Take Small Bites- Self Care Week 7

radishesIt’s another Monday, so it’s time for another small tool for taking better care of yourself.

Just a small, quick reminder that we are responsible for taking care of ourselves. We need to step up and do what we need to do in order to be the person who is filled up and ready to help someone else! It goes without saying that spending time with God, meditating on His Word, is the foundation of each day. After that, it’s up to us to follow His leading by being rested and healthy.

So today, let’s add another small tool to our small changes.

When a new year begins, we all seem to automatically consider ways we want to be a better person and accomplish more. I’m willing to bet that in considering ways to be a better person, almost all of us consider our health. We want to eat better, shed unwanted weight, exercise more, get outside more.

We all know that biting off a huge change is likely going to be a failure. We just aren’t wired to be able to make really big changes quickly and make them stick. Sure, you might lose those 10 pounds in 2 weeks, but where’s your weight going to be in week 4? And yes, you might cut out all sugar – for a month. But what are you going to be doing the beginning of month 2?

Now there are definitely times when we absolutely MUST make big changes because of a major health issue. What I’m addressing here are the things we know we “should” do, the things we’d be better off doing. And, before we go any further, here’s my disclaimer: DO what your healthcare provider tells you to do! I’m just giving friendly advice that I’ve found to be helpful. I am not a healthcare professional of any kind. In fact, you can stop reading if you’re facing a major health issue. God bless you with healing, good health and restoration, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Here are a few things to consider when contemplating our health:

If I eat a cookie every day, a small change would be eating a cookie every-other day.

If I don’t eat veggies and decide I need to (YES!), a small change would be to add a baby carrot to my lunchtime meal.

If I’m feeling deprived by having no sweets, I’m more likely to stick to that change by allowing myself a square of dark chocolate once a week. It gives me something to look forward to, a reward that isn’t going to completely blow away all my hard work.

I’m still eating way too many cookies and not nearly enough vegetables BUT I’ve made a move in the right direction. And, I still get to have a small pleasure.

The all-knowing “They” say that it takes 3 weeks to make a lasting change. Recently, however, I’ve read it’s more like 3 months. I tend to believe the 3 months. But whatever, make a small change and repeat it over and over until you are eating the way you believe to be best for you! Remember the self-care tool to drink more water? I hope you’re still working on that. The same thing applies to that, remember?… add one glass a day, add lemon to it to make it more palatable, do what you need to to add more water!

Making a small change that is completely do-able helps us feel like we’re accomplishing something good and therefore helps us feel better about ourselves. I, for one, like knowing I’m heading in the right direction while not having to suffer too much. *wink*

I think I’ll eat TWO carrots with lunch!! (I already gave up my cookies)

What “small bite” are you going to take today?

Thank you for reading and journeying along with me as I try to make small changes that will reap big dividends over time.

God bless us in the journey!

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One More Restful Snuggle

 

Are you tired of resting yet? (LOL!) Thanks for hanging in here with me.

A few more definitions of Rest and then I’ll bring it all together:

+ a place that provides shelter or lodging for travelers, as an inn.

+ a piece or thing for something to lean on or hold onto: a hand rest.

+ to be supported or based; lie, lean, or sit: The ladder rests firmly against the tree.

To rest in God is to LEAN on, be BASED in, and SUPPORTED by, God.

And check this out:

2 Corinthians 12:9:
9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may Rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!

God, Almighty Creator and Father, pitches a tent over you and then He comes into that tent and hangs out with you. WOW.

Jeremiah 6:16, NIV, says, “Thus says the Lord: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, ask the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, “We will not walk in it,” …”

Thank you, Father, for the gift of rest that you gave us in Jesus! Gracious and loving Father, incline our hearts toward you.  Help us to know your mother’s heart. We need to know Your unconditional, unfailing love for each and every one of us. We need to know Your total acceptance of each of us. We need to understand that You want wonderful things for us. Please lead us into this revelation as we learn to rest in you.

We are not those ancient Israelites. We are not turning our backs on Your invitation. We are asking for REST, an ancient, Godly way. When Jesus says to us in the New Testament, “Come. Rest.”, we are going to accept that gracious invitation! Amen.

Have these definitions helped you? Have they given you a deeper desire to spend more time with Father God, snuggling into His Rest? I, for one, want more Rest. I want more of God.

What are your thoughts? Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you!

