Self Care: The Non-Beauty Edition

Hi, friends! It's already Wednesday! This weekend Daniel and I are heading to St. Simons Island and staying at a resort for our birthdays / upcoming anniversary! I can't wait to share our trip afterward. It has been a dream having Daniel home. We celebrated my birthday this past weekend by getting pedicures, relaxing, and going bowling with our friends. I got a little sick Sunday so I am finally back in full swing today.

I have mentioned a lot on the blog and on social media about my love for self-care. Self-care means different things to different people, and also different things to me. Today I am sharing my non-beauty self-care routine. These are mindful things I do for my soul care. Things to renew my spirit, my body, my mind. 

Time with Jesus: This is probably the most crucial thing I do for self-care. Let me also say it is very obvious when I have not done this - just ask my husband. As my former boss and friend Lysa TerKeurst says, "We must exchange whispers with God before shouts with the world, because our mind is a sponge when we wake up, soaking up whatever we give our first thoughts." Right?! If my first actions are scrolling through social media, I am instantly looking to the world first thing. This leaves me feeling empty, less than, left out, etc. It is crucial for me to spend time with Jesus in the morning. I am not saying this is true for everyone because Daniel loves to do his at night. But for me to be loving, kind, confident, and secure in who I am in Christ and not a total pain to be around, I have to do this first thing. 

Prayerful Meditation: This is something we have started doing regularly that our counselor encouraged us to do (more about counseling a little further down). Prayerful meditation can look like a few different things. One way is to work through the fears you are facing or imagining while picturing Jesus in the room holding your hand, watching you, and speaking to you. Another way (my favorite way) is to listen to someone speaking scripture and truths over you. One of my favorite podcasts, Revelation Wellness, has certain episodes called Be Still and Be Loved. These episodes are 10-20 minute meditations to scripture and quiet music and they have altered my self-care routine. Truly revolutionary. It's like a faith-based yoga Shavasana (if you don't do yoga, this is the pose at the end where you lay completely still and rest after working hard). I cannot recommend these enough!!

Positive Self-talk: I have struggled with body image for as long as I can remember. I distinctly remember looking at myself in the mirror when I was 4 years old and wondering why my tummy was bigger than the other girls. I can't even believe I was susceptible to the enemy's lies when I was that young! As this has carried into my adult life, my insecurities have not changed, but the way I try and handle them are. There would be times when I would stand naked in front of the mirror and dissect every part of my body apart in the mirror. I spoke with a mentor about this and she challenged me to look at my eyes in the mirror and not to even glance at my body. When I look at me for me, rather than everything I wish was different, the hate and anxiety go away. So rather than talking mean to myself or dissecting, I give myself a pep talk. I have to repeat over and over "fearfully and wonderfully made", "unique and set apart", "daughter of the King", "perfect in His sight". It is crucial that we saturate ourselves in what He says about us, rather than what the enemy or others say about us.

Regular Counseling:  I will try not to ramble here, but if you know me personally at all, I have probably encouraged you to go to counseling. I am the BIGGEST advocate for counseling. I believe we are all somehow screwed up, and it's healthy to process any and all things with Godly counsel and wisdom. I have been in counseling since my mom died at 16 years old, and I attribute so much of who I am because of how I grew in that small room with Meredith. Early in this process, I was going weekly and biweekly, and now it looks more like 4-6 times a year for solo sessions with my counselor of 7 years. Daniel and I did marriage counseling, and have actually continued to be in counseling since we have been married and I think it's been the best decision we could make (a different counselor than my personal one)! With the stress of military life, being apart a lot, and just being married in general, it has been so great to remain in counseling. This was something an older married couple encouraged us to do, and I see why! It has enhanced how self-aware Daniel and I are, which allows us to know each other's push points and how to help one another through personal issues. Highly recommend!

Healthy Eating: The way we feed our bodies is crucial for our bodies optimal response. If we feed ourselves crap we feel like crap. The end. If I want to feel my best, I feed myself whole foods that provide energy and satisfaction rather than high fatty, artificial, fried foods that leave me feeling, well, artificial and like a fatty. Get it?

Exercise: I aim to workout and be active 6-7 times a week. This does not always mean it's super high intensity. It could be a nonheated yoga class or a walk in the neighborhood. I aim to do high-intensity workouts 4-5 times a week (runs, hot yoga, orange theory). I feel best when I pair eating well and working out because it helps your heart and raises your endorphins - and those make you happy ;) 

Reading and Podcasts: I aim to do more listening to pocasts and reading of books than watching tv. When I bingewatch Netflix I feel less productive than if I read or gained wisdom from a podcast. 

I hope these have been helpful. What are your favorite ways to care for yourself mindfully and spiritually? I will do a beauty version of this soon!!