It was in the car after a nice long weekend getaway with my family. We spent the weekend in a comfortable yet kind of strange cottage that had no Internet connection — a true blessing in disguise. We took our time with the trip, embarking on thrilling adventures riding dune buggies over the Oregon sand dunes, walking along the Pacific Ocean coast, and breathing in the fresh air of the Pacific Northwest.
Time felt slow, and it felt really good.
But in the car ride home, about halfway through, I started thinking about all the things that were waiting for me when I got home. One of the days during the trip while we were in a supermarket, I made the choice to take advantage of the wi-fi and check my work email. There were so many. Even though I missed only one work day, it felt like I had missed an eternity.
So in the car, I started making a mental list, knowing full well that my memory was pretty bad. I wrote things down on my phone, starting with work things, then podcast things, then people I needed to reach out to, then things I needed to follow up on for school in the fall, plus the other things that caught be by surprise because I had forgotten about them. And suddenly, there was this tiny voice in the back of my head — tiny, yet so, so loud:
I'm not going to have time for myself.
I shocked myself with this simple statement. While the summer has blessed me with a number of blessings that I am so grateful for, there have also been a number of setbacks in terms of my physical health, from insomnia and fatigue, constant nausea, a frozen shoulder and other things. It felt like while things were moving ahead, I was stuck because I was unable to move or be myself.
The fear of not being able to take care of myself and taknig on too much suddenly became apparent, and it was clear that this lie — I'm not going to have time for myself — needed to be addressed.
Because the truth is, whether we think we have the time or not, we need to make the time for ourselves. That's the only way it will work.
In the past, people have asked me what I like to do to de-stress. This is the point where I realize that I use other work things that aren't actually "work" per se to de-stress. Lately, the podcast has been my de-stresser.
But as much as I love the podcast and aim to put my heart and soul into it, that can't be my go-to for taking care of myself. While it takes care of an aspect of my wellbeing, I actually need to make time to take a step back and slow down.
Life is busy and will always be busy. The first thing to go when we get busy is to ignore and suppress our care for ourselves. Don't let that be the bottom of your to-do list: make it your priority to take care of yourself, in the way that you see fit.
Hold me accountable on this one. Make the decision to shut your laptop down after 10 PM. Use an actual alarm clock to wake you up instead of your phone. Take time to pray, Actually eat breakfast. Go for walks. Take breaks at work. Drink plenty of water. Go see your friends. Schedule you-only time that doesn't involve work.
Whatever that self-care looks like for you, make the time to give it to yourself, because you not only owe it to yourself, but you deserve it. You never are too busy to put aside your own health and well-being.
As Jesus said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Mark 8:36)