I have a confession. I used to roll my eyes every time I heard the phrases “self-care” or “self-care checklist.” But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve come to appreciate how important it is that we take care of ourselves.
Theologian Parker Palmer put it this way, “Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.” As a mom, I know it’s even harder to rest or find time for our passions when we have little ones to look after all day, every day. So moms (and other busy women!) consider this your super easy two-step self-care checklist to keep you at your best.
Before I dive it, I wrote a post called, “The Only Self-Care Routine You Need” focused on the BASICS. Consider that you’re starting point to make sure you are taking care of your body and soul at the bare minimum. This article is the follow up to that one where we will focus on very practical ways to implement a self-care routine into your life.
But I also don’t want to add to anyone’s plate by saying, “you need to do X, Y, and Z to make sure you’re at your best!” No one needs that kind of pressure, especially moms. That’s why this post focuses on small changes and does not have to be done every single day. I want something that’s easy to follow and to make a habit. Not something that gets you excited at first but makes you feel like a failure a week later.
Self-Care Checklist for Every Worn Out Mom
(This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure here. )
What brings you rest? According to Greg and Erin Smalley’s book, Reconnected, rest is when you “cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh, oneself, or recover strength.” (This book is on marriage but has so many good life tidbits in it!)
Our bodies were not meant to go at full capacity all the time. God even made rest a part of creation. “And on the seventh day, God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” (Genesis 2:2) God wasn’t tired. Certain translated use the word “finished” instead of rest. There is a natural rhythm to life of working, and then ceasing fro work, that even the creator of the world followed.
How much more do we humans need rest? Well, God knew that and created the Sabbath for us – a whole day to rest! How often do we use it? Speaking for myself, not as often as I should. Too often I use it to catch up on tasks I didn’t complete, household chores, or stressing about what I need to finish the next day.
So ask yourself, what brings you rest? I mean real rest. Other than sleep (and as moms, we all know we need more of that!) reading a good book, taking a leisurely walk or bike ride, or just sitting in the sun thinking brings me rest.
Here are some other examples to get you thinking:
- taking a bath
- reading your Bible
- walking the dog
- taking a nap
- taking a break from social media
- making a DIY
- participating in a relaxing hobby
- playing an instrument
TRY THIS: This week, I encourage you do take a whole day to rest. Your “Sabbath” doesn’t have to be on a Sunday either. I also encourage you to take 10-15 minutes out of each day to rest.
2. What brings you life?
While reading through Smalley’s book I was surprised to realize why so many “self-care routines” fall short for me. There is a lot of talk about rest, doing a face mask, painting nails, etc, but not enough talk about what makes us feel alive.
The book puts it this way, “Rest is vital, but not sufficient.” In order to love and bless others more, we do need to occasionally take the time to fill our cup so we can give out of our abundance. These questions from the book helped me figure out what makes me come alive and I hope they help you too.
“What inspires you? What desires are locked deep inside you? what sets your soul on fire? What makes you come alive? What do you enjoy doing? What are you dreaming about accomplishing? What ignites your passion?”
The top activities for me include: spending time with my husband and daughter at a park, hikes in nature, bike rides, and writing/blogging.
Ideas to get you started:
- Having lunch with a friend
- Serving others
- Public speaking
- Starting a business
- attending a small group
What makes you come alive?
TRY THIS: This week, I encourage you to devote at least one day a week to participate in something that makes you feel alive. It doesn’t have to be an all-day thing either. But take at least 30 minutes to an hour to devote to it.
Also, it’s important to note that what makes you feel alive may also tire you, but in a good way. Kind of like how I used to come home and collapse on the couch after a long hike but still feel amazing. That’s why it’s important to balance out what makes you come alive with proper rest.
Do you think this self-care checklist is manageable? What will you do differently this week to get the rest you need and fill your cup?
Also, if you’re going through a season where you feel particularly burned out, I encourage you to read this post on finding a Work-Rest Balance. It has a similar tone to this article but will really help you carve out time to find the right balance in your life.