If you are a woman, you’ve heard the new word that’s floating around town: self-care. Do you feel guilty as soon as you hear that word? Do the reasons you don’t indulge in this new hype, pile up in your head?
“I don’t deserve it.”
“Women are supposed to work sun-up to sun-down.”
“I haven’t got time.”
“My kids come ahead of me, and I feel guilty taking time away from them to pamper myself.”
Most women and mothers have been there, hearing the thousand reason’s why we put self-care on the back burner until we are retired one day.
I was one of those mothers.
My husband Vance and I had five kids in a flash! Just seven short years between them all. Most of my nights were spent on my feet taking care of my son Kyle who had autism. There was no time for sleep, let alone self-care.
Friends and family had suggested we hire night staff for Kyle so I could get some rest. The thought of someone else taking care of my child was like saying the President should go on vacation for six months a year. It sounded absurd to me.
Mom’s don’t get breaks right? We are superheroes, masters of everything, and capable of anything…we don’t need help or downtime.
The lies we all believe.
According to Wikipedia ” self-care maintenance includes all health decisions people (as individuals or consumers) make for themselves and their families to ensure they are physically and mentally fit.”
It is usually referring to someone who has an illness. But the incredible thing about self-care is if you apply it before you have a mental or physical illness, you may help reduce your chances of getting ill in the first place.
When I first heard about self-care, I thought it was just a bunch of hype to get women to spend more money on themselves. As I read more about it, I realized it’s about aiding a woman in becoming healthy, both mentally, and physically. This newfound phenomenon was not a myth.
Self-care is giving ourselves permission to give our bodies and minds a little tender-loving-care.
I neglected self-care for many years. There was no time to take care of myself, or should I say: I didn’t give myself permission to have a life outside of being a mother and wife. But then my beliefs began to change…
Nine years ago my friend Stephanie invited me to try out a sport called CrossFit. I put her off for a while thinking I really shouldn’t indulge in so much time away from home. But she persisted and eventually, I agreed to at least go check it out.
So, on a cold winter’s day in November 2009 at 6 am in the morning Stephanie and I walked into the gym…and I fell in love.
I learned to do gymnastics, weightlifting, rowing, running, wall balls, kettlebells, skipping, and so much more. But more importantly, what I gained from CrossFit was I made new friends and learned to love taking care of myself.
When Vance and I went in for a doctor’s appointment, he told us we needed to go on vacation each year, that it was time for us to take a rest. We were completely burnt out from autism and our physician was concerned we were going to fizzle out and become ill.
We had a crazy life at the time that none of our family or friends had ever lived. Our son Kyle was extremely difficult to take care of, but we loved him to pieces. Our days and night were filled stress and anxiety as he destroyed our home with violence and stayed awake most nights.
We decided to go with the doctors’ orders, and we booked our very first cruise. It took a lot of convincing to try to get Vance to go on a boat since he thought a resort sounded like a better idea. I couldn’t wait for the big day to arrive!
Finally, it was time to go and all I could do was cry. I was leaving my kids in someone’s care for seven days. Oh, the guilt I felt, how terrible of me, I’m so selfish.
Later that day we were boarding our Carnival cruise. The boat was incredible, and we had the time of our life. After four days we started to relax. I felt something I hadn’t experienced in fifteen years…breathing, relaxing, and not worrying. It was like a miraculous transformation in just one short week.
We had a wonderful, romantic holiday and on our last day were ready to go home and face work and autism again. It’s been fourteen years since then, and we have gone on vacation every year, at least twice a year since then.
When we started taking care of ourselves, this lead to taking better care of our children.
Let me explain:
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you’ve seen the emergency drill. You are instructed to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then on your friend or loved one. Why? If you don’t save your own life and end up dying, you are of no help to anyone else around you.
Self-care is taking care of your own mind, body, and soul first so you can best help your children, family and loved ones.
It’s one of the most selfless things you can do for those you love.
Are you having difficulty taking care of yourself like I was? Have you been neglecting your own self-care? Is it time to rethink the super-woman syndrome and start admitting you need help and can’t do it all?
What can you do to become a woman or mother who is at her very best?
- Bible reading: Take time to read your bible each day even if it’s just a verse or two.
- Prayer: Is your way of unloading all your burdens each day and also for appreciating God and worshiping him
- Church: A place to be uplifted, taught and encouraged. Plus most churches have a nursery so mom can have one an hour a week of free babysitting while she is ministered to.
- Christian Women’s Conferences: Usually these conferences are held on weekends and include food and lodging. You will come away feeling empowered to be a better mother, wife and child of God. My favourite is the Winsome Women Retreat on Mackinaw Island, Michigan.
- Coffee or Tea: Sometimes a woman just needs to sit down with a warm drink and have fifteen minutes of quiet to regroup and collect her thoughts.
- Friendship: Having a woman who is a close friend you can confide in and share your joys and sorrows with will go a long way in keeping you mentally healthy.
- Yoga: One hour of learning to breathe and relax is absolutely beautiful for the mind. If you do your research, you may be able to find one that is more about the movements and breathing and not so much about meditation.
- Creativity: Join an art class, photography, sewing, woodworking etc. My city has Paint Nite, and for $40 a woman can have two hours out and come home with a beautiful painting she created herself. Being creative calms the mind and body, and is one of the best therapies for relaxing.
- Date Night: A night out with your husband and away from the hustle and bustle of work and home, can clear your mind and renew your romance, making for a happy marriage, and a joyful wife.
- Vacation: Even if it’s only a twenty-four hour holiday. You will not regret taking this time to regroup, read a good book, go for walks, and have some great food.
- Healthy eating: The #1 absolutely best thing we can do for our bodies is to eat healthily. This is something I have been working on for the past five years, and slowly I am improving. My favourite site for teaching healthy eating and recipes is eatreal4life. Click HERE.
- Exercise: I cannot express enough how important exercise is to the body and mind. You need to take time for this no matter how busy you are, even if it’s a twenty-minute walk each day. If you can find a sport you love, you are more likely to stick to it in the long term.
- Water: I am guilty of not drinking enough water. For some of us, we really need to be intentional in this area. When I switched to decaf coffee I became more aware of thirst and began to drink more water. Dehydration can make you sleepy and lethargic throughout the day.
- Sleep: If you’re getting up with kids every night it may be time to have an honest talk with hubby and ask for his help. He may need to join in on the night duties. Remember just because you’re a stay-at-home-mom doesn’t mean you’re not working as hard as your husband. Ask for his help. A tired mom can make for a grumpy family.
- Bubble Bath: A twenty-minute warm bath can go a long way in calming the mind and body, and may even help you sleep better if you have one before bed.
How about you? Are you taking good care of yourself and becoming the women God intended you to be: one filled with energy, joy, health, creativity, and happiness. If you have been feeling guilty about taking care of yourself, it’s time to kick the guilt to the curb and find the time to allow yourself to become a better, mother, wife, and child of God.
Self-care may miraculously transform you…plus you’re worth it💗
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. -Romans 12: 1-2
Believing and hoping,