's important to take care of yourself, but usually women do for everyone else and put themselves last. There are stages in our lives where the care of others is a priority, but we must learn to carve out time for ourselves, in order to sustain the ability to care for others.
What might that look like?
When my children we all small, I stayed up late. It was a toss up - sleep or time for myself. I chose time for myself. I would watch a movie or read, take a long bath. I always would light candles or at least make sure there was soft lighting. I needed peace and beauty.
I usually didn't do work - though I might fold laundry if I was watching a movie. Mostly this time was for me to recharge. To have time to think my own thoughts, without interruption.
This is especially important for someone who is raising a special needs child, or caring for an elderly parent. We may not be able to get out of the house, but we can make space in our lives and our home for a place of refreshment.
Maybe its a chair by a window with a little table, where you can drink a cup of tea or coffee and read, or listen to a podcast or watch the birds at the bird feeders outside.
We need to think about what fills us up, and encourages us. Perhaps for you it is the chance to be creative, without lots of little hands getting into your 'stuff.' Maybe its the chance to get out for lunch with a friend.
I have a dear friend with many children, who can't get away from home often, so she created a little space in her bedroom, with two comfy chairs and a table between them. She has pretty pictures and things that speak beauty to her and she invites a friend to come one evening a week for tea and conversation. When I went we talked about music, decorating, our kids (who are married to each other). We drank tea, shared our hearts and had a wonderful time. She has found a way to have a fun time with her friends, and to fill her soul.
Maybe its a chance for the kids to sleepover at your parents house for one night and letting you sleep in, and just do whatever you want for the day.
Perhaps a friend of the family, would come for a visit with your elderly parent, and while they have a good time together, you can slip out for a breather. Sometimes we think we need big chunks of time away, and that may be needed in certain situations, but I think that small bits of time add up, too, and may be easier to come by.
I know I don't know all the details of your lives. I don't even know what my needs may be in a year from now, as our lives and circumstances change. But I've learned to take time, even just an hour or two, to refresh and encourage my spirit.
We women are needed, but lets make sure we are caring for ourselves - being in the word, eating well, reading, listening to music - so that we can continue to love and care for those whom the Lord has placed into our lives.
What are some ways that you practice self care?