The Importance of Self Care

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December 12, 2018 by Courtney

My understanding of self care has evolved over the years.  When I first started learning about it, I envisioned lots of bubble baths with bath bombs, laying around all day, and watching lots of Netflix, but I quickly found that’s not exactly self care for me.  I mean, those things have their place, but they don’t necessarily make me feel my best.

So what *is* self care?

Self care is anything that makes you be your best self.  It makes you feel good mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

The reason this is so important is that when you aren’t feeling your best, there is nothing to give anyone else.  If you feel terrible, how will you take good care of your family?  How will you be a good friend?  You literally cannot be a good mom, wife, friend, daughter, etc if you don’t have a good self care practice.

I tend to do a pretty good job of this on a regular basis, but I haven’t necessarily been doing great lately, and I’m feeling pretty badly.  I have had a cough off and on for several weeks which has made me feel very worn.  I haven’t been getting much sleep at night which makes me grab food that gives quick energy, like cereal.  I have been drinking more caffeine and I’ve been craving sodas (only about one per day but I’m trying not to drink that many… maybe a few per week).

I ended up sleeping till about 11:00 this morning, which I really think I needed.  Part of my need for that is that I went to sleep super late last night (and the night before).  This is partly because of my cough, but also just a bad habit.  I immediately went for the coffee (as I usually do), but I didn’t drink any water or have any food until about 2:00.  Guys. I decided to eat a nutritious lunch (raw veggies, fruit, boiled eggs, and pretzels) with a lot of ice water, and I could feel myself feeling much better pretty quickly.  I also had some herbal tea (Sleepy Time Sinus Soothers) with raw honey, and I took a shower (for the first time since Monday).  I still don’t feel well, but I feel much better than I did.

So while these self care practices didn’t include taking a nap or binging on Netflix, they were things that nourished me in many ways, and I feel a huge difference.

Oh, I also swept the living area (living room, kitchen/dining), vacuumed our living room rug, did some dishes, and made my bed.  These tasks took all of about 15-20 minutes, and they made a huge difference in how I feel mentally.  Even when I feel poorly physically, it’s worth trying my best to do a few easy chores.  I know this isn’t true for everyone, but self care is different for each person.

This is a list of things that I consistently do for my self care:

  • Stay organized
  • Get enough sleep
  • Exercise (mainly hiking and yoga at this point)
  • Eat healthy with balance
  • Do my Bible study and prayer (though giving myself grace in this area)
  • Focus on gratitude
  • Take my medication correctly
  • Go camping/be outside
  • Play games with my family and/or friends
  • Coffee with a friend
  • Go to AA and do online AA meetings
  • Go to my doctors when I’m scheduled
  • Do things that I enjoy (reading and writing)
  • Challenging myself mentally (right now I’m taking a childbirth educator course)
  • Meditation using an app
  • Keep the house clean
  • Shower often
  • Bake and cook
  • Drink lots of water
  • Have my yummy coffee just the way I want it
  • Light candles for the season
  • Dim lighting at night and outdoor lighting during the day
  • Music!  Lots of worship and other random bands along with Christmas music during the season

The list could go on and on!

Tonight I’m making a real dinner, putting the kids to bed early (because everyone is tired), and I’m going to read then go to bed early myself (Robert has a thing with his co-workers).  I hope to wake up feeling even better tomorrow.  We have something tomorrow night then Friday I will be in town all day, so I need to start feeling better!

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