Thursday, March 28, 2019

Scared Into Rest & Self Care

Hey Friend,

If you've been reading here for any length of time, you will know that I have some kind of twisted record going - six major surgeries in six years.  I am not looking to extend this streak!

Each time I was sidelined with a surgery and the rehab that followed, it was like God was the coach and I was the player and He was benching me for awhile so as to get a break from playing so hard. I needed a rest.

What I didn't expect was the wonderful time I had in God's Word - reading, meditating, praying, and just being in His calming presence.  Each surgery and rehab had a similar silver lining.  I also felt like I was given a permission slip to be able to rest...nap even.  Rest and fluids are proven healers.  

But, not long after I was given the nod by the Coach to get back in the game, I returned to the playing field with the same full gusto as before.  This, however, was not a good gusto, it was more like "burning the candle at both ends" gusto.  Time and time again this seemed to be my mode of operation.  I read articles on rest and self care, but that seemed like a luxury for the rich and famous or the selfish and lazy.  The rest of us had to keep plowing forward.

That was until my body seemingly turned on me.  I was, once again, burned out beyond belief; had no energy, found myself needing to sleep A LOT.  My body was screaming, "Enough".  That's when I got the triple header news:  I was anemic, my thyroid was no longer producing any hormones, and I was pre-diabetic.  The doctor said that 50% of people who are pre-diabetic, will have full blown diabetes in 5 years.  Risks like going blind, losing limbs, shortening my lifespan severely hit me right between the eyes.  

I was scared.  This was serious.  I had let things go too long and now I was ticking like a time bomb.  That's when God allowed me to be scared into rest and self care. It was no longer a luxury, but a necessity.  We pride ourselves in constantly being busy, but God's plan for us is much, much different. It was time to swallow the pride and humble myself.

My friend, and sister writer, Anita Ojeda was doing a 5 Day Self Care Challenge.  I jumped in.  I realized in a heartbeat just how poorly I was taking care of myself.  Let me share with you her outline for self care and add a bit of what I'm learning.


M:  Mental Self Care:  Active:  Challenging myself to things that keep my brain synapses firing ie:  doing a crossword puzzle, adding up a sequence of numbers vs. pulling out my calculator, reading and trying a new recipe.  Rest:  Closing my laptop and winding down from work at 5 and not doing work on evenings and weekends.  Allowing myself 10 minute mental holidays to watch the birds, daydream, let my mind be empty.

A:  Academic/Artistic Self Care:  We are born to discover and learn.  I've started brushing up on french which I used to speak rather fluently.  I also actually have "read a book" on my to-do list.  Artistically, we can take care of ourselves by creating.  If you like to write, play an instrument, decorate, draw, dance...don't neglect this part of yourself.  Even if you dance in the kitchen, sketch in the carpool line, or hit clunkers on your piano...dabble.  It's good for your brain and your spirit.

P:  Physical:  Active:  Move 30 minutes a day.  You don't have to join a gym.  Break it up:  10 minute walk the dog, 10 minute walk around your workplace or walk around the neighborhood, 10 minute treadmill, recumbent bike, or stretch and lift free weights. EAT Healthy.  Here's a reminder:  If it's green or grown, eat it, if it's processed, put it down. Rest:  Get 8 hours sleep (no rounding off).  Listen to your body.  If it desperately needs a rest, then rest.  Naps are not illegal or lazy.  They are a sign of healthy self care.  ** Note I'm preaching to myself here.**

S:  Spiritual:  Active:  Spend time daily in God's Word.  Don't try to squeeze it in.  This is a non-negotiable.  Make an appointment with God each day.  Pray or journal your prayers.  Write down 3 things each day that you are grateful for.  Rest:  Just be still in His presence.  Ask what He wants you to know.  Meditate on scripture you read and just let it soak into your mind. Imagine being held in the Savior's strong arms or imagine Him singing and rejoicing over you just for being YOU.  Whatever is pure and lovely...dwell on these things.  

I'm blessed to have a husband who asks me everyday:  "What are you going to do that is good for yourself today?"  

So...what's it going to be??  Think about what brings you joy.  Is it digging in the dirt and planting some spring annuals?  Do you like to sing?...sing a song out loud.  Watch the birds at the feeder for five minutes.  Study the unique flowers and plants in your yard or on a walk.  Buy some flowers for yourself and make a quick arrangement just for you.  Write a letter or note to a friend.  Read a book for fun.  Take yourself out for coffee.  Watch the clouds move in the sky and pick out shapes. Pet your dog or cat.  Embrace your inner child...and play :)

Rest and Self Care are NOT LUXURIES. They are NECESSITIES! (read again, and again until it sinks in).

Please don't be like me and wait until it's almost too late.  Do you know how many years stress, alone, takes off your life?  If not for yourself, do it for those you love and for God - He commands us to take care of the temple He's given us.  

Dear Heavenly Father, Forgive me for how poorly I have taken care of the temple you've given me.  Give me wisdom to make wise choices about how I rest and how I take care of myself.  If you didn't do it in a day, how can I expect to?  Let me listen to your call to rest as well as your call to come into your presence with thanksgiving and praise.  I praise you that you truly care about each and every aspect of my life. Give me courage and discipline to develop new, healthy habits and let go of those that destroy.  Let me heed YOUR call to do something good for myself today.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

What about you?  Do you take seriously the biblical precept of rest and self care?  What have you done that is good for yourself today?  What habits of yours need changing with regard to this topic?  What victories have you experienced in rest and self care?

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