Taking care of yourself may be one of the hardest tasks on each day’s to-do list. Older women used to tell me, “taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of those adorable toddlers.” What in the world does that mean and when would I find the time?
Let’s be honest. We like being engaged with all the people we love, even if it means putting ourselves last. On the other hand, we have to refresh our own soul, too. Practically speaking, what are some shortcuts to taking care of yourself? These tricks are so practical any of us can refresh our own hearts in minutes.
Taking Care of Yourself: 8 Quick Ways
Here are 8 quick ways for taking care of yourself when you get a quick, if rare, moment alone.
#1 Commit to our dreams.
When we take 5 minutes to divide our dreams in bite-size steps we make progress without burning out. Our life has an ebb and a flow; it’s okay to give ourselves years to accomplish the big stuff. Breaking down dreams into small steps while we wait in line for the carpool or at the Post Office is welcome distraction.
#2 Know what you want out of life.
A list of what you want in life takes only an hour of thoughtful prayer each year. I do mine on my birthday. It’s my gift to me. Putting what we want on paper means we can look at it from time to time. Surprisingly, some things reappear each year and end up on our bite-size dream list until they happen almost miraculously.
#3 Give yourself (and others) a break.
It’s okay to grant ourselves some grace. We don’t have to accomplish everything today. If we mess up, it’s also okay to admit it. Forgive quickly since guilt and grudges short-circuit our energy. For instance, this is especially true if you are living with toddlers and need all energy possible to keep up with them. For encouragement when parenting young children, see my posts on how to parent strong-willed children or feeling wishy-washy.
#4 Schedule down time.
We all need quiet, especially leaders with hectic schedules. Focused quiet time alone or in our closest relationships fuels energy for all relationships. We shortchange ourselves and everyone else when we neglect to be still. I schedule a whole weekend, at least two months out, so my schedule is clear and I have no excuses. Just knowing it’s there makes me happy. Make free time a sacred habit.
#5 Use your imagination.
Doing something creative makes your brain spurt out happy hormones, at least that’s what our artist daughter tells me. Of course, our imagination is designed to solve problems, but problems can be wearing unless your ideas offer hope to others. Our imagination generates creative ways to enter into healthy, inspiring relationships. Imagination fuels new and exciting ways to express God’s love. That’s why imagination is so refreshing.
#6 Choose prayer instead of worry.
Worrying is another short-circuiting habit that can be cured with the disciplined practice of prayer. Happily, if we forget to pray, worry will instantly remind us. To pray or to worry is a lifestyle choice. Some folks set recurring prayer alarm reminders on smart phones. Prayer provides an easy 5 minute break in our day to turn our cares over to a God who hears us.
#7 Read a book.
Consider something as light weight as a graphic novel or a beach romance. By reading you stimulate your brain to work in new and creative ways. Books make a great excuse to disconnect, recharge, or learn something new for a few minutes or a few hours. Books are a blessed retreat for our soul.
#8 Sing in the shower.
The shower has the best acoustics for those of us who are musically-challenged. Singing something peppy restores our soul. Music can be a valuable outlet for all our emotions.
Your inner person deserves to be cared for and nurtured, dear one. Stay tuned for next week’s blog because we will look at ways to take care of ourselves as we spend time with others.
May I pray for you?
Dear God of heaven and earth, bless this dear one with a refreshed and encouraged soul. We all get weary sometimes. No matter what challenges us today, may You be the One who comforts and energizes us. May we walk in confidence that You supply the resources we need to accomplish Your purpose for us. Help our hearts honor You. Give us awareness to savor quiet moments alone. And may we rest in the enjoyment of small moments, especially for those who have small children at their side today. In Jesus name. Amen.
Cathy Krafve, Texas Author, Columnist, Speaker, and Radio Personality, specializing in Christian Marriage and Family invites your stories, ideas, and questions at CathyKrafve.com. Truth with a Texas Twang.