Don't forget the self care this week

December 18, 2016

We are all being told that we need to practice self care. In today's fast-paced and stressed-out world, we need to take the time to savor some "me" time, some indulgences, some special treats to make up for the busy lives we live. "Self-care" is a trendy concept, and sometimes trendy concepts annoy me. 

And I cringe a little at the not-so-subtle message that we come first and "deserve" to have all our needs met. Sometimes before anybody else's.

I picture a very self-centered woman, sitting on the couch watching a movie and eating bonbons (whatever those are!), while her children run wild around the house.

Or a woman so busy getting her manicure and her massage that she has to order pizza and takeout at night because she's been so busy practicing her self-care that she hasn't taken the time to grocery shop or plan a decent meal. (Now, there is a time to order pizza; I'll talk about that later . . . )

But there really is some truth to the idea that we must take care of ourselves if we are going to be any good at taking care of others. (That's the key really -- the whole point is not just to live to ourselves only, but to have plenty left over for others. When we're happy, it naturally spills over into others' lives.) Some self care is necessary and is not selfish; we need to find a little balance, especially those of us who like to go all out this time of year to make Christmas special for our loved ones and family.

I love opening up my home for friends and family. December, especially, is a time for showing hospitality and love to those dear to us. Cooking favorite dishes and baking cookies and pies. (I'm making up for lost time now that I have a working kitchen again!) Decorating the house so it looks beautiful. Making sure all the sheets on the beds are clean and the bathrooms are sparkling. Selecting just the right gifts or finishing handmade gifts, and wrapping them all in pretty paper and ribbons. Mailing off cards and gifts for those who live far away.  Going to parties and getting together with friends.

Fun and happy times.

But, if we're not careful, all this can be a recipe for frazzled nerves, short tempers, and burnout. I'll be just chugging along, checking things off my to-do list, feeling chuffed and I somehow forget that I am  a person susceptible to depression, anxiety, and insomnia. I think I should be able to function just like everyone else. (Which is silly, really; like who else? We all have limitations; we all need balance and rest. We need to remember we are human beings, not robots!)

So, I'm reminding myself. Don't forget to practice some self care. 

For me, that means asking myself:

*** Have you been drinking enough water? I don't like to drink water, and can forget when I get busy.

I just bought a SodaStream. Just add some lemon or lime juice to the carbonated water. Stevia optional. Delicious and refreshing, and no more lugging cans or bottles of soda or sparkling water home from the store, and hauling the empties back. Somehow sparkling water is more fun than plain water, and I'll drink more.
*** Are you drinking too much caffeine? I was off caffeine for six months or so. Then I went to my son's for Thanksgiving. With one coffee pot, I was making caffeinated coffee for my husband and son. I had a couple cups, and I tell you, I was flying around that kitchen like Wonder Woman cooking that Thanksgiving meal! So much energy! So much pep! So I have been having a cup or two in the morning again. Have to watch it; it can make me anxious and interfere with sleep.

*** Have you been taking your omega 3s and other vitamins? (Omega 3s help with mood. I forgot today, and just had to get up and do this!)

*** Are you practicing good sleep hygiene? Again, I have slid into old habits, and have to remember that I need to power down the electronics early, take a bath, do something quiet before bed, etc. I start to feel okay, and think I can be on my laptop right up until bedtime. Doesn't work.

*** Have you sat down and spent some time in prayer? So. Important. Just do it.

*** Are you eating healthy foods? I don't need to tell you about all the temptation surrounding us these days. Yes, go ahead and indulge a little. But make sure you also have plenty of fruit and vegetables and don't fill up on empty calories, especially sugars. Talking to myself here. Sugar looks like your friend, but too much, and it will leave you tired and cranky.

Awesome and weird looking cauliflower. I cooked this up in an Indian dish the other night.
Aren't these so pretty? Watermelon radish!
And yes, here's the sugar. Making my traditional Happy Birthday Jesus Coffee Cake to freeze for Christmas morning.
*** Have you allowed yourself some time to read or knit or do something creative? Even if it's just 20 minutes. Again, you are not a robot. (And hey, if you want to sit on the couch and watch a movie and eat bonbons, I'm really not judging. I like to do that myself. A lot.) 

And sometimes you just have to cross some things off the to-do list and give yourself a break. Last week I needed an oil change and wheel alignment, and spent the two hours that I had to wait in the waiting room making lists. Two hours of list-making, with day-by-day lists for the next couple weeks! I have a lot to do, but I also realize I've put many things on my list that are not absolutely necessary.

Yes, I want my grown kids who are coming to visit to have delicious homemade-by-mom meals, but I also want to be relaxed and enjoy their company. Through the years I've often thought of the verse in Proverbs . . . 

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. (Prov. 17:1)

I translate this to . . . 

 Better to order pizza and have everybody happy than to have an uptight and stressed-out mom trying to make everything perfect. 

Nobody's happy around a martyr!

So, friends, I hope you all have a wonderful, beautiful Christmas with your loved ones. But don't forget to sit down, put your feet up, have a cup of tea, and enjoy. Whether you call it self-care, or living a balanced life, or just staying sane and happy, it's important.