 

 

 

 

Snuggling into Rest

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As promised, more thoughts about Rest. Let’s snuggle a little deeper.

Rest is a field unplowed and unplanted. It’s a flower you cannot see, under the ground waiting for spring sunshine to call it forth. It’s a bear, barely breathing in its den.

A bush with beautiful berries or a bush with dead leaves are both at Rest. It’s just that one is pleasant to see and one looks dead. Each is Resting in its own way. Both will sprout leaves in the spring because they are alive. You can’t help but bloom again once you’ve rested. When we are resting in God’s presence, trusting Him and His promises, we can’t help but bloom either. We are not dead. We are simply resting in Him, waiting in His presence until it’s time to bloom again.

God commands us to Rest in Exodus 20 and He spends several sentences explaining it.

God invites us to Rest in Jeremiah 6 and Matthew 11.

And everywhere you look, you see that Rest is a gift.

What is Rest?

There are many pages of definitions for the word Rest. Here are a few of them:

-the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep, to lie down, especially to sleep. a good night’s rest.

relief or freedom, esp. from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs

-to be at peace or ease; be tranquil, mental or spiritual calm

-the repose of death: eternal rest.

 –cessation or absence of motion: to bring a machine to rest.

 -In Music: a. an interval of silence between tones. b. a mark or sign indicating it.

I love this: Rest notes in music produce… nothing, only silence. But rest notes are very important to the tempo and rhythm of any piece of music. Rest notes are like zeroes, which are just place keepers, they are “nothing” but at the same time they are essential. We need to see our Rest as essential to the rhythm and tempo of our lives, as place markers to the entire sum/product of our lives. Think about that!! “Nothing” is extremely important!

I think I’ll stop here. I can see I need to do one more post regarding rest this week.  I’m preaching to myself here, friends! I hope you’re finding some encouragement, too. I know I am. Thanks so much for joining me in re-visiting all these Rest definitions.

Please join the conversation:

What does Rest mean to you? Which definition is your favorite? I still love the way  the musical definition applies to our lives.

I pray the Lord will put a deep desire in our hearts to snuggle deep into His Rest, which is simply snuggling deep into Him. Blessings, ya’all!

 

 

Rest awhile (Self-care, Week 6)

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This is a hard one. We all dream about being able to rest. It sounds so luxurious.  But so many of us think we just don’t have time to rest. “Oh yeah,” we think,” someday I’ll finish this project… the kids will grow up… I’ll get my degree… I’ll retire…”. The list is endless. And someday never comes.

But rest is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.

We are created to rest. We NEED to rest. My friend, if God Himself rested after creating the world, who are WE to think we don’t need, or can’t, rest?

If we aren’t resting, we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Without rest, our bodies wear out faster and are more open to sickness. Without rest, our minds become overwhelmed and we become less able to reason and think clearly. Without rest, our souls can’t find peace, we can no longer hear the whispers of love and guidance from our Heavenly Father.

First we have to agree we need rest. Do you? Of course, you do, and you know it!

“But, But, But!!!” I can hear the screams. I was one of those screaming people. OK, full disclosure: I still struggle with it. But it’s worth the effort to work on it!

Please, just stop a few minutes, take a deep breath and consider…

In order to make a change, we need to be intentional, to set a plan. And it needs to be in small, do-able steps. So the first thing necessary to adding rest to our lives is to plan a small amount of time to set aside. Then, guard it like your life depends on it, ’cause it does!

Nobody is asking you to take an entire day, as in a Sabbath. Not yet. Just once a week, plan 30 minutes with no electronics, no disturbances. Lock the bathroom door and take a bubble bath. Lay down when the kids take a nap or do homework. Read the Psalms. Take some deep breaths and relax. Unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding to death, it can wait. REALLY. It CAN wait for 30 minutes. At first, it may seem like you’re gritting your teeth, watching the minutes tick past. That’s fine. Don’t give up.

Think thirty minutes feels like too much? How about 10 minutes for starters? Do what you can!

The Bible says we “labor to enter Rest”. In our busy, do-everything-right-now world, it is surely laborious to carve out time for rest. As we continue the practice, though, we will get better. Did you fall off the bike when you first tried riding it? Yep. It takes practice. Did you play Bach the first time you sat at the piano? Nope. It takes practice.

