Do you ever relax?
Do you schedule activities to nurture your health?
Do you schedule fun; things that make you happy?
Last weekend I had big goals: I would clean out the kids closets, I would take them ice-skating, I would have a play-date, I would attend church, I would do some returns, I would take the kids to Knotts Berry Farm, I would work on the blog and do some New Year journaling. On Sunday at 1:00 I slithered to the kitchen floor and lay there for a few minutes while everyone stepped over me. Then I remembered, oh yeah, from time to time we are supposed to rest!
The holidays really get me going because I’m so enthusiastic about it all. I want to attend all the parties, do all of the activities, watch all of the movies, and use the two weeks off of work and school to catch up on all the projects. This carries over into the new year, as it is a time of rebirth for me. My intentions are great, but my body sometimes fails to keep up with those intentions. This is normal. God designed us with an intentional pattern of rest. Rest should be incorporated into our lives on a regular basis, without the guilt that can creep in for sitting still when there are still things to be done. After pulling myself off of the kitchen floor, and baking those cookies with the kids, I allowed myself to curl up in a ball and close my eyes. Rest is important to self-care.
I’m here to declare: it is crucial to take care of ourselves. No, really. Our selves are just as important as our families, our careers and our to-do lists.
In 2019 I have so many goals; I am an introspective person who loves to have a focus or twenty. Some of my goals have physical results, some goals are business oriented, some are relational; but my biggest focus is in the area of health. This idea of healthy living is over-arching to taking care of myself. If I care about my self, I should treat my body as the beautiful creation it is. I should get it moving. I should fill it with with nutrition. I should make time to massage it, mask it, pedicure it, rest it. I should revive it with a date or a day with my friends. When I am taking care of myself I am in a much better place to take care of my family. In fact, I believe that taking care of myself is actually equivalent to being a good mother. I am demonstrating that it is important to maintain a workout regimen. That it is imperative to work my muscles and my heart. I am inviting the kids into the kitchen to use meal-prep as a time to connect. I am showing them that daddy and I are important; we exist outside of being parents, and that nurturing friendships, interests and passions matter.
This year I used the last five months to develop the habit of a morning routine. This extra hour to myself has been life-giving. I am starting each and every weekday alone, taking care of myself by nurturing my mind and soul. I pray, I listen, I read my bible, I journal and I read a book. I am no longer the exhausted mom rushing out the door. I am awake and thinking about what I’ve read that day, or I am thinking about the dreams I journaled about. Yes, I am still rushing out the door, but that’s because my kids insist on walking backwards instead of heading to the car in a timely manner.
I have also worked really hard this year about being more consistent with my workout routine. I tend to go through seasons of commitment and seasons of lethargy, but this year I was more consistent. Yes, life happens. Kids get sick and our schedules get busy, but I did a better job of going to the gym twice a week. There were less dry seasons. And I began to try a little cardio every now and then. I cannot explain enough how much I hate cardio workouts. I prefer weight lifting or the occasional class; but I know in my heart that I need to get my sweat on. The heart that is beating inside of me needs to be taken care of. In the summer I am really great about going to the gym. Sure, sometimes I sit in the corner and read my book while taking advantage of the childcare, but sometimes I really workout 4-5 times a week. This year I’d like to be more consistent in nurturing myself in this way.
I schedule time with my friends a couple of times a month. I take naps. I initiate family reading time. I take naps. I sit down and watch a good movie. I take naps. I could do better with healthy eating and meal preps, but I take naps.
Ultimately I have given myself permission to matter. I have struggled with the occasional mom-guilt. I have felt bad about those naps, that reading time, the date night, the movie date with my girls. I see that this guilt is something that many people struggle with, mom or not, but I am calling bs on that. We all deserve a little tlc. We all deserve to develop habits of healthy living. We all deserve to believe that we matter. Caring for yourself will look different for each person; as only you know what you need. If you are out of the habit of doing all of these things, start small. Go get a pedicure. Take your dogs on a walk. Try a new meal. Read a book just for fun. You matter; act like it. If you need me, I’ll be taking a nap.