Living a life to build the Kingdom of God and the establishment of Zion gives one the opportunity to hand over their whole soul and sense of self to their leaders. Leaving such an establishment starts the journey of discovering yourself again. Through the journey of self-discovery and processing a history of trauma we have discovered the concept of self-care. This now has become a must within our lives to survive and function through life’s normal ups and downs and the ups and downs of processing our history in polygamy. Self-care seems to have been a movement over the last few years within society, reminding us that it is not selfish to take care of ourselves. We know that it has felt selfish to so many. It feels selfish to be standing out of polygamy as a free soul rather than plugging along to keep your family and friend relations within the group. It feels selfish to move forward and feel joy when you know others you love are suffering, whether from polygamy or not. However, it is not selfish because truly those who practice self-care are the ones who can give from a full self rather than from a place of emptiness.
We each want to share some of the ways we practice self-care within our lives and want to inspire those of you who follow us to join us this year in self-care, so we can all see the benefits of self-worth. Please share in the comments below self-care ideas that you practice to help us build a great list for those leaving polygamy to utilize.
Self care seems like a constantly moving target, but I have found a few tricks along the way to help keep myself on track. While I was in law school I learned the importance of scheduling my self care, especially during finals week or other times that I knew were going to be stressful. It gives me something to look forward to and helped me actually be productive with my study time. It also gave me the freedom to actually enjoy the self-care, and not feel guilty for putting the books down. During my summer of studying for the bar, I bought myself three massages from Groupon and scheduled them out because I knew I would need something to relax me. It worked!
The second trick is follow through. I've learned following through with my "fun plans" is most important on the days life feels too chaotic, and I just want to cancel everything. Recently, a tree fell on our house while it was in the process of selling. We planned that week finding a place to live, instead we spent it removing the tree and fixing the house. We had already planned a snowmobiling trip for the following weekend. It was so tempting to just cancel the snowmobiling trip - we only had 1 more week to move and still did not know where we were going. We stuck with the trip, and I am so glad we did! It was exactly what we needed! We found a lovely place the following week and moved out that weekend - exactly 20 days after the tree fell on the house.
Some of my favorite self care things to do are:
Outdoor adventures - hiking, kayaking, fishing
Spend time with my boyfriend
FaceTime my nieces
Spend time with friends
Take myself to coffee or breakfast
Walk the waterfront
Go for a run outside
Go to the gym
Cook or bake
Explore a new town
Originally this post was going to talk about all the different ways I practice self-care. Such as doing yoga, meditation at night to help me sleep, and incorporating a healthy diet into my life, etc... I was going to talk about my goals for the year to add more self-care to my routine because it has been a challenge to fit any in while I’ve been adjusting to life as a single mom.
I was going to mention how it can be helpful to bring a friend in for that extra motivation and accountability. Which is great to do if you need that boost with the added benefit of some adult interaction.
Last week, I had a friend coming over to do yoga. I had this post all planned out. I was going to have her take a picture of me in a nice yoga pose. I sent my kids downstairs to pick up any toys that might have been left on the floor. They came running back upstairs yelling, “Mom! The basement is full of water!” I ran down and sure enough it was full of water, and it was still filling up. I found the culprit, a window well full of water! I had the kids grab all of the towels in the house and take care of the basement while I went outside in the pouring rain to find a way to get the water level below the window!
As I shoveled buckets of water out of the window well as fast as I could for almost two hours I kept thinking about self-care and this blog post. I knew I was getting a great workout in but still had every intention to do yoga with my friend afterwards. By the time she got to my place my direction for this post changed to practicing self-care in times of crisis and how important it is to remember to take care of yourself when taking care of yourself is the last thing on your mind.
Practicing self-care in times of crisis can be just as important as maintaining it regularly, if not more. Because I had self-care on my mind I was able to think about what I needed that evening. Yoga went completely out the window with the emergency crews going door-to-door to everyone in the neighborhood that was affected as well as the restoration crews coming in to check the damage.
My self-care that day turned into a great full body workout! I was sore for days... Ha ha... But most importantly, I sat down after everything that could be taken care of was and relaxed and laughed and talked with my friend. When she left, I thought about what else I could do for self- care before I went to bed. When I was putting my kids to bed I told them that I needed to make it quick because I needed to go sit in my massage chair, that I NEVER do, and needed a hot bath. They were still feeling stressed out from the evening so they offered to give me a massage so I’d stay a little longer. Remembering myself in this event helped my kids see how important self-care is as well!
Rather than the nice picture of me practicing self-care with yoga that I wanted my friend to take that evening, I’m using the picture she took of me partially dried off, but relaxing, and okay after the events of the night. Having self-care on my mind when this happened helped me realize how important it is to always remember to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself through the hard times will help you get through the unexpected events that life throws your way.
Lu Ann Cooper
Although I would love to go get a massage every week, which I believe is the ultimate self care, my pocket book wouldn't allow it so here are a few things I do for my self care regularly. Some of the things I do to unwind incorporate my kids because I want to spend time with them, usually ;)
Crafts or paint something - getting creative and not caring about the end result is a great way to distress with my kiddos.
