I thought I would share with you all the things that I do to take care of myself spiritually/physically/emotionally/mentally/relationally and I’m breaking it down into annually/monthly/weekly/daily. (If you’d rather hear me talk it all through, you can watch here or listen here.)
Let me state upfront: I am 52. I am an empty-nester. I work from home. My life season is quiet and slow and I am beyond grateful for that. The last time my life season was this quiet and slow, I was 25, newly married, pre-kids, working part-time at our church. And then I spent 20+ years with much less quiet and much less slow and much less margin (raising two kids, living in a hard marriage, starting and leading ministries, on staff at church, speaking, writing, traveling to third world countries, and then divorcing).
But now my life is quieter and slower. So, please do not be discouraged when you read all the things I’m about to list off. As they say in AlAnon, take what you like and leave the rest. Or better put, take what works for you, what you’d like to try, what would fit into your life, and forget I even said the rest.
Another side note: I don’t do all of these things to live longer. I completely believe that God numbers my days…I’m dying when I’m dying. I do all of these things to live better. Especially as someone with a touch less energy than the average gal (so it seems to me) (post-menopause perhaps? just plain old? who knows?), I do many of these things to feel as good as I’m able to feel for as many days as God has decided to gift me with. Plus, when I feel as good as I can, I’m nicer to people, which is a good thing for all involved. Okay, let’s get to it…
1) I’m not sure this is annually but at least once every year or two, I try to get away by myself for 2-3 days to think, pray, and clear my head. (I’ve been doing this for about twenty years or so.)
2) At the end of every year, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, I read through all of my journals from the previous year, read through all of the daily gratitude slips that accumulated the past year in my kitchen gratitude jar, and answer several reflection questions, like how is my life working for me and stuff like that. This year I added a list of all the bad things I could remember that happened in 2022 and all of the good things. Because we tend to forget stuff.
3) I get an annual physical and girlie exam as well as a mammogram. I also see the dentist twice a year. If you haven’t been to your doctor or dentist in over a year, I would gently encourage you to do so.
1) I try to see my two children at least once a month if not more. I’m shooting for once alone and once either with their partners or all of us together. (And we try to see Richard’s children and our grandchildren as often as we can, but they live a bit farther away.)
2) I have a standing date to see two of my best friends, either in person (but socially distanced of course) or over Zoom. I have no idea what I would do without my girlfriends.
3) When I feel I need it, I see a counselor. I’ve been in and out of counseling since I was 20. It’s a gift to have an unbiased third party listen and offer suggestions. I cannot recommend counseling highly enough. (Coaching is similar and I’m here for you.)
1) My husband and I try to do a date at least once a week. It’s more difficult during the winter because he’s on call for nights every other week, he refs high school basketball, but we still try.
2) Every Thursday, I clean the house. How is this taking care of me? Because I listen to fun music on my phone and sing and dance like a wild woman. Plus, a clean and clutter-free environment has always been a sanity-saver for me.
3) Every Sunday morning, we watch either go to church or watch church online.
4) Every Sunday afternoon, I do a face mask, deep condition my hair, and do my nails.
Daily: (okay, this list will be the longest, ha!)
I get up with my husband, which is about 5:45am (which shouldn’t even be a time on the clock).
After I get him out the door, I wash my face, put on a serum of some kind, put on my quote-unquote workout clothes.
I start my day with drinking a couple glasses of water, one with lemon juice. And I try to remember to drink a glass of water several more times during the day.
I take all of my supplements (vitamin b, c, d, iron, a probiotic, magnesium, turmeric/curcumin, maca root, apple cider vinegar, omega-3). (I’m no doctor…don’t just take these because I take these.)
I make a smoothie with kale, spinach, banana, avocado, berries, lemon, chia seeds, chopped walnuts, and Your Super powdered supplements.
I drink two+ cups of Adagio green or white tea and/or some Get Happy tea.
I spend 30 minutes doing computer stuff while sitting next to a light therapy lamp.
I do 15 minutes of stretches.
I ride my stationary bike and/or I take a morning and afternoon walk, yes, even in the winter. (I don’t even let snow or ice stop me now…I just discovered YakTrax! and they are game-changers for my winter walking, I’m telling you.) I’ve walked when it’s -16 so I remind myself of that when I’m being a wus about it.
On these walks, I listen to one or more of the following: the John Eldredge daily prayer, the Daily Audio Bible Chronological, the pause app, the Lectio 365 app, and the Wild at Heart, Captivated, or Next Right Thing podcasts.
I have a quiet time where I journal what’s on my mind; I read Scripture (I’m reading through Proverbs and I & II Corinthians this month; I have come up with my reading plan for each year); I have a book of prayers for my husband and another for our gazillion kids; I’ve got two other devotionals and a Bible study I’m working through; and I still read through my three AlAnon daily readers every morning, because I’m still a touch codependent despite not living with an alcoholic. (And if something jumps out at me from Scripture or my devotionals, I’ll sometimes text it to my husband and girlfriends, and maybe my kids.)
I typically have a second smoothie for a snack and oatmeal with walnuts, blueberries, & Greek yogurt for lunch.
I have another smoothie around 2 then take another walk in the afternoon, again, yes, even in the winter. (And listen to the same stuff that I mentioned earlier.)
I eat whatever for dinner.
I use my Cereset headband for 20 minutes every night before bed. It’s a contraption that helps balance my sweet little brain.
I try to go to bed by 9pm every night, but it’s usually before that. I’ll maybe read for a few minutes, and I do NOT bring my phone to bed with me (in fact, it goes in the kitchen til the morning…my kids know to call my husband in an emergency).
And there you go.
Again, hope this brings zero discouragement…we’re all in different seasons…but I hope it maybe gives you an idea or two to add to your routines. Every time we do something that brings us closer to Jesus or adds to our mental or relational or physical health instead of takes away from it, we’re doing something that honors God and the body/heart/mind/life He gave us and helps build our resilience.
P.S. Here are TEN of my FREE resources for upping your WHOLENESS quotient in your life:
top 10 tips for taking care of yourself
60-second encouragement videos
webcast: struggling with worry?
webcast: struggling to feel loved?
webcast: who am I now (that I’m not who I thought I was)??
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