GOAL: To be healthy in all areas of our lives, while intentionally living in the most peaceful and productive way we can. By Bobbi Reed
Self-care affects a lot of areas in our lives. We all need to do self-care and take necessary pauses in our day. If we do not it will affect our stress levels, anxiety, patience, or lack of. It will also affect how we deal with our children and other relationships in our lives. We all have baggage from our past, let alone we are so busy that we do not take time to recharge. We are so busy trying to survive and accomplish all the tasks on our list, that at the end of the day we are exhausted. Many times, we run out of energy and patience halfway through the day and are operating on empty the rest of the day. Throw on top of that our baggage from our past.
Baggage is anything we are carrying around from our past and is affecting us today. The best way to deal with baggage is to address our past hurts and heartbreaks through quality counseling. It takes time and it is hard, but so worth it after you have done the work. Depending on what the trauma was in our life, our counseling can be long and arduous. You get out of counseling what you put in. Make sure you have chosen the right counselor for you. While I know that most counseling is not free, there are opportunities available to get counseling based on your income. Many insurance companies will pay for a certain amount of sessions, so look into that also. Look around at your communities resources, including a school that has Psychology students. They will counsel as part of their needed hours under the supervision of a Professor. Any time you are going to counseling, pray and ask God to lead you to the right person for you. Make sure that they are giving you action items after each visit and are holding you accountable to them. It is so important to do the hard work to successfully get through our traumas.
Another type of self-care is recharge breaks or pauses. These are the times during the day that we take to just sit, breathe, pray, read the Word, and reflect. These can be minimal, but they must happen. The world we live in is so fast-paced and busy all the time. We get wrapped up in what we have to accomplish and live our lives mostly in survival mode. This stress puts a lot of pressure on us and our children. They watch us in “go-go-go mode” all day long. They grow up with anxiety and stress being a part of their everyday lives. This is not healthy for them or us.
Take time during your day to sit for a few minutes and do some deep breathing. This refocuses us and calms our bodies. Also, during our recharge times, we can read the Word. See what God says about what we are currently going through in our lives. Another great pause/break is to take a quick walk; get some fresh air. It is both beneficial physically and mentally. Nothing beats some fresh air even if that air is cold air. It allows our mind to clear and slow down our fast pace. We can really appreciate nature and feel peace while getting some exercise.
Another great thing to do during our pause/break time is to journal. I cannot talk enough about the benefits of writing in a journal. In years past, when I was going through very traumatic times, (the breakup of an 11 year relationship), journaling was essential. I was able to write down the heartbreak I was going through. Not to stay focused on it, but more of a form of release. In doing so, I could grasp each thing more easily. Wonderfully enough, during this journaling, many times God spoke to me. He conveyed to me through my tears and writing that He was there for me. He reminded me of scriptures that I had learned and hidden in my heart. He helped me to see that there was a future for me past this heartbreak! While I was going through some of my biggest challenges in my life, it was some of my closest times with Him. It gave me hope that I wouldn’t hurt for the rest of my life and that “my latter would be greater than the rest”!
Yoga is also something that will be very beneficial during a pause/break time in your day. Even if it is just for 5-10 minutes. In preparing for yoga, you do some deep breathing and really focus your in and out breaths. In just centering your thoughts on your breathing it will help your body to relax. If you only have time for a few poses, start with the breathing first. It will make a big difference. On phones and on Apple Watches nowadays, they have a breath application. During different times of the day, it reminds me to take a minute and do some deep breaths. It calms me and helps me to focus on something else. This has been so beneficial to my body and mind. Look and see if there is an application available like this for your phone, watch or even your iPad and download it.
Obviously when we usually think of self-care we are thinking of things like a bubble bath, treating yourself to a dessert, refreshing drink or even taking some alone time to watch a TV show. There are many things that can give you a few minutes alone. I learned many years ago that there is a little girl inside all of us. We must take good care of her. If we do not, we will end up with things like anxiety, depression and serious health issues. We all know that stress without relief causes health issues. When I was in counseling and doing the hard work to get rid of my traumas/baggage from the past, my counselor taught me the importance of taking care of the little girl inside of me. She taught me that it is very important to be kind to her.
