Since March of 2020, I’ve heard a lot about self-care and stress management. I’ve heard statements thrown around like, “Make sure to take care of yourself first” or “You can’t take care of anyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself.” That little voice inside my head either responds with an immediate, “Oh really? Someone should tell my family that” or “Really? I’ve been taking care of everyone just fine thank you very much.” These spiels really get under my skin and seem like they are just trying to make me feel bad.
Since March of 2021, I have a different perspective. It’s really not about shoving your family in a closet while you drink a glass of wine, go for a run, or paint your nails. It’s really about not forgetting who you are and what you love. I’ve caught myself saying something that either begins or ends with “it’s been a long time since…” After hearing that roll off my tongue more times than I can count, I realized that I really missed those things. I have since started scheduling more of that fun into my calendar and taking the time at night to do something rest-based for myself. It has made a big difference in my mental bandwidth.
Make a list of the things you love, but it’s been a long time since you’ve done them. Don’t even write down the ones that your body just can’t do anymore even if you were the limbo champ all throughout high school. Make this a real list. A doable list. A few things that when you do them you know it will put a smile on your face and be a stress release.
Now, give it a try. If you love journaling, find 5–10 minutes to journal in the morning before you leave your bed, or head to bed 10 minutes early just to write. Take your journal to work and write outside during a break or in the evening on the deck after dinner, wine optional. It doesn’t have to be writing either. If you love golfing, schedule a couple dates this month to hit balls. If you love taking a bath, put it on your calendar or decide to take one every night. If you loved kickboxing, then sign up for a weekly class or find a You-Tuber with free videos online. Buy a jump rope or a skateboard. Whatever it is, it’s worth finding again.
I think all those reminders to take better care of ourselves are supposed to be helpful and serve as a motivator. I hear those well-wishes a little differently now. They make me smile because now, mid-2021, I have taken the time for a DIY facial, to play a board game with the family, or just hole up with a new book. It’s been an amazing gift to myself.
God took a day of rest, and the Bible is filled with examples of Jesus taking time to refresh and renew. There was always someone to heal or people who wanted to hear His teaching. I know that He felt that pressure pushing in on Him everywhere He walked. Our lives are similar. There will always be more work than will fit into 24 hours. But if rest and renewal were vital for our Savior, they are important for us too. You and I both have the time. We do. Start with five minutes and see where it leads. The steps are easy: 1. Know what it is you want to do. 2. Just do it, wine/whine optional.