These words have been seen everywhere and I love it. I feel like in the past that self care has been seen as selfish, and saying the words or talking about doing something for yourself was always seen as negative. I grew up in a large family, I have four brothers and three sisters. Sometimes when you have a large family, it is challenging to have something for yourself. It's not impossible, but the norm is that if you do something, your siblings will want to do it, or come along. There is nothing wrong with that, and I always enjoyed spending time with my siblings. I think for me, it shaped an unrealistic view on the importance of taking care of yourself.
Even with friends, I would always put there needs above my own and make sure that other people were taken care of. I always think it's great to put others needs first, and to love and care for people. I think I was missing a piece of that puzzle though. You can't properly care for others, if you aren't properly caring for yourself.
Believe me, I am the queen of wanting other people to get what they need first, and I will listen to a life story before I even tell people my name. I think it is beautiful to care for others but after awhile it can take a toll on your body, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It's like watering plants. I am obsessed with plants. I am currently in the process of making my home a jungle and I have a small garden in my front yard. When I water my plants I use a watering can. It only holds so much water, I try to water every plant with one can full, and it never works, because I have way too many plants. I will generously start watering the first few, recognize that I am running low on water, and then try and be strategic about how I can split the rest of the water evenly among the rest of the plants that are left. It never works. I have to keep refilling it in order to give the plants the proper amount of water they need. 🌷
I believe we are just like the watering can. We want to be able to give to others, our time, our love, our help, but do we have an awareness of what that looks like and when we try to give or operate on empty?
For years I thought it was selfish to take care of myself, and honestly I still struggle with it not being selfish. But I have learned, and I'm still learning that if we want to give our best to others, we need to give our best to ourselves. SO here are some practical things that I am learning about self care. 💆💆🏻💆🏽💆🏿💆🏼💆🏾
1. It is okay to take care of yourself. It's not selfish to make sure that you are rested and that you have eaten. Take care of yourself.
2. It is okay to have some alone time. I have struggled in the past with feeling bad for needing time for myself. It is actually okay to say no to plans, and to have some quality time to just rest, or take care of things you need to take care of.
3. 👩🏾💻Take a break from the devices. Our culture has made us believe that we have to respond instantly to text, emails, comments, and DM's. We don't. Our work is one thing. If there is an emergency obviously you are going to respond. But, people make us feel horrible for putting our phone on silent, or turning it off for an hour. Being able to disconnect from a device is completely healthy and in 2019 I feel like some people say it's rude. But disconnecting and being present for yourself is so healthy and I 100% recommend. Once a week on my off day, I like to turn my phone off, or leave it in another room for half a day. The amount of things I get done on that day is ridiculous. Another thing you can do is try leaving your phone in another room when you are with friends and family. There is huge difference between spending time with people while everyone is on their phones, and spending time with people who are 100% engaged in that moment. Take pictures the next day, and scroll through a feed when you leave. 📱
4. Make plans for yourself. Get your nails done, go get yourself coffee, go for a walk. I use to think this was so strange and then I tried it one day. I went to a restaurant alone and ordered breakfast and did some reading and writing. It felt awkward the first 5-10 minutes, but it was one of the most refreshing things I've done.
5. Speak life over yourself. What does that mean? There is power not only in our thought life, but in what we say. Just think, when someone encourages us or gives us a compliment it can make our whole day. Think of what your day would look like if you started it by saying something positive. I like to say;
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength"
"I am so grateful for today"
You get the idea. Speak what the Bible says about peace over your life. Look at some scriptures about joy and say them out loud. Or keep it simple and say today is going to be awesome. It sounds a little weird, but I promise you it will impact your day.
6. There is power in your yes...but there is also power in your no. Use wisdom when you use them, but don't be afraid of either.
7. Spend quality time in the Bible and in prayer. This is the most important, but this one can be hard for me, because some days are "full" and I don't do a good job making time for it. But do what you can to make this a priority. Pray during the car ride. Read on your break. Have a hard time getting through the Bible? Buy a devotional and start there.
I know these seem like basic things, but sometimes these things are incredibly difficult for me to do. When I take time to make these part of my routine, it make a huge difference for me. I would encourage you to try it!