No one is going to help you do this. Oh, they might SAY they agree you need to rest, but are they going to stand guard while you are sequestered in your prayer closet? Maybe. Maybe not. Don’t let that stop you. YOU are going to have to go to bat for YOU!

And when (I didn’t say “If”) you forget or allow yourself to be sucked into the drama, don’t despair. Call for a Re-Do and try again. Pray! Ask God to help. He is the one who invites us to rest in the first place. Practice until that 30 minutes feels natural. Then add to it.

Rest is an invitation. Rest is a command. Rest is a gift.

There are so many things I planned to say about rest. However, when I sat down to polish this up today, an entirely different path presented itself. Perhaps I’ll write more about Rest later this week. It is definitely the word for these days. In fact, Pastor Dave* spoke on it yesterday. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I opened my planner and realized Rest is the Self-Care Tool for this week!

Now it’s YOUR turn! What small thing are you going to do this week that is a step toward more Rest in your life? How are you going to use your new Rest tool? Please share! I’m sure you have a your own personal interpretation on the subject. Maybe you already take a true Sabbath. Do you? Please tell me/us how you got there. My goal is to take a whole day, a Sabbath-unto-the-Lord- kind of day.

Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for more about Rest a little later this week!

God bless you with Rest!

* Pastor Dave is our pastor: David Newell, River of Life Church, 5508 Munford Road, Raleigh, NC 27612,  riverofliferaleigh.com

 

 

 

Smile ~ Self-care week 5

smiley face

How are you doing? Do you feel like you’re taking a little better care of yourself?

Specifically, did you shed any “shoulds” this past week?

Before we start Smiling, here are a few more comments about “shoulds”.

It’s really hard for us women to overcome all the “shoulds” people put on us. For one thing, we don’t want to disappoint those we love. Another thing is that those who love us are probably (hopefully) not aware that they’re “shoulding” us. We need to recognize that, I think. Talk to them about it.

One of my biggest “shoulds” is, “I should do this with joy”. Well, I may not be able to do a thing with joy but I can shed the “should” of it by admitting I don’t really want to do it at all. I’ll do it the best I am able at the moment. Still not the best attitude, true. But at least I am not hanging myself on a “should” hook. I am being honest and owning it. I’ll work on the attitude as I go.

Let’s move on…

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SMILE.

How in the world does giving a smile help me take better care of myself?

I’m glad you asked, as I smile at you. 🙂

Smiling at someone lifts their spirit. You might not notice a change in them. They might be a complete stranger, in fact. But your smile can encourage someone. Think about it. When someone smiles at you randomly, doesn’t it touch your heart. A smile touches our hearts and connects us, however briefly.

A sympathetic smile, given to a mom struggling with a pouting toddler, lets her know you understand, she’s not alone. A smile and an eye-roll to someone having a hard time convincing the cashier or receptionist of a need, lets that person know you can sympathize. Again, they are not alone.

It truly costs us nothing to share a smile and some empathy. One the other hand, it goes along way toward making someone else’s life just a little brighter. And you know what? When we give that small, no-cost smile to someone in need, we somehow feel better too! It’s kind of surprising to find yourself continuing to smile, even after the other person has passed. It’s just a nice feeling.

I read somewhere that if you smile at yourself in the mirror, you feel better. And, surprisingly, it’s true! Try it. Instead of scowling at yourself in the morning, Smile. When you do scowl at yourself and start to say something negative, stop and smile! It works!

When you smile at yourself, your self smiles back at you and you both give and get a smile! So easy.

Before you say it will only work when you’re not mad, let me assure you. I have done it while angry and… ta da!… it really did help change my mood. OK. I’ll admit it was more of grimace at first but I did get a smile out of me in the end.

I hope this makes you feel happier. It has lifted my spirit just writing it! How great is that? And, I’m… SMILING. 🙂

Have you smiled at yourself in the mirror? Do you do it regularly? How does it make you feel? Feel free to go back to shedding “shoulds”, too. Did you see any difference in the way you felt?

Please share! I love to hear what you think!

God bless you!!

 

 

My Word for the Year

Here it is. The end of January. I tend to think of the end of January as the as the End of the Beginning. So, it’s time to move into 2019.

I’ve left all my thank you notes, all my New Year’s greetings until now. Bad on me. I really DO appreciate the gifts and I really DO want certain people to know that I remember them and wish them blessings. Maybe I’ll send Valentines. (Self-care tool: put it off! LOL!)

