And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:5a
We begin 2017 with anticipation, gratitude, and something else—exhaustion. As women, we have spent time preparing for, caring for, creating comfort for others; now it is time to think about our own self-care.
I invite you to join me as we look together at ways to make your self-care as much a priority as you make the care of others. Whether you are ministering across the world, in a local congregation, or in your own home; you may be a caregiver or learning to care for your own changing needs; or you may be juggling all of the above with your capable hands—this is an opportunity to do a “new thing.” Regardless of your level of health and wellness in 2016, begin 2017 by examining your lifestyle and asking if you can add more space for rest.
At the end of this post, you will find a link to download instructions to create your own “self-care plan” for body, mind, and spirit wellness. However, just in case you have to rush to the next thing after reading this, thank you for joining us. You will not leave empty-handed. I have included brief, quick self-care tips that give instant benefits. Really! I suggest using these wellness tips to incorporate small changes into your day, which will create a wellness lifestyle, and you never have to make another New Year’s resolution!
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he [Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
It is often challenging for women to find time to eat and sleep. Our work is 24/7. Children need to eat every day (often all day). Congregations need care; crisis calls come during dinner and even when we are trying to sleep. Friends and family have emergencies, and sleep has to be delayed and resting is only a memory. Women continue to be present for others and become sleep-deprived, in spite of the research that emphasizes how necessary sleep is to our well-being. “If you’re sleep deficient, you may have trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change. Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.”
However, you can improve your sleep and make some small changes to provide spaces to rest. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) gives some suggestions for improving sleep:
- Use the hour before bed for quiet time. Turn off the television before going to sleep.
- Make your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark at bedtime.
- Take a hot bath or use relaxation techniques before bedtime.
TIP: Breathe in to the count of three: 1-2-3; Breathe out to the count of six: 1-2-3-4-5-6. This is one of the quickest, cheapest, and immediately beneficial practices you can begin to relieve stress and boost your energy. Deep breathing is an easy way to take care of yourself. Practice often.
TIP: You don’t have to spend a long time sitting in a meditation pose or repeat a mantra to benefit from the sense of calm and serenity that arises from time spent in quiet reflection. Sit in a comfortable position. Bring to mind a scripture, an affirmation (suggestion: “Today I have peace because I trust God for the outcome”), or a positive word someone has said to you. Allow yourself to experience the joy and peace from your thoughts. Continue to reflect on how God is present in your situation. Sit and relax for 5-10 minutes. Go in peace.
My Daily Joys
- Finishing my manicure with ten perfect nails—no smudges
- Getting a cheap plane fare
- Being surprised by a gift of grapefruit from a church member’s tree
- Comfy pajamas, hot chocolate, and a good book
- Watching a vibrant sunset