It’s been a full, all senses on deck summer and we approached vacation desperate for rest, eager for some down time.
They say stress- positive or negative- is still stress, and our summer was abundantly stress full; traveling, baby showers, birthdays, and investing in personal relationships. Because people are worth it. Always.
And tucked in my office, half listening, half-dreaming, I spent hundreds of summer hours writing a book proposal. The all in process beckoned creativity and deep words to be pulled from places I didn’t knew existed. Exhaustion in its best form.
All the while, daily responsibilities, and parenting little people whirled around, a healthy reminder that life is not compartmentalized, but made up of fluid pieces flowing and bumping and swirling together, like a rare kaleidoscope design. Ever happening, life can not be forced into small squares, ignoring needs, passions or people. It’s a constant balance of being present to whoever, or whatever settles in front, by giving every ounce of attention in that moment, okay to shift steps and be available when the next life facet collides.
Days before leaving for a family trip, over breakfast with a friend, I admitted depletion. I feel so emotionally spent and exhausted. In good and bad ways. My soul needs a vacation.
After 1 1/2 weeks of fresh Oregon air and pine tree horizons, I recognize the irony. Days filled with incredible family moments of freak hail storms, late night card-playing, river-floating, bike-riding, fishing and patio dinners, and I lay here forced to rest with darn strep throat. I’m still not fully rested. Not quite ready for Fall to approach.
I’m actually a bit scared.
Because I don’t feel on my usual game. My let’s do this, I’m all over the “new” room mom opportunities, “new” schedule, and all things surrounding sons at “new” schools pushes me into a corner and leaves me suffocated.
“New”-ness, I’m not running towards you quite yet. Final summer hours of melty dusk, I’m chasing you, to understand what it fully means to practice self care.
I can’t help but wonder if you are in the same corner. Weary of New. A bit depleted. Even as you grab your big girl panties in anticipation of the looming year, exhaustion tugs. You’re tired, and it’s only just begun.
We hear about self-care. What a therapy-ish ring it has to it, yes? Yet, I crave it. I secretly grasp for its true definition but easily confuse self care for selfishness.
This is where I pause to join those of you in the corner. Where I offer an arm and a couch seat, and speak from my heart to yours.
Friend in the corner, hear this: Self care is not selfish. It is essential. And it’s been the pinnacle to paving a summer saying some no’s in order to strive for a focused yes, to laying an abundant fall foundation that cements our family, and this gal’s spirit to thrive, not survive.
Friend in the corner, if you find yourself muttering aloud, or in the tiny recesses of your mind, I’m so exhausted, you can bet your big girl panties you are in need of self care.
Here are 5 self care practices I’m embracing come Fall:
* Believe your value comes in who you are, not in what you do. When your identity is secured in a God of grace and love, everything will overflow from an inner worth.
* Do something every day that makes each of your 5 senses come alive. Rock out to your favorite song while packing lunches or doing errands. Sip your favorite drink before starting the day. Read and leave Scripture reminders in sight, be inspired by your favorite blog, or follow daily quotes. Keep a sentimental scent near your desk or in your home that conjures up positive memories. Wear something that makes you feel beautiful- lip gloss and a chunky necklace do wonders for the soul.
* When you feel overwhelmed, ask yourself: Am I sacrificing my sanity or family to make this happen? Perhaps a temporary no means a future yes.
* Listen to your body. Do you have frequent headaches? Find your mind never stops? Are you breaking out? Stress plays a pivotal role in pointing toward the value of self care. Remember to rest, exercise, eat healthy, and get outside for fresh air. Each of us have 24 hours in a day. How will you add to yours?
* Surround yourself with safe, truth-speaking people. Do they point you back to Jesus? Do they affirm and encourage? Do they make you feel the best version of yourself? Do they speak highly of others? The company we share an’t help but rub off on us. These are the people who reflect you in an accurate light. How easy is it to spot when others are tired or in need of rest? Let your people be that for you. Then listen.
Friends in the corner, join me for a Fall of Self-Care. We don’t have to be busy to have fully abundant days. Be gentle with yourself and remember, you are valued, and deserve being taken care of.