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!

 

 

 

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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.

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God bless you!

Pouring Grey/End Beginning

Shelter of His Wings detail

Pouring rain, Monday grey.

It should be the name of a paint color, obviously, a grey one.

Monday morning was not just grey. Monday morning was pouring rain- like despair, like unloading all the burdens the clouds have held for too long. Like Jesus telling me- yet again- “give Me what troubles you, pour out what’s bothering you. I have truly already taken the troubles.  It’s you who is holding onto them go.”

But this Monday morning, in spite of pouring grey, my heart was not feeling burdened. I’d listened to praise and worship music, joined the singing. I was a bit pensive. But not burdened. Not angry.

And I kind of enjoyed the rain, a good way to end the month. Washing away the dust.

End of month, beginning again. (Maybe the title of a Country Western song.) Hard to believe the speed these month fly with.

I started with the bah-humbug thinking:  “…another month flown past and nothing accomplished- again. I’m too old to let these months zip away without producing anything! I have too many ideas, too many dreams!”. But the Holy Spirit stopped me and reminded me that I put dinner on the table X times, bought groceries (was ABLE to buy groceries!), kept girls, helped them start another school year. I began helping a friend re-write the insert and I made progress (though very little) on my on-line course. No, I didn’t blog. Or even write a note to a friend. But I painted during worship several times and I created the feather picture (In the Shelter of His Wings). Emily helped with that. She made her own smaller version. I was able to catch-up with friends over lunch, several times. We celebrated the Fourth of July with the kids at their Annual 4th of July Bash, complete with amazing fireworks. We were able to welcome Anna home from her month-long mission trip. And we took them hot dogs and Oreos for lunch when Mom and Dad were away. (While the cat’s away…. *wink*). I’ve kept plants alive through summer heat and done my fair share of laundry. I think I might have even vacuumed a few times! AND- ta da! – It’s still July and I’m publishing today. First time since May! So, I have done some stuff this month, after all. It’s just not what I expected.

Even though it’s the end of the month and the moon is full (or maybe because the moon is full?), I’m making another beginning. A quote my sis and I love (“It’s never too late to start the day over!”) applies to a month, too, don’t you think? Even starting over at the end!

I wonder about much but I give up- let go and let God! I am absolutely sure that I cannot. On the other hand, I’m totally certain He is able. Have it all, Lord!

How was your day? Rainy? Sunny?

Are you carrying burdens you need to pour onto God? Or are you free and breezy today?

And hey! If you’re not ready to begin at the end, tomorrow is the beginning of another month, the perfect time to begin- even begin again!

(Photo: detail, In the Shelter of His Wings, 2018)

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Thanks for reading!!