These two words conjure up pictures of chocolate ice cream on the couch while watching your favourite movie. Or a manicure, pedicure or facial, and while these things are cool and a great way for unwinding, they are really barely scratching the surface of what self care actually is.
Because as Crystal Paine in her new course 15 Days to a Healthier You says, sometimes these self comfort measures are barely putting a bandaid on a bleeding soul.
We need to be healthy so that we can thrive, and after my health really taking a nose dive this year, I’m thinking that a life where you are constantly tired and drained is like a long dry road in front of you.
So I’m sharing a few real self care tools that have really helped me this year.
- Forgiveness. If there is still pain attached to an event, ask who you need to forgive. Make space and time to talk and cry about it if needed. I’m not so good at the making space to cry about it, but crying actually releases physical toxins.
You might need to get really specific and start listing things that you forgive a person for, maybe even writing it down. Ask God to help you forgive, and remember that it is a CHOICE. You can say out loud, I choose to forgive . . . for such and such. We’ve had to do this over and over again with a particular person this year, and physically hand the situation up to God. You may also need to forgive yourself for any part you played in the situation.
2. Foot soaking is another self care item that I try and do every few days. Simply get a tub of warmish water and tip in 1/2 cup Epsom Salts. This is high in magnesium and can help with brain and heart function, stress, anxiety, constipation, muscle cramps, relaxation and sleeping.
3. Another twist on this foot soaking thing is to put on some quiet (worship) music and to just sit and let the lyrics soak into you. Think of it this way, the longer you soak a dirty pot in hot soapy water, the easier it is to get the gunk off and the longer you plop a chicken in marinade, the more it soaks up that flavour. Be that chicken and soak up God’s truth through music!
4. Rest. With two little children this can be a struggle, but sometimes I have to make us all go lie down together. After reading Time Management Mama by Beth Anne Schwamberger and her chapter on sleep, I realised that I had every symptom of sleep deprivation and I’ve been making a bigger effort recently to go to bed by 10pm. I know that when I don’t I’m going to need to lie down the next day. 20 minutes is apparently the optimal time for this before the sleepy drugs get released in your body.
God instituted a day week for rest, which we so often don’t take advantage of, but He also instituted holidays for His people to ensure they would take time out from their lives regularly to rest and reevaluate.
Sally Clarkson really talks about making mini retreats for yourself in her book, Own Your Life, and it’s changed how I see my home, marriage and motherhood.
5. Prayer is simply talking with God and we can just open up and share honestly with Him, the little things and the big things. One thing I have been doing is to train myself to pray in tongues 15 minutes a day, and it has revolutionised my prayer time. Praying in tongues is just fantastic for when you have no idea what to say, and are just to tired to formulate thoughts in your brain. It prays in God’s will for your life on a higher level than we can realise.
6. Reading the Bible is of course a huge way to allow God to speak into our lives, and I’ve been getting back into the habit of journaling down what I’m going through and what I feel He is saying, and also writing down my night time dreams if they are standing out to me. God says we don’t live by bread alone, but by every Word of God.
7. Sharing communion together as a family has been something we’ve been doing for probably the last two years since I wrote a 31 day series on this topic. This simple act can just reset the atmosphere in our home. It declares Jesus’ Lordship over your life and your home along with all the other benefits I discovered when I studied this topic.
There’s so much to this whole self care thing, and I’m totally loving Crystal Paine’s course for looking at this in a holistic manner. She’s covering things I’ve never even thought of.
I would also love to send you some more resources learned from my years of prayer ministry, on how our spirit, soul and body work together, along with some tools and printables you can use for deep self care.
Linking up at Grace and Truth