In a rut or on autopilot? We all get there. And there are a number of ways we can pull ourselves out.
We work tirelessly and often de-prioritize ourselves so that we can check all the boxes on our to-do lists or get all the things done that we think are important.. because, let’s face it: if we don’t do it, it might not get done… right? Well, maybe that true. I totally get it. BUT, if we as parents and caregivers don’t decide take good care of ourselves, our bodies will begin to tell on us and we’ll never be able to operate optimally. Here are a few ways we can be more intentional about our own (and our family’s) wellness:
1. Eat “Live” Foods
Do you eat to live or live to eat? I must admit, I do a little (or a lot) of both at times. What we have to remember is that we are living organisms. So, the QUALITY of our food intake is imperative, as is the quantity. Have you ever noticed how you feel after eating leafy green vegetables verses how you feel after eating a Quarter Pounder? I certainly have! Eating processed foods that are high in sugars and chemical additives is connected to obesity and several serious medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. I’ll bet you already knew that! But, did you know that your consumption of live food is better for the environment, helps prevent acne and that it improves the appearance of your skin, too? It’s true. Dark chocolate and avocados have been shown to protect skin against sun damage. Also, some studies show that eating more vegetables, fish, beans, and olive oil may help reduce wrinkling and other age-related skin changes. Unprocessed animal and plant foods are packed with the vitamins and minerals we need to obtain optimal health. So, let’s plan to help (or continue to help) our local farmers and communities, as well as our bodies and overall wellness, by purchasing and eating “live foods.”
2. Give and Serve
One of the most effective ways to find fulfilment as you to work through challenging life seasons is to serve and give to others. We were created for community. Not one of us was born apart from another… we grew physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally while literally attached to another human being. Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” While he may not have been quoting the bible, he was surely talking about a biblical principle. It’s true, we feel more satisfied in life when we give. Romans 12:20-21 ESV says this: “…if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. So, we see here that when we give and serve, in addition to feeling fulfilled, we can actually overcome (insert your “evil” here) as well. For this reason, let’s choose to give to others during times when we are hurting, lonely, grieving or even angry. It may just be the best decision we could make for ourselves as well as others.
3. Prioritize SELF: Take a Day Off, Stimulate Your Body and Brian
Unfortunately, this is an area parents and caretakers neglect the most. Let’s just be clear… self-care is NOT selfish. On the contrary, self-care is actually caring, when it’s not obsessive. When we do not care for ourselves, how do we show up for others? Better yet, DO we show up for others at all?
When’s the last time you’ve flown on an airplane? Did the attendant instruct you to: “put your oxygen mask on first” before helping others? Probably so. Because in order for you to help someone else in need, you have to have the capacity to do so. If you don’t self-care, the stress, anxiety, burnout, lack of sleep, fogginess, memory loss, mental heal concerns and other issues will just get worse. In this case on the airplane, it’s oxygen that is needed to survive.
What do you need in order to replenish, renew and rejuvenate yourself?
Think about what feeds your soul, and do THAT. Do you feel refreshed after walking and taking in nature, God’s majestic creation? Maybe for you it is sitting by the water, exercising or simply taking a nap that rejuvenates you. You could also consider playing a sport, journaling, listening to music or reading a book. Whatever it is, just do it. If you’re working, take a day off for your own mental health and self-care if possible. If not, how can you schedule that time in? Your health and well-being should be prioritized. And, don’t feel guilty for it!
Take Good Care of Yourself.