I’ve been a bit silent lately, because I’ve been busy practicing what I teach. I’ve been taking a little time out to take care of myself.
Self-care is an important primary food that keeps your batteries charged. It can be daily meditation and prayer. It could be a hot bath after a long day. It may even be a day (or week) unplugged from email, texts, and social media.
I have a daily routine that includes twenty minutes of journaling first thing in the morning, twenty minutes of prayer in the middle of the morning, and twenty minutes of mediation early afternoon. I find it much more effective than taking an hour lunch break.
I also make a point of unplugging each day when I’m riding my horse, training one of my dogs, or attending Bible study. I also unplug at church on Sundays. I leave my phone in the car. They’re small ways that I can give myself rest during the day and throughout the week.
Still… Sometimes you just need a longer break.
I used to only take vacation time for volunteer work, conferences, or family obligations. After suffering some serious burnout, I figured out that I needed time off for me too. At first, I would wait until I was exhausted and then request a vacation. I’ve now learned to take regular breaks to take care of me.
I rarely travel when I vacation, because our three dogs make it difficult to find rentals, and I just don’t like leaving without them. A night without them is fine but any more than that is just more stress than it’s worth. I prefer to stay in our home, which I love, and use the time to rest and to really connect with my husband. We plan nothing and just enjoy being together.
If you’re not sure how you’re doing in this area, start by asking yourself how you feel most days. Do you enjoy getting started every day or do you have trouble getting out of bed in the mornings? Do you still have energy at the end of the day or does your day drain everything you have?
Journaling or working with a coach can be a great way to start finding a rhythm that supports you more and allows you to be your best self. Finding a self-care routine that works for you is a critical aspect of your health and wellness. You can’t love others if you don’t take some time to love yourself!
Start by observing when your energy get low. Times of day. During certain activities. Are there certain times of the year that you start feeling rundown and burned out?
Then, start looking at things that energize you, things that make you want to get back after it. Do you need time alone? Do you need time with nature? Time with someone special?
Getting a self-care routine that works is a process, and what works during one season of your life may not work for another. Just remember that you deserve time to take care of you!