Rather than putting off, I’ve deliberately left choosing my Word for the Year until now.

I’m not usually so OCD about choosing a Word for the Year but I’m feeling a need to “get it right’ because I’m feeling the need for major change. Now I KNOW I can’t make a major (or even a big) change in one year, one leap. However, I’m feeling this year is pivotal somehow. Besides, I’m not getting any younger and I no longer feel I have the luxury of time. Of course, no one really does because no one knows what might happen in the next moment. But age tends to accentuate the need to make the most of time in general.

Last year’s Word was HOPE. A very good word and something I felt I needed to “work” on. “Work” isn’t really the right thing to call it. “Working” on a Word for the Year is more like reminding myself of it, intentionally looking for it, checking to see if my thoughts and speech line up with it. It was a good Word and I feel like it served me well, helping me BE more hopeful and becoming much better acquainted with it. Hope has become a friend I understand and love, not just a nebulous idea. I can’t say I thought about it everyday but I did come back to it over the course of the year. Re-visiting it, checking in with it. There were times I fought it. Other times I simply embraced it. And in the process of all that, it became real, with a real place in my heart of hearts.

I began thinking about my new Word toward the end of December… continued mulling into the first week of January. I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time deciding on a Word this year. It’s just a Word. I CAN change it at any moment. I’m not chiseling it in stone, after all!

Thankfully, I read an article  that suggested, among other things, that we take the month of January to try words on, let them simmer and then settle on the Word at the end of the month… begin using the Word as your guide in February. Great advice! (see end notes and read that article. It’s really good!)

As I was having so much trouble find the right Word, I took a couple of online “quizzes”. I put very little stock in those quizzes, but it was kind of fun and, oops, kind of eye-opening. Still. Those words didn’t fit well. I also did an Art Journaling Challenge with Matt Tommey (see end notes). While I didn’t follow the challenge totally (don’t tell Matt), it did help and I filled several pages with words and stars, arrows, happy faces and sad faces, colors and shapes. As I wrote or read or heard podcasts and sermons, certain words would stand out and I’d star them, write them, research them and let them simmer.

A word that kept finding its what to my paper is “possible”. A really good word and one I need to start believing more. “Nothing is impossible with God”. “All things are possible for those who believe”. Although it’s not exactly what I need, it would be a good choice.

“Risk” is another word that kept showing up when I meditated on how to proceed. Risk is not a word I would associate with myself. I’m generally not a risk-taker, don’t like risky situations because I manage to see danger in anything. But risk is something I need! I need to risk belief, to risk putting my art and craft out there, to risk being vulnerable. “Risk” is a word I need in my life. I could (and might) do an entire blog on risk. But that’s not the “right” word, either. Not right now.

I won’t list all the words I considered while brainstorming. I LOVE words, so you can imagine there are many scattered in journals and notes and scrappies scattered everywhere. It got to the point where I felt like I was in a windstorm of words, all swirling around me, hitting me, telling me how much I need each of them. Just reading back over my lists, I start to feel that overwhelm again.

I started in December with the word “abide”. It’s a great word. It refers to a dwelling place. As a verb, it means to remain, continue; stay. Good stuff! Abide can mean to tolerate, put up with; stand firm. Also, to endure, sustain or withstand without yielding or submitting; to wait for. It suggests a determination to stay in agreement with a thing. It showed up on my lists many times.

I have to laugh at myself. Even writing this, having decided and lived with my word, I’m waffling a bit.

But here it is: ABIDE.

I want to ABIDE in God’s Word. I want to ABIDE in the Love of God and share it; abide in love and kindness, grace and mercy. I want to ABIDE in the wisdom He has put within me. I want to ABIDE in painting and writing and sharing creativity whenever and wherever I can. Mostly ABIDE, to me, speaks of peace. It says I’ve already made up my mind and set my heart to calmly rest in what I know to be true. It says I can peacefully focus on what is set before me. It also means I can peacefully consider new ideas.

Now I’m going to make signs (sticky notes!!) for myself and put them around the house to remind me to stop and abide in peace.

I have a long way to go toward abiding. But I will abide in the trustworthy grace of God to move me closer and closer throughout the year.

Thanks for reading all this. I know it’s long. I appreciate your sticking with me.

Please, share your word or goal and how you came to choose it! I truly am interested!

