There are seasons throughout the year when we each get busy—be it with work, school, family life or the customary bustle of Christmas time. We wear many hats and each comes with its own unique set of responsibilities; sometimes our schedules are not completely under our control. Still, I want to encourage us to, from time to time, practice and enjoy the benefits of self-care.
A year and a half ago, when I first started my graduate degree, self-care was something that was almost over-emphasized to us as budding counsellors! For a while, I did not really understand how intentional I would have to be in making time to take care of myself.
It can be so easy to ignore the need to take a break.
We each have good intentions—we do our best with whatever is placed before us, whether it takes long days and even longer nights, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, unhealthy eating—it’s like our lifestyle changes and begins to revolve around each item we have left to cross off of the list.
There was a time during my programme that I was terribly busy with school and all that was required of me. My academic advisor gently reminded me that I needed to ensure I took a break for some me-time. I felt like she speaking from either experience of observation when she said, “Kat, preventing burnout is much easier than trying to recover from it.”
This has continued to resound in my mind whenever I find myself feeling stressed or overwhelmed, and it is a reminder I want to gently give you as well.
You deserve to take a mental vacation and/or a physical one! It is so important that you take time to unwind, to relax, to decompress and to de-stress. No matter the responsibilities that occupy your attention, it is so imperative that you also add yourself to the “Priorities List”.
As a parent, it may mean taking a five to ten-minute walk, taking a half-hour break to watch a favorite show or maybe, just to sit in silence and escape the crazy business of the day. Simply taking a few moments to unwind and just close your eyes can do wonders. Don’t underestimate those twenty-minute power naps!
If you’re a parent who’s studying, if you can, take a day. Choose not to focus on school-related things but instead focus on yourself and your mental health. As a student myself in that field, I believe that mental health surpasses merely the intricacies of your mind to encompass your entire well-being.
Self-care will look different to each individual, and in this case to each parent and your methods may be different from mine. That does not make them faulty—it just shows the beauty in our diversity.
You have the capacity to creatively figure out the best means for you; believe it!
Ultimately, to practice self-care will require you to be intentional. To be effective as a parent, wife, mother, father, student, whatever, you NEED to take time for yourself. Do NOT fall into the trap of feeling guilty about that—you deserve some down time.
You cannot help others and be your best if you are burnt out, and if you don’t take a break sometimes, that is exactly what will happen. Take a trip! Take a couple weeks off if your schedule and lifestyle accommodate it! Take 5-10 minutes if that is all you have to spare!
When you make yourself a priority, it empowers you to make others a priority as well.
Until next time, take care of yourself, kick your feet up and relax where and when you can!
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Kathilia Edghill is a creative soul from the island of Barbados with a big heart for God, for her family and for others. She has a deep love for others which led her to pursue her Master’s degree in Counselling in Denver, Colorado to become a Licensed Professional Counsellor as well as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is presently a student therapist of individuals, couples and families. Additionally, she also has a passion and desire to be a missionary. Along with this, she is also a beach lover, writer, blogger, dancer, singer and poet. She finds joy in ministry, a large part of which is pouring into the lives of others and ultimately honouring God.