When asked for examples of self-care, most women talk about getting an occasional manicure, pedicure or going out for a nice meal. I often responded similarly, until something happened; I discovered opportunities for greater self-care that I’d been overlooking.
I began to identify all the daily things I did so automatically that I didn’t even think about them; I thought about my morning rituals like putting on face lotion and later, grabbing my coat and scarf before leaving for the day.
Then, I started using those things as opportunities to provide affirmations and encouragement to myself – to that little girl within me. For example, as I applied my face lotion, I closed my eyes and imagined (as the caretaker of my heart) gently applying it to the face of that precious little girl. I softly said, “I love you dear one.”
(Initially, this felt really awkward because I’d been in the habit of being critical and hard on myself. You too? I’m glad to share that with practice, it became easier.)
Later, when I grabbed my coat and wrapped my scarf around my shoulders, I paused for just a moment. I reminded that little girl of my commitment to protect her from the harsh elements – for example, by speaking up for what she thinks and feels, standing up for her wants and needs, and providing grace when she makes mistakes.
If you think that sounds crazy, look at God’s Word; He clearly states that we’re to be caretakers of our hearts. (Proverbs 4:23) In addition, He created our relationship with ourselves as the foundation for ALL our other relationships. Therefore, everyone
benefits from our commitment to healthy self-care.
So, rather than an occasional manicure or pedicure, start regularly providing affirmations, words of encouragement and establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries. In other words, start treating yourself like a good friend. Also, remind yourself that investing in your relationship with yourself is a far more effective type of self-care – and it’s free!
How might you find opportunities in your normal daily routines, to provide greater self-care?