Many blessings!

 

End notes:

“Instead of Making Resolutions, Dream”, by Whitney Johnson, Harvard Business Review, 1/1/13, HBR.org

Matt Tommey. http://www.matttommeymentoring.com He is also on Facebook and Instagram. Check him out!!

Definitions from http://www.dictionary.com

 

Give Yourself a Break- Shed the “Should”! Self-care, week 4

cat photo in black and white

Is your “should” list growing?

I think mine has finally circled the house and is heading down the driveway. sigh…

I hear a sermon or TED talk. I read a blog or book or the Bible and something pricks my mind. How many times have I said, “I should..” or have I been told, “You really should…”? You too? Too many to count, right?

Truly, though, there are things I need to change or want to change about myself or a situation. Yes. We “should” be changing and growing. However, beating myself up about something I “should” do isn’t going to change me.

If I want to make a change, I need to own it.  I need to pray over it and see what God says about it. And I need to realize that small changes will accomplish much more than trying to make a huge leap. Yes, there are times when God steps in and  (hallelujah!) changes everything. Those times are wonderful! We love them and are thankful for them! Those times are also not so commonplace.

If I need to make a change I don’t really want to make, I need to be honest.

I remember a story from decades ago that Charles Simpson told on himself. When he was younger, he loved tobacco. He had smoked and chewed it since he was a kid! He really loved it! He even said he would have eaten it on a sandwich, he loved it so much. When he became a Christian and got older, he knew in his mind that tobacco wasn’t good for him and he needed to give it up. So he tried and tried to quit but kept going back to it. Finally, he told the Lord he really needed help because he really loved his tobacco and just plain didn’t even WANT to give it up! And he relaxed. (Today we’d say he rested in the Lord.) And slowly but surely, over time, Charles lost his desire for tobacco. He was free of it! Moral of the story? Be honest with yourself and God and let Him help you!

When I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I’m finally learning to check my to-do list. Is it full of “shoulds”, is it full of things other people have put on me (but I haven’t agreed to)? I’m not going to feel guilty about saying “no” to things that don’t absolutely NEED to be done right now. I can give myself a break and cross off items that turn out to be a “should”. I can also give myself a break by paying attention to whether I’ve made a step toward a goal too large. Instead of making the goal to shed 10 pounds by next month, I probably need to change it to 5 pounds by next month.

So, here’s the self-care tool for this week… Give yourself a break and shed the “should”! If you want or need to change something, take it to the Lord. Break it into very small do-able steps. And- THIS IS IMPORTANT!- when you goof up, don’t give up! Admit you fell (or jumped!!) off the wagon, forgive yourself (God forgives you) and go back to whatever you were working on. Do not waste time or energy on condemning yourself!

This week pay attention to the “shoulds” in your life. Listen to your self-talk. Is it full of “I should…”? Listen to what others are saying to you too! Is someone telling you “You really should…”? Once you recognize a “should”, make a conscious decision regarding accepting or rejecting it as your own.

 

Did you try last week’s tool for taking better care of yourself? Did you find that drinking more water helped keep you more alert? Did it give you a reason to step away from a toxic situation? Great!!

Here’s one more little thing about drinking more water. It helps flush food through your body more quickly. Eat too much birthday cake at the office party? Drink  2-3 extra glasses of water. Too many chips? Same thing- drink  extra water. You get the idea. It’s not permission to over-indulge, but it is an easy way to help a little when you do!

 

Please share your thoughts about both water and shedding the should. What ways do your give yourself a break?

Thanks so much for reading! I’m looking forward to hearing from you!

Have a drink! Self-care week 3

lake framed with leaves

If you want to take care of yourself, drink water!

I know. I can hear you now. “I drink plenty of coffee… or tea… or juice… or soda”. But no matter how tasty and wonderful those liquids are, they are not WATER.

Different “experts” tell us we need differing amounts of water each day, but the good ole 8-glasses-a-day is a good place to start.

I drink a glass of water with a couple of drops of lemon essential oil first thing in the morning. Water in the morning helps wake up your body, especially your digestion. I have to work to get those 8 glasses per day, but I’m trying hard! I still forget to bring water into the studio/office when I’m working but I really need to do it.

I’ve found that water, like moving around, can be an easy and small catalyst for changing my thinking or recharging my flagging energy.

