Of all the self-careful things we women did this past weekend—hearing each other’s stories, eating, hiking, laughter, yoga, massage, solving a murder mystery, singing, listening to encouragement from scripture—one of my favorites was the paint class.
The theme of this year’s women’s retreat was Self-Care. I spent the weekend in the gorgeous Ochoco Mountains with thirty-some other women, most of them from my church.
(For the sake of this discussion, self-care is not “me-first” care. It’s simply refueling our tanks—body, soul, and spirit—in order to care for others from full capacity.)
In case you’re wondering what a paint class has to do with self-care, get this: the act of creating something 1) relieves stress; 2) increases brain function; 3) improves mood; and 4) can help prevent Alzheimer’s.
Healthy mental self-care, right there.
But being creative is also practicing good spiritual self-care.
We were created in the image of the One who knows all the stars by name, the One who taught the oceans their boundaries and put the playfulness in baby goats and the protective instinct in mama bears, who causes the fluffy white stuff to fall from the heavens and coat everything in beauty.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
Right there in black and white. We were made in the image of our Creator God.
Which makes us mini-creators.
So when we create, we’re operating in the image of God—whether writing, composing music, designing work-out plans, cooking, photography, painting, drafting a business plan to open a tea-and-yarn shop, throwing pottery, organizing a weekend retreat, singing, mapping out an epic road trip, decorating our homes, woodworking, playing the tuba, film-making, plotting gardens … the list is actually quite long.
Which means when we’re creating, our spiritual tanks are being filled right along with our mental/emotional tanks.
This past weekend at this cozy conference center in the Ochoco Mountains, we women refueled and replenished our bodies, souls, and spirits. And the world is a better place for it.
This thought from Nanea Hoffman:
Go make stuff today. Make coffee. Make a ruckus. Make a difference. Make a memory. Make time for someone or something you love. The world needs makers.
1. The paint class was taught by Francie Towne who creates wonderfully playful, imaginative, whimsical art.
2. As for solving a murder mystery, we divided into small groups and played an escape room game. Very fun. And laughing, and making our brains think, and collaborating as a team—all excellent self-care.
3. An official definition of what we mean by refueling body, soul, and spirit: Activities that involve improving and/or maintaining the health and wellness of our bodies; help declutter our minds and reduce our stress levels; and nurture a sense of connection to God and meaning for our lives.