my main thesis is that we cannot truly love others [& thereby obey Jesus' second greatest command, matthew 22:37-40] until we learn to love ourselves.
agape is nothing if not action, & this applies even to finally loving myself. i wrote last week about why taking care of yourself is important & why it's part of loving yourself [& loving God & others]. today, i want to talk about actually taking care of ourselves. what that means in specific action. i like to categorize everything in my life & to make lists, so here's my areas of self-care:
>> physical -- taking care of my body from the outside in
>> nutritional -- taking care of my body from the inside out
>> mental -- taking care of my brain
>> emotional -- taking care of my heart
>> spiritual -- taking care of my soul
taking care of yourself PHYSICALLY >> this means exercising, stretching, toning, strengthening, hygiene, taking your makeup off before bed, moisturizing, sleeping enough, going to the doctor for regular check-ups, keeping your nails clean & neat, shaving!
taking care of yourself NUTRITIONALLY >> this means eating good food, limiting junk food, watching your portions, drinking lots of water, taking a multi-vitamin, taking other needed supplements &/or medications, & for me, giving yourself necessary shots.
taking care of yourself MENTALLY >> this means learning [never stop learning!], retaining what you know & learn, reading, doing puzzles, challenging yourself, practicing hobbies, taking breaks when needed, setting goals & working towards them.
taking care of yourself EMOTIONALLY >> this means allowing & recognizing your feelings, not repressing, dealing with your feelings [both past & present], facing your fears, reducing stress, learning to breathe, cultivating healthy coping mechanisms, taking breaks, journaling, loving, forgiving.
taking care of yourself SPIRITUALLY >> this means [to me] spending time with God every morning before i do anything else, in the middle of the workday, & before i go to bed, reading His word, memorizing & meditating on specific verses or passages of scripture, taking a personal retreat once a year, journaling, praying, praying, praying, listening, learning, practicing the spiritual disciplines, loving.
so, in keeping with my love for list-making, i hereby present:
the top 10 things i'm going to do
to take care of myself for the next week
10. exercise every day except sunday.
i'm pretty nervous about this commitment because i'm a notorious slacker in this area, but i'm hoping making a commitment in blogosphere public will help me get up & get going! exercise can include running, circuit training, aerobics videos, yoga, & long walks. i'm signed up for a 5k on april 13th & need to kick my rear in gear!
9. wash my face every single night.
i also stink at this & go to bed more often than not with my makeup on... but in the interest of my skin, my pores, & my self-esteem, i'm going to prioritize this each night. plus, my face washing routine is one of the most relaxing experiences, so it also helps me go to sleep.
8. cut out the junk food completely.
i'm going to define this as non-nutritional sweets [ex: cake vs. granola], fried foods, fast food, & processed snacks [ex: chips]. my sweet tooth is already aching at the thought...
7. drink only water & hot tea.
hi, my name is danae, & i'm addicted to dr. pepper. seriously. when i have a bad day, shaun knows it because he comes home to me sitting on the couch with a 2-liter... i'm really bad about drinking anything except water, although i don't dislike drinking water in the least.
6. read one hour every day.
i've been working on a book for some time, & i really want to finish it this year, but i still have quite a bit of research to get done, so i'd like to set aside some time for working on this goal.
5. paint something at least two times.
i love to paint. it's very therapeutic to me, & it's one of my favorite hobbies. i have hoped to paint more consistently so i can develop my style & skill & so i can produce some art for our home. i even have my easel permanently set up, but i never seem to make it to the stool...
4. decompress three times during the work day.
this just means taking time to breathe & refocus for a minute or two. i'm very task-oriented, & i can get so bogged down in my 2do list that i forget to prioritize or get stressed out. i like to close my eyes, breathe slowly, focus on how i feel physically & emotionally, adjust anything needed, & check my priorities before returning to work.
3. journal every night.
even if it just means a quick sentence about my day, i want to be better about pouring out each evening onto paper because it clears my mind, eases my heart, & prepares me for rest like no other remedy.
2. practicing the discipline of simplicity.
"stuff" can weigh you down & distract you from what is truly important. this is particularly true of me right now. my house has not gone through a good decluttering in too long. this week, i'll spend at least 15 minutes each night culling through my wardrobe, drawers, cabinets, papers, & basement to release things i don't need & don't use. i'll take these to goodwill at the end of the week so they can bless someone else.
1. keeping sabbath on sunday.
for me this means focusing on God, worship, & rest. i don't plan to be legalistic or anything, but i am not going to do work or errands or clean anything. most importantly, i am not going to have a single item on my 2do list! i want to spend the day with my church family, in fellowship, praying, reading, indulging in hobbies, writing, or cooking. these things are restful to me & conducive to my focus on experiencing the presence of God.
you'll notice i have two list items per category of self-care. i've set alarm reminders & created items in my 2do list to help me with my top 10 list. i'd also appreciate any accountability. i'll report back next week with my results -- how successful was i at sticking to my top 10, which actions made the most difference, & how i feel about myself as a result.
i encourage you to come up with your own top 10! or top three, or even just one thing you can do every day this week to take care of yourself & thereby make progress in F.L.Y.ing -- finally loving yourself!