I used to think of self-care as selfishness. I don’t anymore.
I’m a busy gal. Five kids (sometimes more). Homeschooling. Farm animals. Responsibilities. Who has time to shave their legs, let alone exercise? In truth, I often spend a lot of time overwhelmed at the business of life and not actually getting a lot done. It’s easier to mentally check out then it is to have a quiet time, or go get my shower while the kids are busy with some activity.
Self care isn’t about being selfish, it’s about time management. It’s about pulling away for brief periods of time so that I can be active and engaged at other times. It’s about giving my kids a Mommy who doesn’t just want to spend her day zoned out.
I used to think that I had to get up super early if I wanted time for myself. I would bemoan the fact that no matter how early I got up, at least one of my younger kiddos soon woke up too. I got in the habit of staying up too late at night, or completely disengaging with the kids after Shane got home from work. By then, I was too frazzled to have a decent quiet time and too tired to get in a really good workout.
So, here’s how I HAVE worked self care in throughout my day
- Exercise: I bought a $25 Fitbit Flex from ebay. I don’t have the self discipline to get up at 4 am and run, but I am getting about 5 miles a day worth of walking in just by being intentional about taking extra steps while my kids are playing on the playground, while I’m doing housework, or even while Shane and I watch TV at night. Some days I even have my act together enough to take my kids for hikes at a nearby state park. Other’s I set an alarm for every hour, to remind me to get up and move.
- Quiet times and Writing. I set aside “Holy Hours” each day for this. The kids have their scheduled screen time from 2:30- 4, and I think, dream, read my Bible, plan, read or write. We recently have been extremely busy, and I find myself in town running errands instead of having my “holy hours” Today, I’ve left this window open and come back to it between teaching my kiddos their various school subjects. While Gracie comes up with declarative sentences, Emily highlights her EMT book, and the littles play with Legos, I write.
No, I don’t have it all figured out. And yes, there are still days where I go from thing to thing and only survive.I am trying to move from a place of “busyness” towards “busy, but still investing in the future and caring for myself.”
And most of all, I am trying to intentionally remember the One who said “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest”.