Brené Brown, an American professor, lecturer, and author, said this:
It takes courage to say Yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.
Dan and I are very good at playing. Which apparently makes us quite courageous.
But seriously, had you ever thought of it that way—that it takes courage to slow down and take care of our bodies, souls, and spirits? To rest and play?
This thought from a boy who killed a giant with a slingshot and a stone, and later became a king:
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
– King David, Psalm 139:13-14
If God created us so wonderfully, shouldn’t we take good care of His most prized creation?
Self-care gets a bad rap because it’s often defined as seeing to our needs first.
But good self-care isn’t me-first care.
Good self-care is simply refueling ourselves—after we’ve tended to our responsibilities—in order to have a full tank from which to serve.
Being out in nature, trekking through soft powder, sipping Chai tea together on a snowy mountainside—these are a few of Dan’s and my favorite self-care things.
I once drafted a list of 46 self-care tips. It includes the usual—soaking in a bubble bath, napping, brewing a cup of tea and sitting with feet up accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Here are a few additional items from that list:
#9. Rescue a dog. Play fetch. Often.
#14. Reach out to someone in need. It might seem counter-intuitive, but taking the focus off ourselves—especially during challenging times—is an act of practicing good self-care. Amazing how that works.
#23. Tend a windowsill herb garden. Plant your own herbs from seed—oregano, sage, rosemary, thyme—or start with 2-3 containers of herbs. Water. Snip. Enjoy.
#31. Engage in a snowball fight. Go ahead, smash up a snowball and let it fly. And see if your momentary concerns don’t fly away with all the snowballs.
#33. Step outside your comfort zone. The courage generated from trying something new and gaining confidence is definitely self-caring.
Ponder this thought from Eleanor Roosevelt:
Do one thing every day that scares you.
#42. Laugh. The next time you’re in a private setting with a group of friends, challenge each other to laugh. At first it will sound fake but see how quickly it turns into real laughter. And see how good it feels.
#46. Count all the ways God loves you. Take journal and pen with you outdoors … and it’s OK if you don’t make it past your front porch. Begin counting: 1) All this beauty for my enjoyment; 2) Sound of water rushing over large boulders; 3) Mama duck conducting swimming lessons; 4) This breath in, this breath out.
Nanea Hoffman offers this insight:
Note to self: When you take time to be selfish—not in the awful way but in the focused, reflective, honoring way—you are actually being kind to all the people who won’t have to deal with your miserable, grumpy, burned out self.
Have a nice cup of coffee. Take a bubble bath or something. You’re welcome, world.