When I begin to wonder if we have any cookies, or candy, or if it’s lunch time, I realize that a glass of water will get me through that energy dip. Or at least help me make lunch without snacking on everything in sight.

A drink of water can also be a good pause in a difficult situation, giving you a minute to move away, take a deep breath and come back to it refreshed.  A glass of cool water is very refreshing. And did you notice? You used all three of our self-care tools at one time! There ARE times we need more than one tool.

Need more reasons to drink water? I’m so glad you asked!

Did you know your body is about 55-60% water, depending on your age, gender and weight?

Your heart and brain are about 73% water, lungs are 83%, muscle and kidneys are 79%, skin is 64% and even your bones are around 31%!

Water is the major ingredient in cells.

Water insulates your body, helping regulate body temp. Remember, humans use perspiration and respiration to regulate our temperature. Both involve water.

It also insulates the brain, spinal cord, and organs, acting as a shock-absorber within our bodies.

We need water to metabolize proteins and carbs; it’s the primary part of saliva, which is where digestion begins.

Just a few more things about water:

It’s used to flush waste and toxins from the body; it’s a solvent, dissolving minerals, certain vitamins and other nutrients; and of course, water carries oxygen and nutrients to our cells.

BUT HERE’S THE THING, we don’t feel thirsty until we’ve lost around 2-3% of our body’s water. Doesn’t seem like a big deal. However, mental performance and physical coordination start to be impaired BEFORE we’re even thirsty, usually at around 1% dehydration. That piece information sure gets my attention! *

Lots of people say they don’t like water. I do like water, but I understand. (I’m not wild about veggies, but that’s another topic!) While plain water is really the best choice, there are alternatives. Add sliced cucumber or pear to a pitcher of water and put it in the refrigerator. You can use other fruits or veggies as well. Experiment. And remember, all taste is acquired. If you keep working at it, you can not only get used to plain water, you can actually enjoy it. One word of caution: Please stay away from the sweet- artificial or sugar- “flavorings” for water. They are really not a good choice.

Drink it plain or flavored . Either way, you will feel better and your body will thank you. It doesn’t take a long time to drink a glass of water. Just do it! Eight times.

Are you going to add WATER to your self-care tool box? I hope so. And let me know how it goes. Maybe we can encourage each other to have another drink- a drink of water.

*info based on the article, “How Much of Your Body is Water?”, by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., from http://www.thoughtco.com, September 28, 2018

 

Taking Care of Yourself- Week 2

Happy Monday and Happy 2nd Week of doing one small thing that helps you help yourself.

Although I usually really like Mondays with their new beginnings and new possibilities, today has been challenging. I’ve been spinning my wheels, wanting to do things but having a hard time focusing on just what to do and how to do it.

Take this week’s Self-Care technique, for example. I have an entire list of at least 52 little things to try, so there’s no lack of ideas. I was ready to hit this first thing this morning, publish and move on. However, it’s now nearly time to fix dinner and I’m just now figuring out which technique to focus on this week.

Last week’s deep breathing came in handy as I’ve tried to focus my efforts on this task I’ve given myself. DEEP breathe: breathe in slowly, fill your lungs, let it overflow into your belly. Hold it about 3 seconds and s.l.o.w.l.y exhale until there’s no air left in your lungs and then blow out the last little puff. It helped. It signaled my brain that everything is ok. It relaxed me and I made sure my shoulders weren’t hunched. However, it wasn’t but a few minutes before I was floundering again.

That’s the thing about techniques. They are tools. Sometimes one tool works great for the job at hand but other times that same tool doesn’t do the trick. You need something different!

I wrote an entire blog about another technique and then decided it wasn’t what I need NOW. Like the deep breathing, it was the wrong tool for me for today.

So what did I FINALLY do?

What saved me from utter frustration today?

What is my self-care technique for this week?

MOVEMENT. Get up  and move.

Change my position…don’t let myself to get cramped up in one position. Get up! Move! March in place or better yet, take a walk. Pump my arms. Dance. Simply cross one foot over the other and turn all the way around. Did you know, crossing one side of your body over the other encourages your brain to switch sides? And that encourages clearer thinking and openness.

Change what I’m thinking! Oh! This is a hard one. I had to change my MIND! Instead of thinking, “I cannot focus”, and falling into uselessness, I had to tell myself, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and direct my thoughts back to where I was.

