I’ve lived in landlocked Kentucky all my (almost) 44 years. I love it here, but sometimes I feel trapped. Going to the shoreline, even of Kentucky Lake, helps me take a deep breath and regroup. I actually did that in the middle of the week because anxiety and overwhelm were swirling around in my head. I needed to tend to some things at my vacation rental, but I really needed a deep breath of fresh air.
I’m notorious for going and going and going and doing and doing and doing until I am forced to take a break. I thought I had taken a healthy, long break on Spring Break, but I dived right back into life with decisions and feelings. I needed to regroup, again – and it was only Wednesday.
Our world loves to talk about self-care. And, honestly, I’m not really into that phrase, but I am into squeezing in some moments of caring for myself as I go about this crazy life.
In general, when we don’t take time out for ourselves and our regular duties, we can become tired and stressed. Those feelings can build on one another and leave us overwhelmed. This isn’t good for ourselves or anyone around us. Just ask my husband!
Regrouping to focus on our physical, mental, and spiritual health is necessary. You may not be able to take a whole self-care day, but we can all find some time to tend to our own hearts and souls before we move on to the next thing.
I have to remind myself it’s okay to ask for help. My husband and kids live here too. My friends are willing to help. Groceries can be delivered. Chores can wait. Hire a house cleaner. I have to remind myself not everything had to get done in one day.
I love to cook, but sometimes caring for myself involves not preparing a meal so I can use that time for something else. After soccer practice, you’re liking to find us eating some chicken strips or visiting the local steakhouse. On these nights, not only do I not cook, but I also don’t have to do the dishes!
Clutter impacts my mental state, so cleaning the house – even quickly – helps restore order and peace. I especially love donating the pile of clothes that don’t fit the kids anymore and taking out the trash.
Change the scenery
Sometimes stepping away from chores and work is the best thing. Restoring peace also means I’ll be more productive later. So take that walk – even just down your driveway, around the block, or through the woods. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy, just get in some steps and clear your head. I like to talk with a friend, listen to music or a podcast, or pray while I walk. Sometimes even nature sounds alone help soothe my soul.
I also have to change my mental scenery sometimes. When I am anxious or overwhelmed, I tend to believe lies and have to fight for the truth to come back to the forefront of my mind. Often I do this by talking with someone I trust, praying and meditating, slowing down, and listening to a playlist I put together called “Things That Are True.” (Listen on Spotify or Apple Music.)
Do what you enjoy
Free time shouldn’t always be spent catching up on a household or work project. Rather, take time to do something you enjoy. I’m likely to read a book, watch a TV show, plan a trip, catch up with a friend, or take photos.
Don’t let the busyness of life drown out the gifts. When I get overwhelmed, I love to turn on a playlist that prompts me to thank God for all the goodness in my life. When I start writing or reciting in my head all the gifts, the overwhelm and stress subsides. Writing a gratitude list helps me appreciate real-life gifts, people, and places when life feels stressful and overwhelming. Gratitude helps me reframe situations: Chores become ways to bless people and trials become ways to see the truth.
Call it self-care or whatever else, but we all need to care of our minds and hearts. I know firsthand what happens if we don’t and nobody we love needs that version of us.
How do you take care of yourself in the midst of everyday life?