Well summer has arrived and we are already two weeks into this exciting and wonderful time of year. I have been enjoying the chance to sleep in, relax, and enjoy the sunshine and pool. One thing I have also always appreciated about the summer is it gives me a chance to reflect and look at what I personally need to improve on in my own life before I head back to a busy, fall season. It is so easy as moms and career women to put everything ahead of us in the line called life. I am guilty of this and have come to realize how important it is to make sure that we as women take care of ourselves properly. There is a reason on a plane that they tell us to put our own oxygen mask on first before we assist someone else. If we neglect ourselves, we are essentially useless to others. Putting ourselves as a priority is easier said than done, but it is doable by following some practical steps.
Self-Care Step One: Take a critical and serious inventory of how you are doing physically and emotionally. Recently I booked a doctor‘s appointment and went over many little things that had been concerning me. I had no urgent matters, but it felt good to address things that have been bothering me that I had put on the back burner. Do your best to get adequate sleep, eat well and exercise. I have been really trying to develop better habits as I had been slipping in this area. I have even started running if you can call it that! Maybe more like wogging (walking – jogging) but with my son as my coach, it feels wonderful to accomplish something I thought I never could.
Self-Care Step Two: Reconnect with those you love. I have reconnected with many people over these past two weeks, and it has been refreshing to visit and feel up to speed with what is going on in other people’s corner of the world. Oh how I have missed these dear friends and family. We had all been so caught up in our own busyness that we felt out of touch. Spending time with the special people in life is so invigorating. To laugh, share, and feel genuine acceptance with a group of people we love is so liberating. It leaves us feeling reenergized, like taking in a much needed breath of fresh air.
Self-Care Step Three: For those who work or volunteer outside the home. Please, keep your career in perspective. I have learned the hard way on this one! I am a teacher and believe me I understand how all-consuming work can be at times. I was so obsessed with getting a teaching contract at one point in my life, my life was way off balance, yet sadly I could not see it. The A- ha moment came one day at church when I went forward for prayer about my job. A sincere and direct pastor shared with me that he felt God wanted me to know. He shared that my career had become an idol to me at that point in my life and to be who God wanted me to be, I needed to smash it. Ouch! I had never looked at my career that way before but he was right. I never looked at my career the same after that day. I am very thankful for that blunt, but needed reality check I got that day. Many years ago I read about the analogy of the balls in a book by James Paterson called Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas. It had some powerful words about keeping work in its proper place. Here is what it said… “Imagine life is a game in which you are juggling five balls. The balls are called work, family, health, friends, and integrity. And you're keeping all of them in the air. But one day you finally come to understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls...are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.” This simple analogy has never left me and I have shared it with many others along the way who have felt the stress of busy and demanding careers.
Self-Care Step Four: Do not forget to laugh and do things you enjoy. Make time for reading, watching movies, playing games, going for walks and eating ice cream or whatever it is that you love. These little things along the way can really help to improve your overall mood and feelings of self-worth. Find what encourages you and pursue these activities often. Doing so will help you feel like you are making yourself a priority and that feels absolutely great.
Self-Care Step Five: For the married gals, take time for date nights. No matter how old your kids are, this is so necessary. Getting a babysitter is a great thing! Life gets so busy with all the chores and family schedule that if we are not careful we can become more like roommates with our spouse. Strive to make sure this does not happen in your marriage.
Self-Care Step Six: Last but certainly not least take time to address your spiritual life. Take time for prayer, Bible reading and meditation. We need to realise that God does not want us to feel burnt out, discouraged and spread thin by the many hats that we are currently wearing. He instead wants us to feel energized and ready to bless others from a full and abundant life. By letting God guide and direct our lives our lives take on new purpose and deeper meaning.
So what do you think? Taking some much needed time for ourselves is not only healthy but oh so critical to our success. Being a little selfish every so often can reap great benefits for not only us, but those we love as well. By doing so we are better for everyone so that sounds like a win – win situation to me.
Until next time,
Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Little Lesson Learned: We are so good at making lists of all we need to do to take care of everyone else. Make sure that your name is on the list too.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2015