Changing location, from one room to another or from inside to outside (and baby, it’s cold out there!) has helped a lot. Just a slight change of scenery is stimulating. If I’ve been sitting in one place without any progress for more than 15 minutes, it’s probably time to do something different.

MOVEMENT is a good way to take care of yourself when you’re in a tough situation. Give yourself a break. Excuse yourself a moment (go to the bathroom!). Press “pause” in the conversation to give yourself time to clear your thoughts. Often, when we physically move away from a disagreement or a stuck spot in a project, it enables us to move our thinking as well. It lets us come back refreshed and better able to handle the situation.

Thanks for reading!

Now it’s your turn.

Please let me know if you tried the deep breathing last week. How did it work. Did you feel better?

How about this week’s Movement? Do you think Movement will help you? What are your expectations?

I’d love your feedback!

 

 

 

Happy 2019-Take Good Care of Yourself

field and trees

Happy New Year, ya’all!

Have you set goals? Do you have a word for the year? Do you make “resolutions”? I’d truly like to hear what you do, if you’d care to share.

I’m still praying about my word for the year, but I do know that I need to focus a little more on self-care. I need to remember that I’m worth a little extra effort.

Yes, that does sound selfish. But let’s think about that for a minute.  I’m not talking about indulgence. Not talking about hour-long bubble baths, buying yourself anything that strikes your fancy. I’m not talking about saying everything that pops into your head, either. I’m talking about taking care of yourself in order to help yourself be a happier person and to help others with a full heart.

Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If I am constantly down on myself, constantly critical of everything I do, no matter how loving and kind I might SOUND to others, there is going to be an undertone of judgement because that’s what’s going on inside me. It seems to me, somewhere in there, He is implying I need love myself, too.

When you fly, they tell you to place your own oxygen mask first and THEN help others around you. If I can’t breath, how can I help someone else?

If the glass is empty, it cannot fill other glasses. If I am depleted and drained, no matter how much I try or want to, I won’t have anything to give to others.

So very many scriptures tell us how much God loves us. The one almost everyone knows, John 3:16, says He loved the world so much that He gave His Son to be the substitute for everyone’s failures. Everyone, by the way, includes you and me. Would YOU let your child suffer and die because someone else messed up??

In other scriptures, we are told God loves us, He sings over us, He dances, He smiles because of us. He fights for us. He protects us. He heals us… YOU and ME! He created each of us and God doesn’t make junk! We are told that we are in Christ Jesus and God the Father sees you and me just like He sees Jesus- perfect, righteous, complete.

When we don’t agree with what God says about us, either He is a liar or we need to change our thinking. I need to change my thinking~

Taking care of ourselves physically, emotionally and spiritually is important. We are called to serve others and that’s what we want to do. To change the world around and within me, I have serve from a full heart and soul and spirit. When we love and serve others, we too are filled up and it becomes part of our own self-care.

First take time with Father God. Then be aware of how He loves you today.

For each week of this year, I’m going to practice a different form of self-care.

This week is deep breathing.

Starting with a “deep breath” seems easy for me  (This is another form of self-care. I’m starting with something I’m already familiar with). I often do that anyway. However, there are times I realize I’m essentially holding my breath, so I want to become aware sooner.

When I’m excited, I’ll take a deep breath and focus that excitement, enjoy that excitement.

When I’m tired, I’ll take a deep breath and rest.

When I’m frustrated, angry, disappointed… I’ll take a deep breath and pause.

There is a large body of research and resource for more information regarding deep breathing. There are special techniques for different types of deep breathing. Check it out. Try different things. Whatever you do, though, do it! Even a sharp, quick deep breath is better than nothing. A deep breath can stop the locomotive of negative feelings before they get out of control.

Every change we make is made up of many small changes, small steps. It’s when the goal is “lose 50 pounds”, or “stop being impatient” that we fail. Instead of saying I’m going to “take better care of myself emotionally”, I’m going to break it down, try different ways to take better care of myself.

Each week, either Monday or Tuesday (taking care of myself by giving myself space), I’ll share one small technique to change the way I think or lessen the pressure I unnecessarily place on myself. I hope you find something helpful for yourself as I share my journey.

Will you join me?

Thank you for reading. I invite your feedback.

Please consider following me. There’s a “subscribe” button at the top of the right hand column. If it’s not there, please let me know!! Thanks!

God bless you!