There is one thing that I don't have a problem with stealing, and it is time. I steal time sometimes because I needed it and no one gives it to me! Really what I mean is that I go running an errand and add in an extra stop to a place that I want to go to and take in a little me time. At my season of life, this may sound a bit silly but I still have a kiddo that needs me at home. My youngest son has chronic pain and headaches/migraines. I try and be home as much as possible to help him through his day. Working a little and just normal errands take me away from home enough, but there is a time that I need to do something to take care of me.
Today I worked and then took off to the South end of the town. I had an errand for Jake and then I stole away for a little shopping. I figured he would be sleeping by this hour as he is cycling through having his days and nights mixed up (he does this every 8 weeks or so and this time it happened because his head hurt so bad that he couldn't get to sleep one night). I was very close to a local hamburger joint that has amazing french fries. French fries are one of my top 10 favorite foods. I debated if I should indulge myself. Then I thought of the drive home in after work traffic and with the added complication of rain and realized how much I would enjoy this time and these fries all to myself. This is when I remembered about self-care.
Years ago I was talking with a woman who worked at a women's advocacy agency because I was looking into doing my internship work for school (I went back to college back in 2012 to earn my BS, finally). She said something that was a new concept to me, "self-care". Most of my life I have tried to care about others. As a Christian, it was the natural thing to me to be a person who "looked not only to my own interest but also to the interest of others." (Philippians 2:4 in the good book) I had reasoned that if I invested in caring for others when they had a need they would in turn care for me. This proved to not be very true. At the time of talking with her, I was nearing a point in my life that I realized that if everyone else was deserving of my care why wasn't I deserving of my care? It took me a few more years and some disappointing things that happened with some friends who I invested care in that I realized that if I was going to get the care I needed I was going to have to take care of it myself. One exception here, and I want to be clear, that my husband in his own way does care for me and patiently listens to me as I go over and over again and again about things that are confusing to me and that I am trying to come to terms with. Yet, even though he does care for me in many ways, he can't do everything. Now I take care of me too!
Taking care of yourself looks like this, you do things that feed your soul. For me, that means writing, spending time alone in my studio, reading the bible and journaling about what I'm reading, listening to classical music, eating cookies and french fries (like today!), having a decaf mocha late at night and things of the like.
There are always chores to do at home and when I take time away for me I do feel like I'm stealing time. I will be honest with you, I do feel guilty too, at times. I have a need to be there for my youngest son. Even being off in my studio feels a little out of reach and like I'm stealing time just for me. I finally found a solution for that. He has a Google home mini in his room and I have a Google home in my studio and we can use them as intercoms to talk to each other. This is part of my self-care, having the Google home devices allows me the freedom to be away but still be available.
Lesson: Self-care is very important. If you take care of anyone it is easy to get consumed with those responsibilities, and if you deplete yourself you will have a hard time giving with patience and joy. Take care of yourself, because you matter too!
How do you self-care?