It pains me to see people who neglect to make self-care a top priority! The cost seems glaringly obvious to me because I have lived at both ends of the spectrum. At one point, I was Addicted to Busy and letting personal matters slide big time. My life structure was haphazardous, based on some misguided religious logic about serving others and living sacrificially. The end result was that my health fell apart.
On bed rest, I finally had all the time in the world to reflect. My life, especially as a woman of faith, is meant to exude joy, peace so thick I can rest in it, and the energy of love. The reality at that point was the opposite. I hated that habitual self-neglect made me a cranky bystander in my own life. My precious family was on the back burner. It seemed like I never had time to slow down and enjoy the world around me. Unfortunately, I believe this is an all too common scenario… people swamped by commitments, jumping from one activity to the next, never really living, and often unsatisfied with the outcome.
As my body healed, I fell in love with this new vitality and peace! I decided this is the direction I wanted to maintain, toward joy and longevity. I left behind a doctrine of viewing neglect as holiness, unapologetically! Turns out, the power to care for me (and my family) cannot be outsourced to a pastor or any other person. So, I implemented new boundaries that prioritized my personal well-being above all else. Then I thought, “what daily steps do I need to take for this to actually stick?” I made one list and then another, but homeschool nerd mom that I am, I finally arranged it into an acronym, BLESSED.
Starting most days by reading the Bible fuels my will to become a woman of faith and substance. In short, it centers me. Plus, it gives God a chance to carry on a conversation with me that never really stops. I often walk away from this time with renewed gratefulness, clarity, or a new directive. I hope this investment in my spiritual life is evident and I hope my devotion affects those who spend any amount of time with me, especially my family. Faith in Jesus is a living, vital thing that connects and guides the four of us.
Writing regularly in my journal is another thing that centers me. What do I feel joy about? What grief or worry is weighing on me? This is all equally worthy of savoring; It’s all the essence of being alive! This last winter we lost my amazing mother-in-law and the power to just be present is a healing gift. My teens are rapidly becoming independent people and recording poignant or funny moments as their mom helps me experience it fully.
Sometimes I use this L to stand for a dietary log. This body is another gift, my only vehicle for exploring this beautiful world. Food is the fuel that can make all kinds of stresses easier to tackle. But when I go through busy or emotionally intense seasons, it’s easy to just grab what is convenient or go overboard with comfort foods. So, logging is a tool that makes me more likely to be mindful.
How am I doing, really? I try to stop once a day and evaluate. Am I managing these daily priorities well? Do I need more sleep this week, less sugar, more social time, or time with my husband or teens? Are there feelings I am shoving down, needs, or relationships I am neglecting? Recently, I realized I should cancel a commitment in favor of more alone/outdoor time because I was getting too short-
tempered. Evaluating is the most significant thing that I do to keep myself engaged in a joyful life.
I just don’t trust modern food sources to have it all. My favorite vitamins are pretty affordable, two-per-day from Life Extension. I also take probiotics, drink Kombucha, and frequently throw in an iron supplement because I’m a flexitarian.
This can also stand for an interim intention set to address a temporary situation. It usually occurs to me during Bible or evaluation time. Getting over covid meant I was supplementing with extra sleep, nutrients, and short massages. When our family has busy weeks back-to-back, I arrange special activities so we stay connected and communicative. Simple, regular dates with Steve help us keep processing grief.
How many of my friends over 40 wake up stiff and out of sorts on occasion? This is why I appreciate my morning yoga with Sarah Beth. To quote Well+Good, “When it comes to physical activity, the equation is fairly straightforward: The more we move, the better our bodies are able to support movement… The more sedentary we are, the stiffer and weaker we get, so the more difficult movement becomes.” Nurturing my health every day is the stitch in time that saves nine.
One reason I love my family life is that we exercise together daily. Most of the time I head out the door for a brisk walk with Steve. Otherwise, it’s a family bike ride, paddleboards on the intercoastal, or a stroll around the golf course after hours. 30 minutes a day keeps the cardiologist away, plus it is excellent for my mental health and our family relationships!
I wish I hated chocolate like my husband, but I am lucky in that I really detest pop. I start off with a full glass on my nightstand and aim for 5 glasses by 5 p.m. Water is magic! It reduces the risk of cancer, keeps my skin looking younger, removes toxins, and increases blood flow for a healthy heart. Plus, it keeps me fuller between meals and makes me leave my desk to move around. I start off with a full glass on my nightstand and aim for 5 glasses by 5 p.m.
This silly trick works for me
BLESSED represents my daily habits and boundaries for well-being. I set these goals 8-10 years ago and I am astonished at how well a simple acronym idea works. I determine never again to be sidelined by poor health or float along in a life that feels lackluster.
What are your priorities, and how does that look on a daily basis? Let this be a wake-up call to you if you need one! It is time to impose limits, set boundaries, and care more for yourself first. Friends and family can love on us, but NO ONE can manage our self-care for us.
If you need a nerdy homeschool mom to customize an acronym, just hit me up.