So many humans are riddled with grief, unknowns and anxiety in their day to day life. It’s easy to become one of those people when hardship comes your way!
After our adoption failed, it started a chain reaction of insanity in my life and for ages it felt like my soul never had a chance to breathe.
Have you ever been in an unending cycle of crazy?
It’s not a fun, or healthy, place to be.
When you live in that place day after day, it becomes what your body and mind know as truth unless you fight daily against your circumstances.
It’s amazing to observe this chain reaction in others who are also muddling through the “fragrant muck” of daily life:
“For what we need to know, of course, is not just that God exists, not just that beyond the steely brightness of the stars there is a cosmic intelligence of some kind that keeps the whole show going, but that there is a God right here in the thick of our day-by-day lives who may not be writing messages about himself in the stars but who in one way or another is trying to get messages through our blindness as we move around down here knee-deep in the fragrant muck and misery and marvel of the world.” – Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark, A Life In Sermons.
I am doing my best to practice healthy self-care. It’s not a selfish thing to do. It’s not un-Christian. It’s not hokey. It’s important. And here’s why:
If we don’t take time to fuel ourselves spiritually, emotionally and physically, there is nothing left to pour out to others.
But, here’s the tricky thing. When you exist in a land of chaos, you are often exhausted and overwhelmed. Your brain is foggy. Your body is tense.
The whole idea of self-care typically flies right out the window because completing basic tasks quickly becomes a struggle.
When you exist in chaos mode, you’re just happy to get out of bed each day.
Yoga pants are your best friend. So is a messy bun.
And let’s keep it real, if you’re lucky, you remembered to do laundry so your clothes match and are fresh and clean when you walk out the door.
There were days when I’ve run to the store just to buy more clean undies! #truthhurts #chaosissometimesstinky #keepitreal
We all face seasons of chaos.
The list goes on and on.
When daily living itself becomes a struggle, you are long overdue for some healthy self-care!
First things first: BREATHE! Like, right this moment. Deep breath in, then out. Repeat.
I love this quote I found that says deep breaths are like little love notes to our bodies! #allthefeels
After we are done breathing, we clear off our to do list and get down to the basics so we can find time to start taking care of ourselves.
Because if you aren’t fueled spiritually, emotionally and physically, what’s left to pour out to others? Nothing. And ain’t nobody got time for that!
5 Tips For Healthy Self Care When Life Is Overwhelming
1. Naps are your new BFF!
I have done a lot of therapy since our adoption failed. I’m not ashamed of it. It’s been awesome. I’ve also had to visit a lot of doctors related to the effects stress has been having on my body. It’s amazing and scary to learn how stress can morph into symptoms that look a lot like cancer. But let me just say that the medical advice seems unanimous: if you are this stressed out you need to sleep as much as possible!
Take naps whenever you can. Sleep not only refreshes your body, but it helps your mind focus better and your body deal with whatever issue you are currently facing. Whether it’s challenges with a new baby, a messy marriage or the loss of a loved one or whatever life is throwing at you in this moment, you need sleep to help you cope!
2. Take time to be in God’s Word
Ok, I’m the first to admit that this is HARD. When your mind can hardly remember what you ate for breakfast and the laundry is piled high, do you really have the emotional stamina to be in God’s Word? Honestly, H E double hockey sticks no!!! That’s why you need to do it.
Be creative about spending time with Jesus. I created a list of 17 simple ways you can spend more time with the Lord.
Listen to life affirming podcasts, listen to your favorite Christian music and see if you can figure out what Bible verse your favorite songs are based on. Get a fun Bible with girly things in it.
Yes, I said get a “fun” Bible.
My time in the Word doesn’t look like it used to anymore. And that is a-okay.
Cut yourself some slack if you’ve been lacking in Jesus time lately. Don’t get stuck in legalism mode. If you’re stuck in the vicious cycle of guilt and/or feeling unworthy, snap out of it quickly! It’s not healthy.
The Lord wants us to make the effort to be in relationship with Him daily and He loves us even if we are not consistent Bible readers.
I honestly don’t have the mental stamina to be hardcore or consistent in my Bible study right now. I’ve been so emotionally exhausted that it’s been hard to focus, so I got creative and started using Bibles that made me want to open them up because they are pretty and have been set up in ways that bring my heart some joy.
Some of my favorite “fun” Bibles:
- My favorite Bible is the NLT Everyday Matters Bible for Women. This is the one I use most. It has little devotions sprinkled throughout and the tan and rose colored cover brings me joy.
- I love how my She Reads Truth Bible helps me engage with Jesus. It’s bright, fun and indexed so I don’t have to think so hard when I search for a chapter during my study time! Plus I love the coral color. It makes me smile.
- The NIV Beautiful Word Bible also rocks. You can color and let your creative juices flow. I think it’s too heavy to carry with you wherever you go. So it is more of a Bible to stay at home. They also make a beautiful rose-covered cloth Bible, but the print is ridiculously small.
3. Practice the fine art of saying NO!
If you are overwhelmed, the last thing you should do is tackle more, right? So why do we say yes anyway?
Cuz we are a bit crazy? I don’t know. I am wired to say yes! Type As usually are. Learning to say no is an art form I’ve been practicing for years and I still haven’t mastered it.
If you are drowning in the sea of life, you need to clear off your to do list as much as possible and learn to say no, even to things that fuel your soul.
I have had to say no to several speaking and writing opportunities simply because I don’t have anything left to give to others. It’s hard to say no, especially to things that normally bring you joy. But it’s important to learn to put your needs (sanity and health) first.
4. Eat healthy
Notice I didn’t say eat perfect. Because let’s face it, unless you are some type of self-controlled goddess or robot, that’s not going to happen when you get stressed out.
Ben & Jerry’s can still be your bff. Just don’t hang out with them daily. Do your best to eat lots of protein, fruits, veggies and fats to sustain you and give you a clear mind.
Do a Whole 30 if you can handle a positive challenge during this stressful season. (I’ve done 14 so far and I love this program, I learn something new every time.)
Or don’t do one. It’s your choice.
Just make good, healthy choices more often than bad ones and remember to eat food daily.
It’s easy to forget to eat when you are in super mega stress out mode. And do your best to not let the sugar monster control you.
5. Paint your nails or do something equally indulgent
I know, this one seems silly, but it isn’t. If you are a woman who loves to have her nails done, take the time to do it. If nails aren’t your thing, wear lipstick or mascara, even if you don’t wear any other makeup.
One of my friends won’t leave her house without lipstick because it makes her feel special, even when she’s feeling totally messy.
Small beauty indulgences can make you feel a little more put together, even on your most unraveled days.
Whether it’s your toes, hands, eyes, checks or lips, paint it if it makes you happy! Buy fast drying polish if you are super time crunched. Carry lipgloss in your pocket. Whatever works.
And here’s a bonus tip…
Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
God is good. All the time. All the time. God is good!
Our great and mighty God has a beautiful plan for your life. And sometimes, in the middle of all the storms, you just need to trust the Creator of the universe. And offer yourself and others grace.
Even when it doesn’t make any sense.
God can use of all your chaos and your pain and your insanity for His glory. Just let Him!
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28
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