Many times in our lives, people are very unkind to us. We must take good care of this little girl inside of us, especially when we are adults. I used to “stuff” all the bad traumas happening to me and wear a smile on the outside. I acted like I wasn’t going through anything traumatic or hard. This was like sweeping dirt under an area rug and ignoring it. Sooner or later, as that dirt pile grew, it would wear a hole in my rug and dirt would be everywhere. It would cause a huge mess! I started to learn that I had to handle all things that were happening to me, sometimes taking them a bit at a time. I could not ignore anything because in the end it would do more damage to me. It is hard to handle the trauma in our lives. There is a chapter in this curriculum on trauma recovery that will be very helpful to you.
Taking care of issues as they come up or segmenting/dealing with trauma is necessary. After I would work on them through counseling and prayer, I would then at some point be able to file them “away in my big chest of little drawers”. Once that happened I was free to tackle something else. This is what I call “doing the work”. It is hard and time consuming, but if done properly, we don’t have to revisit this issue and we can finally put that baggage away.
Another thing that will help us deal with baggage is helping others. I found in my past when I was hurting badly or worrying about issues, helping some else would take my mind off it. When you are volunteering or spending time helping someone else through their challenges, it seems to lessen the severity of yours. Many times, the person that we are helping are worse off than we are. You do not have to look far to find someone worse off than you. When you finish helping that person, at the end of the day you may realize that your problems aren’t as big or bad. It gives you a new perspective while being the “hands and feet of Jesus”. It also can help you to be grateful for what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have.
If you attend church, there are always needs for volunteers. Give a little bit of yourself and your time away to help others, and you would be surprised how much it will help you and your children. This is also a great thing to be showing and teaching them. We should always be looking for opportunities to teach our children how to give and care for others.
While doing all or any of these things to pause/break, we get empowered in our lives. If you are taking a little time to invest in yourselves, life will not be as stressful. They help you to recharge while also helping you to refocus. We need to stay focused on what is truly most important to us. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the busyness of this world and our schedules. Taking care of ourselves and our children properly helps the rest of our lives go much more smoothly. It is so important to take these pauses/breaks so that we have the physical and mental energy to do what we have to do. When we are able to do what we need to do (what we have decided are our priorities), then we should have a little time left for things we want to do. We will be more focused instead of being scattered in our lives. We will be teaching our children by our actions that they are very important and also how to handle the stresses in their lives. We all know as they go into their teenage years, there are many stresses and peer pressures. They will be able to walk through these in a healthy mental and emotional way if we teach them how. Remember, “actions always speak louder than words’. You can tell your children all the things you want them to do and learn, but they are watching whether your actions match your words.
Taking daily pauses/breaks are essential to having peace in your life. Take the time to breathe, rest, read your Word, help someone else, take a bubble bath, journal, etc. There may seem as if there are not enough hours in a day; there sometimes aren’t for all we need and want to accomplish. Prioritize what is most important to you and your children, put healthy boundaries in place and never forget your pauses/breaks. Your life and your children’s lives will be so much better for it. Love and accept yourself first, and you will teach your children self-esteem and self-care. This will be paramount to them living healthy emotional and mental lives. It will continue through the years and bring many benefits.
- What baggage am I carrying around still? How can I be free of this baggage?
- What is stressing me the most in my life? How can I manage these things more efficiently?
- Where is my focus in my life? Where do I spend the most of my time?
- Does the time spent in my day line up with what I want my focus to be?
- When I die, what do I want my family and friends to remember about me?
- What is the mark I want to leave on this world? How can I focus on those things?
- How can I find the time in my day to rest for a few minutes, taking a pause to deep breathe and re-focus?
- What are my goals for myself for the next 90 days? How can I work towards those daily? What is my plan?
- Can I identify the “little girl” in me and how to take care of her in a healthy way?
- What are some healthy ways to handle stress? Are there ways to handle it through exercise?
- Am I taking the time to journal, while being very honest with myself what is going on in my life?
- Am I leaving quiet time for the Lord to speak to me, guide me and heal me?
- If you are not journaling, take it up. Try to take a few minutes a day to write down your honest feelings.
- Continue to pray for God’s guidance, wisdom and discernment for your life.
- Set some goals for your mind, body, spirit and family for the next 90 days. Break these down into monthly and weekly goals to achieve. Check in frequently with these goals and check off as you achieve them. Celebrate at the end of 90 days when your goals are reached.
- What are some additional things you can add in your day to recharge? Can you take a 15 minute walk to get some fresh air and spend some time along with the Lord?
- What are your priorities in your and your family’s lives? Does your time management line up with these? If we are able to stay more focused and not put so much in our schedules, we will have less stress and more clarity.
3 John 1:2-4
1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
1 Corinthians 10:31-33
1 Timothy 4:15-16