Self-Care of a Holy Temple

An evaluation of my physical health is always front and center at the New Year, in large part because I am exiting an extended period of holiday festivities where I consumed more and moved less in the busy of it all.  It is a time for me to regroup, or as my health coach said to me yesterday – a time to “recommit to ‘all the things.’”  For me, ‘all the things’ include hydration, training, eating correctly, mind work and good sleep.  In other words, self-care. 

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body. 

1 Corinthians 6: 19-20

In my teens and twenties, I had always been in-tune to my health as far as staying active and eating right.  However, as I entered my thirties as a mom of four, wife, business owner, etc., self-care went by the wayside shortly after having my last baby. In fact, it became non-existent out of desperation to keep up with what life was demanding from me at the time.  During these years, I’d swing up and down on good and balanced eating – gain weight, lose weight, gain weight, lose it again.  Exercise, same pendulum – run a marathon, not do any running; strength train, leave the weights behind for a bit; train for a triathlon, put my road bike away for a few months.   Hydration and good sleep – same cycle.  This yo-yo state that I was in continued on for a good ten years. 

It wasn’t a lack of awareness.  I was always cognizant of what I should be doing to keep myself in balance.  But, during these years my needs were the first to get eliminated when pressed for time.  When put under pressure with too much to do and too little time, I simply deleted self-care.  It bought me some room in the day to get everything done for everyone else.  Don’t misunderstand what I am saying.  I am fully aware that we all go through periods of time that press in on us due to life circumstances.  For me, it was trying to get a family, business and home off the ground and running all at the same time.  During these times, it is reasonable to readjust our routines.  That is life.  The mistake I made when I got into the thick of my thirties was leaving my entire self behind – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I didn’t readjust or rebalance; I took myself completely out of the equation and landed in an exceptionally low place.  There were days I remember looking at my reflection in the mirror wondering where I had gone.  Where had the once bubbly, petite, energetic me gone? 

Each and every day became survival mode….like trying to tread water with weights around my ankles.  Who can relate?  Not only was my physical body suffering, but trust in keeping my word to myself had also evaporated.  I routinely let myself down and dishonored my commitment to self-care.  Then I’d isolate myself during these times because, of course, I did not want to be seen this way.  This only intensified the problem.  And, do you know what is ironic about the whole thing?  This is the same person that would never do that to anyone else.  If I tell you I’m going to do something, I do it.  If I commit to something, I’m there.  If my kids need me, here I am.  Husband calls, how can I help?  But when it came to myself, I was a complete no show.  It’s hard for me to reflect on those years and write about them because it is a place of huge disappointment for me personally.  I cannot fully express how badly I felt inside.  But, I’m betting some of you know either because you are there now, or have been before. 

It was only a couple of years ago that I began to face up to my own self-sabotage. I was unintentionally killing myself under the guise of keeping everyone happy and everything rolling along.  It was from this place that I began to slowly dig myself out from under it all.  It required establishing consistent routines and honoring myself the same way I would anyone else.  I had to build trust in myself again.  It also required me to learn how to respectfully say no, and then not feel guilty about it. I learned that a yes had to be my best yes.

I think as a mom, it is easy to fall into the role of placing others’ needs ahead of your own.  What I failed to understand was that I couldn’t take care of others well if I wasn’t well myself.  But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Corinthians 9:27).  I’ll never forget being in one of those valleys when my kids were younger, and my mom saying to me, “Carre, you’ve got to figure out how to get yourself well and in a better place, because it’s not fair to your kids/husband for you to remain here.”  She was right.  It wasn’t fair to them for me to remain unhealthy.  Here I thought I was giving everyone my all, when in reality I was giving them much less.

And so, my journey back to self-care began….physically, mentally, emotionally, AND spiritually!  Today, I’m in a much better place.  It required a wholistic approach, with consistency and help from a coach and counselor.  My coach has become a lifeline for me.   She consistently helps me ‘calm the chaos’ and reminds me to keep my promises to myself when I feel things closing in on me. 

I don’t ever want to go back to a place of no self-care.  Instead, I’ll continue to work to be 1% better every day.  When I read the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6, I realized that caring for my body isn’t just honoring to myself and those around me, but also to my Maker.  He created me with purpose and desires me to care for my body.  Fulfilling that purpose requires consistent self-care across all areas of health.  It is a daily battle. Just this morning, I had to 9-1-1 a friend for a quick pep talk.

What is it for you?  What are “all the things” you need for proper self-care so that you can be your best version of you?  Find your peeps, finds your routines, find your supports, and then get at it. After all, this is who God created you to be!

xo Carre

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