I recently attended a World Missions conference in Houston. It was a great first step into this new phase of our lives as missionaries. I got to meet a lot of incredibly wonderful people; each having so many words of wisdom to share. One of my dear missionary friends left me with advice that I will never forget. She looked me in the eyes and said, “You need to become very good at self-care”.
I tucked those words into my heart, not just because I agreed whole-heartedly. It was mostly because I wasn’t altogether sure of what she meant. I had an idea, but the concept of prioritizing time to myself is pretty foreign to me. I did what every modern wife and mom would do… I took to Pinterest!
I found ideas that included getting my nails done, going to the hair salon, shopping, and vacations. All of these suggestions were good, and I’d be lying if I said that they didn’t sound absolutely awesome. BUT we are on a very strict budget these days. There is very little room to even tuck cash away for a little splurge. I needed some ideas that cost ZERO dollars. So I decided to come up with my own list.
Go for a walk or run
For some of you this may appear to be torture rather than care (this is how I would have felt about a year ago), but it’s important to stay healthy, especially when you are being pulled in what seems like A MILLION different directions. Most days, that YouTube workout is not an option and a gym membership is too expensive. I need simplicity. There is something about just lacing up those shoes and just doing it (Sorry, Nike.) that is so freeing and invigorating!
2. Grab a book
I have a bookcase full of books that I have never read or that I haven’t read in ages. You can even hit up the local public library. Either way, READ. There is something very relaxing about reading. Even if you’ve never been much of a reader, try investing your time in something new. You may find out that you really do enjoy it and look forward to your reading time.
Take a long bath
If you have a tub, kick those bath toys to the curb for a bit and take a soak! You can even light a candle for a little of that spa ambiance. Just close your eyes and try to let your mind relax along with your body. It’s important to give that “mom brain” a break, too!
I like to write, but I rarely get a chance to write just for fun. If you don’t already have a journal, pull out an old spiraled notebook or some computer paper. Your writing doesn’t need to have a theme… just write about whatever is on your mind. It never fails, I always find out something new about myself in my writing.
Once I became a mom, I had a lot of trouble finding alone time with God. My mornings consisted of being woken up by my mini me (SO EARLY) and my evenings were full of catch-up chores and fatigue. I needed something to help guide my devotions because some days, they were pretty short. Some of the best devotionals I have ever used were found on the FREE Bible app from the Apple App Store. There are many to choose from, depending on your stage of life. Take advantage of these!
Throw a ball for the dog or go play a sport with friends
After the kiddos go to bed, go outside to toss the ball for your pups or maybe put your spouse on the night watch and go out and do something active with friends. If you are an introvert (ME!) you may prefer the former, but if you are an extrovert (my husband) you may choose the latter. Either way, you’ll get a chance to clear your mind and get a little exercise in the process.
Pour yourself some coffee or hot tea and go outside
I have this beautiful porch that I have spent time decorating, but I never take the time to enjoy it. Utilize that space! Pour yourself a hot beverage and go outside and just look at the stars! You can even make it a date with your spouse or call a friend for a nice chat. Take the time in the evenings to reflect on your day. I always forget how refreshing something like this can be.
Pick up that craft, skill, or half-finished project
We all have half-finished projects (or maybe that’s just me… le sigh), skill, or craft that we have tossed to the side because the days are just too crazy and short to fit everything in. I know that I enjoy playing piano and sewing, but I never get the opportunity to do these things, but sometimes I think it’s because I don’t choose to make the time to do things that I really enjoy. Take the time! You won’t regret it.
Take a nap
I give you permission. Take one.
Visit a free museum or park by yourself or with friends SANS kids
In our town, we have numerous museums and art galleries that are FREE to the public. Find some of these where you live and go for a visit on your lunch break, if you are a working parent, or go with friends on a Saturday afternoon. Just leave the kids with a grandparent or your spouse.
I am a mom of a toddler, a wife, ministry wife (I promise, it’s a thing), private music instructor, blogger, social media manager, and whatever else I need to be. I wear a lot of hats, and I bet you do too.
There is a reason we don’t normally do these 10 things… it’s because we lack the time! I get it. That’s why it’s called “self-care”. Sometimes, we just have to literally TAKE the time for ourselves because we need it. It’s impossible to pour out on others when you are empty. TAKE time to fill your heart and empty your mind.
Self-care is important.