Christmas is fast approaching, and many of us are thrown into the midst of a holiday frenzy. There are so many things to do! There are the Christmas parties and special church programs, opportunities to volunteer and cards to sign and mail. When we find ourselves caught up in an uninterrupted cycle of busy, it can be very harmful to our souls. This time of year (any time of year!) it is especially important to make sure we are practicing good self-care habits.
It became obvious this fall that self-care has been too far down on my priority list, and it has been for a few years. I haven’t done a good job of resting, and it has contributed to a massive downfall in my mood and productivity! It feels like the right thing to do: to be constantly giving of oneself and sacrificing one’s own desires to meet the needs of others.
Eventually, this mindset caught up with me and has negatively affected the very people I was trying to serve. This is precisely the reason why God designed humans for rest, and then demonstrated for us how it was to be done on the seventh day of creation. God made the universe, and it was GOOD. He made the animals and the trees and they were GOOD. He made the Sabbath day, and it was VERY GOOD. When we rest, our work is made even better because we have been refreshed. When we rest, we are obedient to our Maker.
Resting is a very important part of the working, so I am giving the gift of self care in the new year.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:8-11)
Folks tend to wait until New Year’s to talk about resolutions, but I believe resolutions are not just for one time of year. As a matter of fact, I don’t even like to think of them as “resolutions”, because then I feel bad if I don’t stick to them. Looking back at a long list of things to do that never got done can be shame-inducing and therefore counterproductive.
I’ve begun to call them “intentions” instead. As in, these are the things that I intend to do, but no harm, no foul if I forget to pay attention to one of them. I’ll just try again, no matter what time of year! This mindset feels so much more graceful.
In 2018, I intend to take better care of myself, but I’m not waiting a couple of weeks before I get started. Self care is my early Christmas gift to myself this year. I hope that you will consider giving yourself the gift of self care as well! Here are thirty ways I intend to practice self care, now and in the New Year:
- Read the Bible every morning.
- Keep a prayer journal.
- Continue pursuing a simple, more minimal lifestyle.
- Listen to music for fun. Learn the lyrics and sing along!
- Put my phone in a drawer and leave it there for 2 hours every day.
- Invite friends over for brunch.
- Drink lots of water.
- Plan a vacation.
- Make an appointment at an actual hair salon.
- Read a book for 15 minutes every day.
- Be a tourist in my own hometown.
- Be mindful of sugar intake.
- Take photos of beautiful things that catch my eye, daily if possible.
- Exercise a little every day.
- Bake something and share it with my neighbors.
- Watch TV from on the couch with my husband, instead of from the table nearby, where I work.
- Go to bed early.
- Hire a babysitter and go on a solo hike.
- Write inspiring quotes in a notebook.
- Honor creativity by learning a new craft.
- Make a gratitude list.
- Try healthy new recipes on weekends.
- Buy fresh flowers for no reason at all.
- Say “no” often.
- Say “yes” when it counts the most.
- Finally decorate the master bedroom.
- Start seeing a chiropractor.
- Seek out new places to enjoy nature.
- Leave an empty sink before going to bed at night.
- As much as possible, stop doing things that are not life-giving to my family.
How do you take care of yourself when you feel burned out? What are some things you intend to do in the next year that will help you stay refreshed? Let me know some of your ideas in the comments below!