Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps of self care: assessing how your current habits are working for you and developing a plan of where you want to go. Tomorrow is a new year– what changes will you make that will better yourself and your family?
Many people wonder how much time they should spend on self care each day or each week. That answer will differ for each person, and will also depend on your season in life and what stressors you have. Instead of trying to fit a certain amount of time into your schedule, try to focus on the results. Do you feel stressed or refreshed? Do you feel depleted or recharged? Are you feeling depressed or encouraged? Are you experiencing medical or physical symptoms of stress, or is your body functioning healthily? Those types of measures will help you determine if you need to devote more attention to your own self care.
What should you do if your spouse or other loved ones seem unsupportive of you implementing your self care plan? First, make sure you are sold on the idea yourself. Once you’re determined to make the changes and have a vision of how you will feel as a result, you’ll be even more confident in asking for help to find time and resources to forge ahead. Second, speak up! No one can read your mind, so be assertive in expressing your needs. Third, be flexible and start small. Maybe you’re not in the season of life where you can take a weekend-long retreat by yourself, but you could ask a loved one to help you find five quiet moments a day for spiritual refreshment. Finally, reciprocate. Be an advocate for others around you to have time for their own self care.
Self-care is not selfish; in fact, when you find the right balance, you’ll likely find that you feel better, but also your relationships will improve. You can be a better wife, a better mom, a better employee, a better daughter, and most importantly– more secure in your identity as a child of God. Remember, don’t get overwhelmed. It’s not about doing more. It’s about being wiser with your resources of time and energy. You can’t afford not to do this!