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!

 

 

 

 

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!!

 

 

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