Walking or running on the beach is part of my Self-Care routine. What is yours?
When I was a young woman in my 20s, I would look forward to warm, sunny weekend days because I could pay a visit to one of my favorite places — the Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center in Tennessee. It was a lovely private park, with nature trails, roads, secret passageways and boardwalks where guests could explore and reconnect with nature. It was not unusual to see people riding their horses there, or staff giving tours to young children about the importance of nature, or a guest stopping and admiring the beauty of a tree, flower or a deer. To me, this place had a more spiritual connection because it was one of a few places where I felt that I could connect with God.
The visits to this lovely center were no doubt beautiful and filled up my soul. I would wander around and enjoy God’s created beauty, feel the sun on my face and marvel of all that was happening at the plant and bug world. But more importantly, it was a place where I felt the presence of God; I could talk to Him and be open to whatever He had to say to me. I felt such peace while I was there. Other times it became a place I could hash out concerns or problems rambling through my mind. This place, this spiritual place, became an important part of my Self-Care and I hope that you ladies also have a lovely place to go to on special occasions when you need to feel the loving touch of God.
When we talk about Self-Care, there are usually a few bible verses associated with the practice. Here is one of my favorites: Come to Me, all of you who work and have heavy loads. I will give you rest. 29 Follow My teachings and learn from Me. I am gentle and do not have pride. You will have rest for your souls. 30 For My way of carrying a load is easy and My load is not heavy.” Isn’t it great that God wants to take care of us and shows us that an important way to Self-Care is to give our burdens to Him!
When you look up the word “Self-Care” in the dictionary, it describes the practice of taking care of yourself, especially in times of stress. Self-Care is active and you must take a vested interest in your own health, well-being and happiness. It doesn’t have to be fancy, expensive or selfish. In fact, Self-Care is self-love — so much love for yourself that you set aside some time just for you — to recharge your physical and spiritual batteries. And while Self-Care is about you — it is also about God. When you are less stressed, when you feel peace, you can probably be more receptive to what God has to say and what you can do for His kingdom!
So, what does Self Care look like? As a Christian, prayer tops my top Self-Care list. Spending time with friends is another form of Self-Care. Women’s Health Magazine, has several other examples, such as: taking a 30 minute bubble bath; exercising for 30 minutes a day; having a five minute dance party in your home (I do this to Kirk Franklin’s gospel music!); disconnecting from all electronic devices for the evening, day or weekend; or going for a long walk with a friend. I also can add a few more too: Set aside each day to meditate on the word of God. Meditation, according to health reports, reduces stress, high blood pressure and many stress-related illnesses such as depression and irritable bowl syndrome. It will also help you connect to God each day — our source; Other options can include reciting your favorite scripture while walking or exercising; joining a WhatsApp bible study for women and setting aside 15 minutes a day to read and write your sisters about your spiritual journey; writing in a journal about your prayer requests and praises; and setting aside time to talk to a loved one like a daughter, husband or cousin about God.
Do you have a spiritual practice that you would like to share that has become a part of your Self-Care routine? How has it helped you? Would you be willing to share and talk about it in the hopes of helping others? Send us a note!
These days I am far away from Tennessee and the Reflection Riding Center. But I still find ways for Self-Care. I go for walks and runs by the beach. I don’t like bubble baths, but I love standing on my back porch, watching the landscape in the morning as I sip my coffee and try to convince my dog that he will not like my coffee. Every now and then, I drop a bit of coffee for him to lick up, which confirms that he does not like the bitter, sugar-free taste and he goes back to bed. LOL! I write in my journal and I have started a flower/vegetable garden. Sometimes my self-care involves a sweet-treat such as brownies or ice cream!
A rose growing in our garden. There is something soothing about working in the garden and that is why it is part of my Self-Care routine.
Ladies, if you do not have a regular Self-Care program, you can start one. You can just set aside 15 minutes to do something nice for yourself — and you will see that after a while will have amazing benefits to your health and well-being, but will also improve your relationship with God!
Have a wonderfully blessed week.