Since Aaron was teaching the Bible story at Summer Blast and needed to be at church by 6:30am Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, we decided it best if the girls stayed with their grandparents so they’re sleeping schedule wasn’t terribly interrupted. Because of this, they were gone from Sunday night – Wednesday night. This meant 4 evenings without my babies. For the first time in I don’t know how long, I had some time to myself. Shocked but excited, I enjoyed simple luxuries like going to the bathroom alone (can I get an “amen!” from any mamas out there!? 😝 ) and even painted my nails. Another evening, I did some chores around the house (which is surprisingly hard when you have a toddler undoing your work) and watched a couple episodes of my current show.
After 4 nights, I definitely missed my girls and am so ready to have them home and hear “HEEYYYYY!!!!!” when I walk through the door, but I was reminded of something so valuable during these few days, and that’s how important + rewarding self-care is!
I had an extreme and abnormal situation where my kids were not home for multiple days in a row, so I can understand why you’re reading this and waving your arms around while confidently stating “there’s no way I can take time for self-care!” so let me help you out because I promise you it is not as tedious as you think.
Start by asking the Lord, “How do I most need to care for myself right now?” Every season will require us to embrace a different form of self-care. For some of us, it’s caring for our bodies (taking a bath instead of a shower, exercising, cooking a healthy meal, going to bed earlier, etc.) For others, it might be a date with a friend to a coffee shop or sitting on your deck with Jesus and a journal, reading a book or watching a movie. It can be a whole day or just an hour.
The heart behind self-care is that you are being refreshed and recharged.
It can be surprisingly difficult to slow down or get the kids in order enough to have some time to ourselves. It’s also very easy to feel like it’s wrong – we feel guilty, anxious, afraid that others will view us as selfish or that we’ll miss out on something if we say “no, I’m staying in tonight just myself.” It takes courage to pause & we have to trust God’s leading over other’s expectations.
So how do we start?
Know that Jesus Did It
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” –Luke 5:16
Jesus had times of self-care, and we need them too. Yes, He was often surrounded by people in need, and freely gave all He had to help them. His 12 friends followed Him closely, and as much as He loved being with them, He also “often withdrew” from people to be alone and pray. Jesus knew that in order to say “yes” to what the Father was calling Him to, He had to say “no” or “wait” to what was happening in the moment. Does that mean He was selfish or didn’t care? Of course not! It meant that He knew what He needed in order to be refreshed – to connect with His Father and prepare for the journey ahead.
Set Some Healthy Boundaries
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’ So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” – Mark 6:31-32
Jesus encourages the break. He knows that you can only handle the busyness and constant interaction with others for so long before we become weary.
Don’t Feel Guilty
“Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in.” – 1 Peter 3:4
Cultivating a quiet and gentle spirit comes from taking care of yourself physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
The enemy wants us to feel guilty because if that’s the excuse we give we’ll never be at the top of our game.
Know that the Best Refresher is God
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7-8
Ultimately, keeping ourselves planted in God is what will keep us from collapsing in exhaustion.
So let’s say you’ve marked your calendar “me time!” and you’ve already declined a couple other offers so you’re definitely committed, but what are you going to do? Do you even know what makes you feel rested?
This is something I discovering as well, and the best advice I have for anyone who is trying to decide what makes them feel rested is experiment! Here are a couple ideas though you might want to try out (thank you Pinterest 😉 ):
After my self-care night, I felt so good! For the first time in a long time, I felt recharged.
God placed a little love note on my heart during my self-care evening and it simply said, “do this more!”
So what’s keeping you from investing in yourself? Do some self-discovery and then look at your calendar and pick an hour, an evening, a whole day – whatever your season of life allows you – and make it a date. You wouldn’t cancel on your best friend, would you!? Don’t cancel on yourself. Stick to your “you date!” You won’t ever regret investing in yourself and recharging. I promise, you’ll thank yourself!
“We’re the best of friends, and I pray for good fortune in everything you do, and for your good health – that your everyday affairs prosper, as well as your soul!” – 3 John 1:2