Self-care is crucial to living an authentic life, yet it was no secret—I was burnt out!
With my busy schedule and seemingly endless list of demands, my days were filled with nothing but go-go-go, and my health was beginning to take note—in the worst possible way.
Physically, I was exhausted.
Mentally, I couldn’t think straight.
Emotionally, I was feeling anxious.
Spiritually, I was growing numb.
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Fortunately, it was during this downward spiral in my life—of which I have experienced many—that I was reminded, once again, of something that, deep down, I already knew:
“Learning to love yourself is like learning to walk—essential, life-changing, and the only way to stand tall.”
– Vironika Tugaleva
As Christians, if we are going to make a positive impact in the world, and strengthen our relationship with our God, we must be able to stand tall—metaphorically speaking—physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
In order to stand tall and reach our greatest heights—in order to best meet the needs and care for those around us— we must take time to be still, to reflect upon our lives, our goals, our dreams, our strengths, our weaknesses, and reaccess, if needed, how we’d like to proceed in the future. Ideally, this downtime should take place daily, if only for a few minutes.
PERSONALIZE YOUR DOWNTIME AND SELF-REFLECTION
The time you take to be still—your downtime—can be personalized to fit your exact wants and needs by incorporating some of these ideas:
Record your thoughts in your journal
Deemed one of the best forms of therapy, writing in your journal allows you the freedom to express your every emotion without fear for judgment from others. Invest in a beautiful journal that you will look forward to picking up again and again. I like this one, or this popular Devotional Journal by Shanna Noel:
Review past goals and set new ones
Reviewing my goals helps me to refocus my priorities and get excited about life again. My motivation to focus on the things that truly mean the most to me is renewed an I develop a new zest for life. There is no shortage of goal-tracking resources out there, but my favorite method happens to be the tried-and-true bullet journal. I love having the freedom to design my own goal sheets, and there is TONS of inspiration online to get your creativity flowing, like here and here. Don’t forget to grab some bullet journaling pens to get you started. These are my favorite pens; my favorite bullet journal is the Leuchtturm:
(Which color is your favorite?)
Read from an inspirational book
Slow down your racing mind by picking up a beautiful book. Find a book that will encourage you to care for yourself, rather than make you feel guilty for sitting down for a few minutes. Gorgeous watercolor images throughout the book is a bonus, like in Shaunti Feldmann’s book Find Rest: A Woman’s Devotional For Lasting Peace In A Busy Life:
Turn on some soft music
I remember coming home from a long day of work and hearing the soothing tones of Enya. The feeling of peace that music instilled in me is a feeling I won’t soon forget. Not a fan of Enya? Select your own music and put it to work creating an environment of peace amidst your busy and hectic life:
Soak in the tub
It’s no secret around my house that soaking in a bath of scented salts is my favorite form of relaxation. When Christmas rolls around, my children are never at a loss of what to get me—Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt and Bath products:
Light a candle
Peace. Balance. Harmony. With the light of a match you will, miraculously, have all three. That’s the power of a beautifully-scented candle:
Go for a walk
Nothing is quite as invigorating as a brisk walk around the block. It gets your heart beating, your circulation flowing, and as an extra bonus, helps to clear your mind of all the stress that has accumulated there. Grab a Fitbit to count the steps you take each day. Aim for 10,000 steps daily and your stress level will likely drop significantly:
Indulge in a favorite treat
Often times, my downtime will include a healthy snack or sweet treat. One of my favorites is this Chia Berry Smoothie with Cacao Chunks. Fresh, healthful, chocolatey:
CHIA BERRY SMOOTHIE WITH CACAO CHUNKS
1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
1 banana, frozen in chunks
Blend in hi-speed blender until smooth.
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 T chia seeds
Stir together in a small bowl.
To make the smoothie, add a layer of the berry mixture to the bottom of a glass, topped by a layer of chia mixture. Pour remaining berry mixture on top.
Garnish with fresh mint leaves, frozen berries, shredded unsweetened coconut, and chunks of cacao.
Regardless of what your dreams may be for the future, self-care, self-reflection, and personalized downtime are critical components for creating an authentic life. Only then can you best take care of those around you.
One of my favorite self-care books—full of color and fun activities!
Day 10 Challenge: Take time today for downtime and self-reflection to determine how you might progress physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
This is Day 10 of my Write 31 Days series for 2017: 31 Days to an Authentic Life.
For an index of all the posts in the series, please CLICK HERE.
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