The term self-care generally doesn’t appeal to me because it brings to mind massages, manicures, and things that I generally don’t enjoy. But today, I had an epiphany about self-care. I think I may be behind the curve here in realizing this, but I realized that self-care isn’t always pampering yourself or doing something you enjoy.
You see, I generally enjoy going to yoga but today I just didn’t want to go. It was my last day with the kids at school – well half day – and I wanted to just stay home. I wanted to rest because I don’t get many of those days. But I knew if I stayed home, I’d likely regret it. I might get a little cleaning done here and there but more than likely, not as much as I wanted. Likely because I set arbitrary lofty goals that are unachievable and then feel disappointed when I don’t reach them. But I digress.
The point is I went too yoga. And it wasn’t magical or anything, though I loved how the instructor started with some mindfulness, even pointing out that we’d each made a choice to be there in that room at that moment. And I realized that I was supposed to be there. I struggled through part of the class. I’ve just come back to yoga after a year and a half break so I’m trying to be kind to myself. Too often I’m not. But today, I let myself take it slow. I went to yoga. I noticed my breath was choppy rather than smooth. I noticed that I always take a slow inhale but rush to exhale.
I thought about how those are metaphors for my life. Do I slowly take in things – all the things – my surroundings, the things I read, the people around me? In what ways do I rush things – my thoughts, my words, my actions, my work? Is my life smooth with an even amount of rest and activity or choppy like my breath?
Today, do something to take care of yourself. You don’t have to call it self-care. You don’t have to really enjoy it even (in fact, going to the dentist would be an act of self-care most hate). But do something, intentionally. Choose to take care of yourself. And listen to what God has to teach you as you do.