by Erin McNeely
Sometimes the world we live in can get a bit overwhelming, can’t it? We balance careers, homemaking and never-ending to-do lists. We’re students, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives and friends. We’re busy. And let’s be honest, as women we maybe tend to say, “yes” maybe a little more often then we should. We try to do it all. A coffee date in between our two o’clock and four o’clock meetings? Sure, why not? Help a friend move on our one day off? We’re there. Our days are full and our minds are always racing, running through list after list of people to care for, tasks to accomplish and places to go.
But there comes a point where we just can’t do it anymore. Where the burnout and the fatigue set in. Though we’ve fought it for so long, the stress finally catches up with us. And it may not come in the form of a huge breakdown or crisis like one may think, but may just be the realization that we are just plain exhausted; that we are no longer our best selves. That once worked for us no longer works anymore. That something needs to change.
Self-care. It seems like such an indulgence, doesn’t it? But our souls ache for it. Our hearts, our minds and our spiritual lives thirst for a little self-care, and let us not forget the perfect model of rest. Jesus knew when to retreat into solitude. He recognized when he needed renewal, and he didn’t feel guilty seeking it out. He made retreating into prayer his top priority, and it would do us well to follow in his perfect example.
We must remember that our bodies are not our own. We were fearfully and wonderfully made, and in the image of a perfect creator. We are unique and irreplaceable, and it is our responsibility to care for God’s creation. Let us stop thinking of self-care as a selfish luxury, and begin thinking of it as a biblical mandate. Give yourself permission to take care of your body, your heart, your mind and your soul.
Let’s begin by learning that it is okay to say, “no.” The importance of setting boundaries is a hard lesson to learn, but I assure you it’s worth it. Fewer appointments, more sleep. Eat out less, cook at home more. Carve time out in your day to move and exercise. Stop punishing your body; learn to nurture it. Go outside and feel the sun on your face daily. Seek out life-breathing friends and family. Stop the constant multi-tasking and slow down. Rest. Pray. Journal. Seek out solitude. These are the things that make us our best selves. These are the things that allow us to live the life that we are being called to live. Breathe deeply and drink from the well of life, loving on and taking care of the one and only, beautiful you.
“Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” 3 John 1:2