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?
I truly appreciate this post. I have taught this to a lot of women in ministry. I had to learn the hard way by burning out and breaking down that it is a must to take care of self. I always think of the directions on a airplane in case of ER put your oxygen mask on first and then help someone. You can't help them if you can't breathe. If you run out of oxygen.
I try to take books and go to a park when my kids are at art class for an hour. I read, journal, take a nature walk, take pictures, or sometimes just sit and listen to the birds. This is weekly. Daily I try to carve out time daily to walk and read. This is important to me and refreshes me.
I am like you - I used to stay up at night so I could be alone. I still feel the need to be all by myself sometimes. I don't get a lot of 'alone' time but I do treasure the hours and minutes I get. Home alone are beautiful words to me!ReplyDelete
Since I have no children at home and Louis Dean goes straight to the coffee pot and the news on TV, I find I can get a full hour or more after I wake up if I stay in bed. I read, I pray, I play - Scrabble and Words With Friends. It is a luxury I do not take for granted but it is, indeed, a LUXURY!! I also hide out in our gazebo with my book and a glass of tea - or wine in the evening.
Taking care of ourself is extremely important if we hope to take care of others. I am so proud of my daughter, Amber, because - as a mother to quads - she instinctively knows the importance of having ME time! Today we are meeting for lunch!
I need to start walking again on a regular basis. I use that time for thinking, planning and praying and meditating.....
Self care is vital; I recently adopted a dog from the shelter and walk him 3 times a day, which is self care for me. I get exercise, marvel at how cute he is, and always pray a thank you for allowing me to see the bay every day.ReplyDelete
Alas, I feel as if all I do is self-care. There's a balance. I think you are an expert to moms with young children. I smiled to think you chose bathing and/or watching a movie, reading a book, to sleep. I chose sleep. I think I went to bed at nearly the same time as my kids as often as possible because I was up long before they were in the morning.ReplyDelete
I like to differentiate self-care from selfishness, for I see that too often, and my "natural" self is all too prone to it! I believe it is an act of service to put my family's needs before my own. But, yes . . . surrounding myself with beauty and goodness and rest . . . those are healthy ways to fill my cup and be recharged to do the work that He has called me to do.ReplyDelete
A great post. Self-care is so important for women, especially those who care for others. I always used my children's nap times as time for myself - I napped or read, too. And after they grew out of their naps, we had quiet time for an hour after lunch with everyone playing in their rooms or reading. Lovely times.ReplyDelete
You are so right! Each day I do try to find time for things that I enjoy. Taking care of hubby and housework can tire you out. Even though my children are all grown with children of there own, I still have concerns for them and try to help where I can.ReplyDelete
Have a good day and find for yourself!
Having a rest hour after lunch began in the tropics but we continued it in the states long after our kids were done with naps. They read on their beds or played quietly. Kids too need alone time, but I sure enjoyed the hour of solitude for me.ReplyDelete