Putting self-care on our to-do lists

Bench found in the Gaslamp District of San Diego by Andy McMillan

Each week I create a to-do list of things for work, family, and home. I love to check the items off when I complete them ... or hate myself for not getting all of it done! So my list often gets longer each week. Arg!!

But this year I began to notice that I am not on my list! What a surprise! I am often telling others to take care of their self...so why not me? Well, I do put my dentist appointments on. But that is not the self-care I am talking about.   

As we know, working with youth and children is a blessed and wonderful ministry. Yet we all know from our first-hand experience how intense the ministry can be for our staff and ourselves. 

It does not matter what age, gender or how long we have been serving in ministry. We need to care for ourselves and each other. We need to put it on our schedules!

So I have started a new list: Ideas for self-care! No guilt, just suggestions. Here are a few ideas from my self-care lists:

  • A walk with a friend
  • Listen to the music I like 
  • A hike at a favorite trail
  • Swim or other sport.
  • See a movie by myself
  • Call a friend to hang out
  • Visit a museum
  • Read a book in silence 
  • Bake some yummy desserts  
  • Shop at a farmers’ market then make a huge salad.
  • Bring some flowers or veggies form your garden in to enjoy
  • Start or tend a garden.
  • Sleep
  • Window shop 
  • Binge watch a TV show
  • Sketch. It does not have to be perfect. 

Imagine what it would be like to add “eat an ice cream cone” on your to-do list. It is also really fun to check these items off.

My self-care this week was to declutter and paint my living room. I have been putting it off for 14 years. Really!  There was always something else that I needed to do. I finally set a date and asked a friend to help. When I asked my family to help they said yes too. We worked together all week long. We kept each other going. I am so grateful to them, but especially to my friend as she knew it was not about a clean, newly painted room. It was about creating my sanctuary at home. 

Now I can walk into my house and feel calm and joy. That is the best self-care for me.

Please remember that self-care can include both simple ideas, like, for example, sleep, and complicated ones, like a week-long decluttering event. As long as it is some thing that is on your to-do list – and something that takes care of YOU.

One more thing for your list: ask your team what they are doing for self-care. More importantly, show by example that self-care is important to you.

I look forward to you sharing your self-care ideas with the CnC community.

Please share--what do you suggest for our new self-care lists?