I learned several years ago that I respond to specific external factors when it comes to stress management. For instance, I love muted lighting. It causes me to feel warm and relaxed. Even more than that, I love candles — especially sugar cookie–scented candles. Their glow and aroma seem to reduce my stress. I also love quiet. I don't want the radio playing or the TV running for no reason.
What do you like? What calms you? What kind of atmosphere is beneficial to you? Know those things about yourself and make them happen as often as possible. These are small but effective ways to take care of yourself.
I once did a call-in radio show called Midday Connection with Andrea Fabrey. As we talked about the profession of motherhood, a young mother called in. She shared that she was very tired and felt both emotionally and physically depleted. She said the baby slept several times during the day, but she felt she needed to work hard during those nap times. She stated this would "earn her keep" for staying home. She felt guilty taking a nap. I asked her if she needed permission to take a nap. Did she need someone to tell her that taking a nap was a perfectly acceptable way of taking care of herself so she could take care of her family? She said she had never thought about that. I told her, "I give you permission to take a nap. Do it for yourself, do it for your husband, do it for your baby." We need to know ourselves, our needs and our limitations. Then we need to adjust our lives to take care of ourselves.
Maybe you're doing a great job of taking care of yourself. If so, wonderful! But my interaction with women tells me that we don't routinely do a good job of taking care of ourselves. In fact, most of the time we wait until we've crashed, either emotionally or physically. Or we wait until we blow our tops. Or we just plain old wait until our tanks are empty and we have nothing left to give to our husbands and children.
As you begin taking care of yourself, you'll be amazed at the change in energy, attitude and effectiveness you'll experience. Most important, your job satisfaction will soar to new levels.
The career of motherhood is very demanding. The work is worth it, but it necessitates knowing ourselves, setting boundaries and taking care of our minds and our bodies. As we grow in our career of motherhood, we must respect the unique needs of this particular profession.
We must excel at caring for ourselves. To do this effectively, we need to learn about the person who wants to take care of us.
Our Source of Strength
All the things we've talked about are very important, but if we neglect the one who truly can meet our needs, we will always be looking for more. We must understand our value in Christ. Taking care of a family involves mundane chores. It is repetitive work. And it is exhausting. But God's Word is designed to fill us up. God wants to give us rest. He wants us to pull up to his pump and fill our tanks by being in relationship with him. He wants to encourage us with his Word.
When it comes to taking care of yourself, God says, "I want to take care of you. Will you let me? Will you grow to know me more? Will you let me share life with you? Will you let me into your world?" Understanding our worth in Christ is the most important part of taking care of ourselves. He is the Ultimate Filling Station. He will help us keep balance in our lives. He loves us unconditionally.