Self-Care is an important step along the road of loving yourself. It means being intentional about caring for yourself. It is a vital part in preparation of being able to serve to others. In my last article, 5 Steps to Summer Self-Care for Moms, I wrote about 5 simple steps that you can take to contribute to your own self-care. Step 3 simply stated, “Take Care of Yourself.” Have you ever heard someone tell you to take care of yourself and wondered…What does that even mean? Well, taking care of yourself can look very different for each person. So let’s continue to unpack the importance of self-care and exactly how to start a routine that works for you.
After juggling an unprecedented ending of a remote learning school year, self-care has become my summer goal. It is a daily practice of engaging in an aspect of caring for myself that has replenished what was depleted. Did you experience some moments of emotional overwhelm, burnout, depression, stress, anxiety, or grief during stay at home orders and quarantining? If you felt any of these things come and go with the ups and downs of worldwide events, you are not alone! Coming out of that season of emotional turmoil makes it even more important to take notice of what you need to take care of yourself.
The reality is that a mom’s life is always adjusting. We adjust to the needs of our bodies when we are pregnant, to the needs of newborn babies, the nap times and tantrums of a toddler, the schedules of our busy children when they are in sports and activities, the needs of our household when anyone gets sick…I can go on and on. The truth is that life changes constantly. However, this year has been filled with more change than we could have ever prepared for. And if you are anything like me, this summer has been a welcomed time to decompress without juggling remote learning responsibilities and schedules.
Although I understand that there is a huge debate going on in school districts across America about what the start of the school year is going to look like, I am choosing to stay in the summer moments through July. It is still summer and although I have had some necessary conversations about what is needed for my household, join me in staying here in this moment for a while.
As things continue to change daily, we continue to run our households. As parents, we have the responsibility of helping our children prepare for the changes too. How well can I prepare my children for their needs if I have not cared for my own?
This is the time to take your own needs seriously. Self-care helps contribute to our own health, which should be a priority. It is an investment in one’s self. Our bodies were designed with purpose. As moms we are designed to serve. We serve the needs of our families, we are flexible in meeting those needs, and many times it is at the expense of what we need for ourselves. It becomes easy to neglect the needs that our body, mind, emotions, and spirit crave.
I am still learning abut self-care. You learn a lot about something when you decide to practice it. An overall self-care routine should address the needs of your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
I have broken these areas into 4 separate categories of self-care to explain. You can decide what area you need to focus on.
I have chosen 4 separate categories of self-care to explain. You can decide what area you need to focus on.
Physical - Take care of your body. Exercise and movement are important aspects of maintaining our physical health. Find a physical activity that you enjoy, one that leaves you feeling replenished, refueled, and re-energized. There are many ways to incorporate exercise into our daily lives. Thankfully we are each uniquely designed to enjoy different activities to get the exercise that we need.
Mental - The mind is where we carry many thoughts…spoken and unspoken. It is where we keep track of all that we have to do and try to shove the feelings aside to show up for everyone else. Are you thoughts getting cloudy? Unfocused? Distracted? Engage in a practice that will allow the space for you to create balance between your thoughts and emotions (your thoughts are likely to have an underlying correlation to your emotions). Many times, we react emotionally to situations and fail to recognize the underlying thoughts that have led to the feelings.
Emotional - The mind is the place where are feeling dwell but sometimes are feelings take over. That is when we laugh, cry, become angry, yell, fight, run away, avoid, or shut down. When we are experiencing these heightened emotional states of distress, many times we fail to recognize the underlying reasons for the emotional response or reaction.
How are you feeling these days? Name it, address it, and unpack the reality behind it. If it is fear, what are you afraid of? What are your thoughts behind that? If it is anxiety, how do you know that’s what it is? What are your reasons for feeling this way? Journaling is a great practice to explore this on your own. If not, consider speaking with a professional.
Spiritual - Reflect on your faith journey. Engage in your practice of faith. Spend more time in prayer, meditation, singing, or journaling. Download a podcast from a pastor who teaches biblical truth that will speak to where you are struggling right now. Download the Bible App and complete a devotional. Unpack where you stand in your faith, where you need to be, and where your identity is being reflected these days.
Taking care of yourself means that you have identified some needs and you know how to meet those needs. If you aren’t sure of how to take care of yourself, then you need to get to know yourself a little bit more.
3 Steps to Help You Start Your Self-Care Routine
1. Choose one area to focus on - You know where you are physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. You know what you are doing well and where you need to grow. Choose one area (listed above) that you can focus on and stay committed to. It is important to focus on one area so that you are not overwhelmed. Other areas can be introduced to your self-care routine once you have established what works for you in your first area of focus. For me, I have chosen to focus on my physical needs this summer. This has mostly consisted of morning runs, walks, and live-streamed workouts.
2. Schedule a time to engage in your chosen area of self-care - Write it in your calendar, set an alarm, let others know that you have a commitment at that time. For me, I have had to set an alarm in the morning, even though the summer is my time off from work. It works for me because my house is quiet enough for an indoor workout and it is not that hot outside yet if I have chosen an outdoor workout.
3. Make changes when necessary - Remember that self-care is an intentional act of replenishment. You should enjoy what you choose to do. You should feel fulfilled because of it, not empty. If you tried something and did not like it, move on to something else.
Your body is a temple. Beautifully and uniquely designed to embody who you are. It is the physical dwelling place of who you are. Your body will carry you through your entire life journey. By being good to your body, you are being good to yourself, loving yourself, and respecting yourself. You are also loving and respecting your creator. This in turn will give you what you need in order to be able to serve others. You will feel better while serving those in your household and those outside of your walls when you are pouring out of a replenished reservoir of peace.
What is one area of self care that you will engage in for the next few weeks?
Leave a comment below and let me know!