People love their cars. We have apps to remind us when to change the oil, get inspections and perform routine maintenance. Our cars are often equipped with warning bells and lights to let us know when something is wrong and need to be addressed. But we don’t usually treat our bodies, minds and souls with as much care.
My experience is not unique but nor is it limited to women like me, who stay home with their children rather than pursue paid work outside of the home. All of our lives require upkeep and routine maintenance. Without this our minds become stagnant and prone to anxiety, our souls begin to recede and we can feel very much alone. We need to take better care of ourselves. As a stay-at-home-mom, I take care of the majority of my household. I’m the one who makes sure everyone is well fed and has clean clothes. I try to keep the house from descending into total chaos. But my work doesn’t stop there. I’m always thinking ahead; getting ready to homeschool my daughter and serving in multiple church ministries while my mind swirls with ideas for even more projects. I don’t leave much time for myself. I usually end up with the end of night, exhausted hours where I have little left to devote to things that I feel passionate about. My body is too tired to stimulate my mind and I end up feeling both worn out and yet underused.
This is a great picture of burnout and it’s not limited to moms, women or even people working multiple jobs. It’s about whether we make time for ourselves. I don’t necessarily mean making time to do your nails or watch a favorite TV show, though that may play into it for you. It’s about giving yourself space to pursue things you are passionate about; having goals that are just yours and not connected to the rest of your family. For a long time many of my goals have been about being debt free, or homeschooling our kids, or focusing more on healthy family lifestyle. But those things aren’t really about me.
This week I was encouraged by people who love and care about me to take some time for me. Not just a day or an hour when I can find it, because that won’t happen. It needs to be scheduled and regular. A time that I can look forward to and count on when things get difficult, as they always will at some point. A way to give myself physical, mental and emotional space, something that is usually lacking when I spend all day with my kids.
If we make regular time for ourselves, we are less likely to burn out and be forced to rest at times that are not of our own choosing. A car that gets routine maintenance is less likely to die, and leave us stranded on the side of the road.
So how are you taking care of yourself? Or if you aren’t, what are you going to do, change or rearrange to make sure that you are take better care of yourself in the future?