I have never been a trendy person. I got my first pair of skinny jeans two years after they became a staple in most of my friends’ closets. I have never used a snapchat filter (and actually don’t even have the app). I did not even think about trying the unicorn frappucino.
We live in a world now of trendy words – slang, buzz words, catch phrases. And in this world of constant new buzzwords, I often have to seek counsel in our college students to explain the meanings (and usage) of such words and phrases. They explain that “on fleek” means cool, great, smooth, etc… and also that it is “so 2015”, and I am too old to be using it. They told me that “Netflix and chill” does not mean what I think, and I should stop telling them all about how it’s “my favorite thing to do with Cary”. I have no idea who Felicia is and why she is always going somewhere. And really, even my examples are not trendy – I have no earthly idea “what the kids are saying these days”… I should just stop trying.
One phrase that I’ve been noticing in my circles lately, and one that does not need decoded by a 18-22 year old, is “self care” – those things we do just to take care of ourselves. Now, taking care of yourself is not a new concept, but I just feel like I’ve been seeing people more aware of how intentional we have to make it in order for it to happen in our busy, over-scheduled lives. While I find most of the sentimental memes associated with “self care” on the whole pretty corny (side eye to you Mr. You Can’t Pour From An Empty Cup), I do resonate with the intent and the desire.
I think a lot of us, me being one of the worst, are really good at distracting ourselves, but not truly caring for ourselves. I attended a Bible study taught by Jennie Allen a couple years ago that called this “numbing ourselves”. We want to rest, but instead of finding things that make our soul feel rested, we flip between 3-5 social media apps and scroll through the same posts for two hours. Or, we turn on Netflix and watch an entire season of a show we’ve seen five times (why yes, husband, I am in fact watching another episode of the Office. Maybe Jim and Pam will get together in Season 2 this time.) Since then, I have become painfully sensitive to the times when I am giving my soul rest / care, and the times when I am numbing myself with distractions. Jesus calls us to times of rest, but I think He calls us to intentional rest – rest in silence, in play, in art, in others, in Him – not with our phones on the couch (ouch – that one hurt). So, that is why I actually love the idea of self care.
Basically, self-care is like chicken soup for the soul. Side note: Remember those cheesy books from 1995? My personal favorite was Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. I think every devotional I led at any retreat, camp, or youth group girls sleepover came straight from that book, and was simply supplemented with a Psalm or Proverb. Also, did you know there are close to 200 “Chicken Soup for the ______ Soul” titles? It’s right up there with “______ for Dummies”. I think the best one is “Chicken Soup for the NASCAR soul.” …. ANYWHO…… Back to Self-Care….
In case you resonate with any of this and need some encouragement, I wanted to share with you a list of the things I do for self care. My original list was about twenty items long, but I pared it down to seven. Please note, everyone’s list for self care will, and should, look different. Someone may say the “run” for self care. That someone is not me. Also of note, our self care lists can and should change. The list I made back in 2015 when I went through Jennie’s NUMB study looks very different than my list today. And I’m sure my list will continue to evolve as our seasons as a family changes. That’s the great thing about preserving thoughts in a blog! Here’s what I have right now:
Jinny’s Self Care List:
1) Take Maddie to school on Friday. Cary and I both have days off on Friday, and originally I had grand plans for our little family and ALL the adventures we would have with three day weekends every week. We were going to have ALL. THE. FUN. And then life showed up and I realized how lovely it was for there to be a place for Maddie to go (that she LOVES going to) that also allowed Cary and I to have some uninterrupted time to get stuff done. We run all, or at least most, of our errands and try to do our chores on Friday. This allows for less hurrying on Saturday, and for us to be more fully present for family time on the weekend.
2) Quiet times at the coffee shop. I was not coffee drinker before 2011. But I dated and then married a guy who loves coffee shops so we ended up hanging out in them a lot, and I have learned to love coffee, and coffee shops! My favorite thing to do on Friday mornings after I drop Maddie off (see #1) is to head over to Summer Moon Coffee and enjoy a cup of their magic “moon milk” latte with a book, a bible study, or my laptop (to clear out my emails, because cluttered inbox = cluttered mind). It really is the most tangible “me time” of the week. Sometimes self care means getting to work and being productive, and other times it means “treat yo self”)
Speaking of reading in the coffee shop, here’s what I’m reading right now. It’s called “Of Mess and Moxie” by Jen Hatmaker. It releases on August 8th, 2017, and if you liked her last book, “For the Love”, you will love Moxie. I’ll have a full book review here on the blog later this summer.
3) Monthly Check-in with health coach. I meet with a lady one Friday a month (that’s the goal, at least) just to talk about my health. We take weight measurements, talk about water intake and diet, stress levels, and make some healthy decision goals for the month. She helps hold me accountable and helps keep me from getting too far off course.
4) Bible Study. I spend every Monday night around the table with 3-10 of some of my dearest friends. We eat good food, share about the highs and lows for the week, discuss our current Bible study, and most importantly, pray for one another. It is a privilege to sit around the table with them, and no matter how crazy of a day it has been, I always leave with a fuller tank because of them.
5) Eyebrow threading. I don’t wear makeup, so getting my eyebrows done makes me feel pretty. Self care is not always deep and reflective. I’m also really loving doing a weekly mud mask facial. It makes my face smooth and refreshed and is a great way to start the week. The masks that I am loving right now are Trader Joe’s Face Mask Trio
6) Go to bed early. Like 9:00pm early. 8:30pm if I’m feeling really wild. The late night hangouts are the one area I simply don’t relate to our college students on. I cannot function on little sleep. My goal is a solid eight hours every night. It makes me be a better sonographer, wife, mom and all-around personable human being. Thankfully, my daughter feels the same and cooperates with the whole “sleeping” thing. #blessed
7) Spend too much time in a hot shower. I do not rush my showers, and would rather go without than have to jump in and out. On the mornings I oversleep or run short on time, I will sacrifice other things – like breakfast – in order to get a slightly longer shower in. One does not simply ” rinse off”.
So there you have it. I’m curious – what’s on your list? Leave a comment and let me know what you do to refill. We can all learn from each other!