Dance - This I do with my kids as well. Turning up the tunes and generating positive energy helps us dance through our house chores too. Yes we look ridiculous but it's good clean fun ;)
Go for a walk with my kiddos or my husband or both
Go to the gym or just for a run to raise those endorphins and keep my brain energized.
Put the kids to bed early and take bubble bath while listening to a life coach podcast or just relaxing music is one of my favorite things to do unwind at the end of the day.
Garden - as soon as it get warm enough I'm out there cleaning up my gardens, trimming my fruit trees and getting everything ready for spring. My garden is a stress free zone.
Sip a cup of lemon mint tea I made from my garden while cuddled up in a fuzzy blanket, watching the snow, rain or inversion out my window and just feeling the gratitude of where life has brought me so far. Being thankful for all the opportunities life has given me and my family since I left polygamy.
Meditation - I like to do this a half hour before bed so I can sleep better.
Positive morning affirmations - I started doing this recently and I can tell you it helps set the tone for my whole day. If you tell yourself how amazing you are every day you'll eventually start believing it subconsciously right?
Organize, declutter or purge a room or closet in my house.
Look at old photos and reminisce the good times I've had.
Watch an old classic with Debbie Reynolds or Jane Powell. Who can turn down a classic? However I also enjoy a good modern chick flick every now and then. And going to the theater is quite relaxing as well.
There are so many ways that I practice self-care within my daily life. This concept was so foreign to me when I left the Order as I was programmed to give give give, so anything for myself felt selfish. I felt guilty that I even had needs and wished I could survive without. It took 10 years for me to begin the daring journey to practice and implement self-care. I am not sure what I was so afraid of; maybe that loving myself was something I thought I wasn't worthy of, or that it was going to be so uncomfortable to go through the process. Honestly, both are probably true along with many other reasons, but the point is that one day I decided I knew what it was like to not use self-care in my life or practice self-love. So I wanted to see what difference it would make if I practiced this concept regularly. I would practice self-care here and there in my life, I would try to be healthy, I would seek inspirational things, tried to listen to positive music, tried working out on and off, went on vacation, but I always felt guilty and quit. After many years of this cycle I decided it was time to commit to a full year of consistency, and can I just tell you the difference that made in my entire self-concept? Trust me, it is worth it to get a little uncomfortable to start implementing self-care; it makes you more capable to give more of you to others and life.
My journey began with fitness and yoga. It was a way I could measure my consistency and yoga helped me tune into my body. I intentionally implemented other practices of self-care and now it has become almost second nature to the point where I am helping my children and husband meet their needs as well. No, I am not perfect at self-care and yes, I have to cycle through the thought process of what can I realistically accomplish in the time I have with the responsibilities and deadlines. Anyways my practices of self-care have become somewhat of a routine in my life. Here is a list of some of the things I do:
Challenge myself with a workout program
Challenge myself with running
Hug my kids
Random dance parties in our house playing awesome music
Play games with my family
Play cards with my husband
Go outside (do anything outside, but go outside)
Try new food
Drink coffee (because I love it and it feels like a treat)
Visit a cute cafe or bakery
Get a pedicure
Color my hair
Read a self-improvement book
Start a new habit that is good for me
Time-management and create a schedule
Follow a morning routine to start my day
Mindfulness (I'm not perfect at this, but I am trying to include it weekly)
Practice taking 3 deep breaths when I stop at stop lights
Soak in a hot bath
Buy a new clothing item (trying to limit myself to 1 item a month)
Plan a yearly vacation
Make a new recipe
Bake something delicious
Clean my home
Watch a movie (without folding clothes or multitasking)
Try to get 7-8 hrs of sleep
Eat one meal that has no processed food in it
24 hr breaks from social media
Attend community events
Go to a movie
Call Andrea and talk about nothing
Color in a grownup coloring book with my kids
Dress up for no reason
Enjoy the imperfect beauty of nature
Spend the day in pj's
Declutter and deep clean
Buy fresh flowers to have in our home
Positive self-talk, practice healthy coping, and identifying my triggers
Visit the beach
Spend time with people I love and who love me
Go on dates with my husband (no kids)
Go on family dates
Schedule something to look forward to each week, even if its taking a night off or doing whatever will bring me joy.
Visualize my goals and the direction I am going in life
Most of all, I have learned to accept my whole self, giving myself permission to feel negative emotions and positive emotions. Accepting myself to make mistakes while I am progressing and learning, and not see my mistakes as failures, but opportunity to learn more about myself. Then, take care of my varying needs and recognize that taking care of myself is how I am able to take care of the ones I love.
Who loves Ted Talks as much as we do?? Here are some great ones related to self-care CLICK HERE
FREE PRINT OUTS BELOW TO MAKE A LIST OF THINGS YOU LIKE TO DO FOR SELF-CARE