Today we’re tackling another habit of productivity:
I want to take time to dig a little deeper on this topic, however; I feel like it deserves it’s own post.
Self-care… it’s more than “me time.”
And, no, it’s not selfish.
In fact, self-care is vital to our emotional, physical, and spiritual health as Christian women…
Welcome to the seventh “chapter” of my 31 Days to a More Productive blog series.
If you’d like to catch up on the previous “chapters” of More Productive You, you can
- read everything I’ve written so far right here.
- check out quotes to share on social media right here.
In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. (source)
In essence, self-care is being proactive about nurturing one’s own emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health.
As Christian women, wives, and moms, I feel like this habit of self-care is absolutely important.
Because life is a marathon.
If we are going to live well in the long haul, then we have to learn how to re-center, re-focus, and refresh ourselves along the way.
Chances are, if you don’t take care of yourself, then no one else is going to do it for you.
Not because no one else loves you or wants to take care of you.
But because self-sustaining is YOUR responsibility, and MINE.
And, yes, our loving Heavenly Father has given us tools to do this.
Let’s look at three specific habits of self-care.
The Habit of Taking Personal Responsibility
A really huge part of self-care is simply choosing to be a mature adult. 🙂
What do I mean by that?
Well, I know that my kids rely upon me to take care of them.
When they’re hungry, they call for Mom.
When they’re scared, they come find me or their Daddy.
When they’re mad or sad or upset, they seek solace from the two people God placed in their lives to take care of them- their parents.
It’s true that we adults need community and emotional support from important people in our lives too.
But there comes a point in every mature adult’s life when we step up to the plate and realize that it’s not any one else’s job to
- make me happy.
- make me healthy.
- help me feel better about myself.
- simplify my schedule.
- clean my house.
- get along with my spouse.
- take care of my kids.
- resolve relationship issues in my life.
- solve my problems.
Any time I have a problem in life- whether it’s stress, a strained relationship, a health issue or spiritual battle- I have to own my responsibility in solving the problem.
Many times, changing my perspective or habits it a big part of the solution.
And many times, taking responsibility for self-care is a big part of the solution.
Here’s an example:
When I’m worn out, depressed, and frustrated at my kids all the time, who is responsible to solve my problems?
I can blame my kids, my spouse, my parents, or the neighbors. I’ll just end up more worn out, depressed, and frustrated… and probably bitter too!
Or, I can take personal responsibility.
I can decide to own my role as a mother and make sure I’m not trying to do it all, not trying to please everyone, and that I’m getting enough rest, exercise, and that I’m enriching my mind, soul, and body with healthy things.
Do you see how much these two habits produce such different results?
One habit (blaming) continues the downward spiral of negativity, and crushes any chances of living a productive, meaningful life in the long haul.
The other habit (personal responsibility) pushes forward in an upward path, and leads me toward a productive, meaningful way of living and loving.
Habits always begin with choices.
Will you choose to blame, or to take personal responsibility?
Self-care says, My life is my own responsibility. I’m as happy/content/rested/organized, etc, as I choose to be!
The Habit of “the Cup-is-Refillable” Mindset
One of my favorite quotes states,
People who wonder whether the glass is half empty or half full are missing the point. The glass is refillable.”
I like this perspective so much better than the “always see the glass half full” positive thinking mantra.
Why do I like this approach better?
Well, here’s the truth about my life:
There are things, people, and circumstances that drain my cup.
I can start out with a full cup, and end up with a half-empty cup!
All the positive thinking in the world doesn’t change that fact that
- some days are hard.
- some people are difficult.
- some seasons are demanding.
But I can always, always, always choose to refill my cup.
When I’ve cultivated the habit of taking personal responsibility, I’m already in the state of mind to get proactive about filling my cup to overflowing again.
I’m not waiting for someone else to fill me up and make me feel better.
I’m not wasting time blaming something or someone in my life for draining me.
I’m reaching for the refreshing springs of joy, peace, and encouragement that I’ve enriched my soul with so I won’t keep running on empty.
(As a pastor’s wife and mom, this is the very habit that keeps me going, busy year after busy year.)
I shared some of the “springs” that refresh my mind and heart in my post about the habit of rest.
The important thing is that we
- choose to own our responsibility in self-care,
- believe that, no matter how drained we feel, the cup is always refillable.
The Habit of Seeing Beauty in the Small Things
My five kids have such an eye for noticing the small things in their day.
I love how my fourteen-year old daughter captures beautiful pictures on her smart phone. When she’s running at the park, or when we’re driving down the highway on a road trip, she notices the beautiful details of the world around her. Her photography reveals her eye for the little details that others can easily overlook.
Our seven-year old son is another child who is always fascinated by the little things. Colton is always bringing some small thing indoors from one of his “nature walks.” To him, every leaf, rock, stick and sunset is worth collecting or remembering.
The payoff of this habit- seeing beauty in the small things– is a never-ending fascination, joy, and interest in life.
We call it “child-like wonder” because children are more apt to see life through the lens of awe.
But why should we outgrow this habit of wonder?
I never want to lose my vision, interest, and passion for the life God has given me.
As long as I am breathing, I want to live breathless in awe at the creativity, love, and kindness of my Heavenly Father.
I can’t live like that if I constantly overlook the millions of little gifts He drops in my day, every day of my life.
To me, the habit of seeing beauty in the small things is made up of a million simple choices that I can make every single day:
- being present in the moment with my kids
- reading a book and relishing the closeness of my growing preschooler
- lingering in the morning for a few minutes of cuddle time with my kids before another busy day begins
- lighting a candle at the table, even when the meal is simple
- wearing my favorite perfume, even if I’m not going anywhere special
- taking time to notice nature, and think about the creative God who made it all
- enjoying the sound of rain on my windows
- thanking God for warm socks and hot tea on cold days
- soaking up sunshine on hot days, instead of complaining about the heat
- turning off my smart phone for a few hours just so I can focus on the people who share life with me
- taking time to listen to music, dream about the future, and ask God what His plans are for me
- writing a note to a friend on a pretty card or sheet of stationery
- watching a movie with my husband and kids, and not worrying if anyone drops popcorn on the floor
- spending an evening playing a game, or coloring zen tangles, with my girls
- giggling, or crying it out- whichever feels better at the moment
I’m a dreamer at heart.
Since life has a way of dimming the glimmer of dreams as we age, I’ve had to cultivate this presence of wonder in my heart.
Just today, I had to remind myself of this habit- seeing the beauty in the small things.
By the time our family sat down for a simple supper of taco salad tonight, I felt like every ounce of energy and creativity had been drained out of my body, mind, and soul.
I lit a candle, made myself a cup of London Fog tea after supper, and then put on my most comfortable jammies and spent some time reading, writing, and listening to music before bed.
That kind of rest re-centers me.
Those kinds of small things-when I add them up over the course of days and weeks and years– keep me going in this marathon called life.
When I wake up in the morning, I’ll have a house full of people who need me to do a million more things.
There may be needs I can’t anticipate right now.
Although it’s impossible to control life, and I can’t plan for everything, I can always choose to fill the cup back up.
And again tomorrow.
And all the days that follow.
What do you do to fill your cup?
Are you taking time to enrich your life with all the small but beautiful gifts God has given?
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Here’s to living and loving well-
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