When I lived in Seattle years ago, I had a dear friend who went to the gym daily. I admit, I often tried to talk her out of going ‘just once’ so we could spend time together doing this or that.
She explained that it was a necessity for her. It helped battle her anxiety and ground her. I didn’t get it back then. I was younger than her, naive, and I didn’t understand the importance of self-care at that time in my life. Now, I do.
I can assure you that you won’t find me in a gym. The gym is just not my thing. That’s what is great though—each of us gets to determine our own needs in terms of self-care. I don’t think we even recognize how crucial it is to keep us centered and healthy.
Just over a week ago, I began a “Read the Bible in a Year” reading plan. Each day there is an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, and a reading from Psalms or Proverbs. I read each morning, journal my thoughts in my big personal planner, and spend some time in prayer.
For the first week, I was on point. Every day, I followed my plan. The result? I was more at ease with myself and more trusting in God. My eating habits (that plague me) improved. My anxiety improved. My sense of self worth was at an all time high. I felt good, at peace.
Then life hit an extremely busy patch. I missed a morning. And another. And another. I’ve reflected on this, and it is astounding the toll it took on me.
I began to feel the familiar urge to emotionally eat. I began to feel insecure again, worrying if I was enough. I began to question my value.
It was quite obvious that I needed to start my day with the bible reading and prayer in order to be the best version of myself. Starting my day with dedicated time to God is like polishing my armor so I can take on the day like a warrior. Even if I have to get up earlier, this needs to happen.
What is your thing? I would encourage each person reading this to figure out what you need and make it a priority. I’m not saying we can be perfect and do it every single day, but why not aim for that? One missed day doesn’t have to lead to more and more missed days.
Reflect. Be honest with yourself. What fuels your soul? What keeps you grounded? How can you be kind to yourself? How can you show love to yourself?
So often we let the needs of everyone else be first on our list until we have nothing else to give ourselves. Take care of you first. Make the time. A better you is better able to care for those in your life.
I’ve come to the stark realization that what we commit our time to is what we really care about most. I want to care about ME. I want to love ME. I haven’t always done that. And I’ve had to learn that self-care is not selfish, it is necessary,
I want to go back and tell my friend, “I’m so sorry for trying to talk you out of doing the thing you needed to do for yourself. I should’ve cheered you on. I should’ve been on the treadmill next to you.” I get it now.
So, go to the gym. Read the Bible. Read whatever you want! Paint a picture. Take a walk. Take a bubble bath. Write. Swim. Watch your show. Listen to the podcast. Run. Do what you need to do to shine up your armor. I’ll be cheering for you.