Caveat: If you’re going to use self-care as an excuse to lie on the couch and eat bonbons while your responsibilities pile up around you – this isn’t for you. This is for those of us who are need to be able to get back up tomorrow, and sometimes forget to refuel properly.
Taking care of yourself is just as much a responsibility as taking care of your children, your husband, or your home. I know. We’re all full of the shoulds, and feel like our needs should be met by … well, I don’t know… but by magic, I suppose.
Self-care falls into three categories, basic maintenance, long-term storage and emergency shoring up.
Basic maintenance is stuff like brushing your teeth and making sure you eat properly. It involves time with God every day, remembering to call your friends, and giving yourself enough time to get where you need to go so that you don’t feel constantly scattered.
Long-term storage looks a lot like basic maintenance – but it’s the habit of years that builds up over decades, not just stuff you have to do today. This includes things like making sure you get to dental and doctor’s appointments, and eating well *all* the time. It means that if you become damaged, you get to physical therapy, and if you see your body degrading, you do something about it – you don’t let it rot. This includes things like maintaining family relationships and planting trees.
Emergency shoring up looks different for everyone, because emergencies, by definition, throw habit into disarray. It means giving yourself a little extra kindness, but still keeping basic maintenance and long-term storage in mind. It means learning to ask for help, and show your weakness. It takes humility to do it right, at least IMO.
You have to take care of you. As the family maintainer of all things (which is what every SAHM is, and most mothers in general) it falls firmly on your shoulders to be responsible for your own maintenance. Yes, your husband is responsible for you in a larger sense – but should he have to micromanage your life? No, you’re an adult. You have to do this, it won’t happen on its own.
So why am I talking about this right now?
My husband is having some medical problems, and I am stressed out of my ever-loving mind. I can’t DO anything about his health, I can’t make anything better, and it’s making me completely crazy. Things should be taken care of soon (God willing). But right now, I’m stressed. Not an emergency, but a season that isn’t a lot of fun.
So what am I doing about that? Since I *cannot* fix what is wrong with him, and I’m already supporting him to the limits of my ability, I need to take care of myself. That means that I’m taking more naps – because stress = tired. It means that I’m taking my mental health seriously – it’s time to make sure I hit the beach for a few minutes to watch the waves. It’s time to return the phone calls and follow up on loose ends, so that I don’t have that stress on my mind – I don’t need any extra.
It is what it is, but I’d be a fool to do something like start a diet or add another task or take on additional responsibilities elsewhere right now. I can’t DO anything for him – but I *can* make sure that I’m the best me I can be FOR him.
When you take care of yourself, you’re not being selfish, you’re being smart.