And remember that Jesus, whose birth we are about to celebrate, said that Mary had chosen the better part, by sitting at His feet and listening to Him. Martha, her sister, who was so busy and frazzled, really should have ordered the pizza and joined her!


  1. This is such a wonderful post dear friend. I am guilty of not allowing myself some down time during the holidays. It has been non-stop for me since Thanksgiving and I did get burned-out. I had to give myself a break last weekend.

    This is very true and I am so thankful for you to be addressing this subject. It is important to give ourselves the chance to re-gather and relax before we can take care of everyone else. I have started drinking lots more water and adding a few veggies to my diet these days.

    I will be baking and cooking this week but at a slower pace.

    Thank you for stopping by to visit. I always enjoy reading your sweet comments.

    Wishing you and your beautiful family a blessed Christmas.



  2. I so needed this post! I think we averred similar...push and pull and a mind filled with plans and ideas for creating perfection can go awry in the scheme of things for we sensitive ones.

    I can definitely use a little pampering...even just taking a half hour to do my own manicure and pedicure. I also plan a window of time each day to catch up on reading or embroidery. Really just during the holidays...I'd hate to be that rigid all the time. It's my life and now that I'm an empty nester I have my own schedule!

    I love veggies so it's good to know I can mix the fun stuff in. As far as water I've always been a Diet Pepsi fan. Now I have one can a day, usually with lunch. I carry a large bottle of Smart Water with me everywhere. It really tastes least better than any other bottled water or tap water. Having it with me in stores, doctor's offices...anywhere, means I can soothe a parched throat from all the dehydration we experience in during the winter Randall the heated places we go into and the same in the hot summer weather. I have only one kidney so I have to make it a goal. I find carbonation fills me up in a bad way. I think we can make good habits as fast as bad ones!! ;-D

    Thanks for your ideas. I've been dragging lately and this is so positive!

    Jane x

  3. This is a beautiful post and well written for such a time as this.
    As women we can so easily become like Martha with all the details of life this time of year rather than looking at the example of Mary and following after her.

    This Christmas season I have approached things from a different perspective as I shared with you personally and I have to say it has been the most blessed season I have ever experienced. My Christmas Friendship Teas turned out to be the best thing I could have done for myself even though what I was doing was to serve and love on others. Those women so enjoyed their tea parties, but I was blessed beyond measure.
    I wasn't caught up in the usual hectic hustle and bustle of Christmas.

    You have shared some great insight here with us, Deborah, thank you.

    Have a most blessed Christmas and save a piece of that Birthday cake for me please. Sounds quite yummy. :)

    Bless you~~

  4. You are a very wise and beautiful woman, dear Deborah. Thank you for this wonderful post and I agree with Jane...I needed this.

    I thank the Lord for YOU, dear one. Have a very Merry Christmas. Love and hugs!

  5. A very good reminder. I learned some years ago to start paying attention to my body. After all, it is the only one I have, and I need to keep it in good working in order in order to be of use to anyone. So your words definitely ring true in my heart. I love to give and serve others, but I am of no use doing that, if I am sick or stressed. Living a simpler life has been the best thing we've ever done. Our tiny home means less upkeep for me, and more time to make special family memories.

    Enjoy your new kitchen, and the wonderful family times ahead, and may Jesus bless you abundantly as we celebrate His birth this week :)

  6. Such a lovely post, I am guilty of taking too much on at times. Some great tips. Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and best wishes for the New Year.

  7. Great post Deborah. This holiday season can become so stressful if we let it.

    Happy Christmas holidays to you and enjoy some pizza ~ FlowerLady

  8. Good advice for each one of us...a great post! And what a beautiful cauliflower...oh my goodness...I have never seen anything like it! May you and yours have a blessed Christmas, Deborah! ♥

  9. Timely post, Deborah. I actually feel guilty when I take downtime, even though I am pretty good at doing the things to stay healthy. A good little reminder that's it's ok NOT to try to be perfect. That cauliflower and those radishes are beautiful!
    Have a blessed and Merry Christmas.

  10. I woke up too early today and couldn't get back to sleep. Thankfully, I turned on my computer, and saw your post. Your words were directed to me, I am sure. I have read them over 3 times and feel that I can take on this day with a new and very well needed perspective, and I am more grateful than you can ever know, Deborah. Thank you for your words and advice. This very special time of year can be so wonderful, but so difficult at the same time. I get so frazzled that I really do forget the fundamental rule to "put your own oxygen mask first before helping anyone else!" That's changing today... right now. Thanks to you. Have a wonderful Christmas, and remember there are those of us out here who appreciate your honesty and willingness to " say it like it is". You may not realize it, by you do change people's lives. Rosie

  11. This is a thoughtful and well-written post, very timely. I am going to save the post to my self-care file. I was watching the news this morning and there was story after story about helping people during the holidays and spending time with your family during the holidays. It's time we had the holiday spirit year round, without all the shopping, overeating and rushing around. Hubs and I were fascinated by the cauliflower. Do know what variety it is? xoxo

  12. Such a good post! You've said things very well, and I enjoy your sense of humor! If only Martha had known about delivery!😆 Merry Christmas!

  13. Such great ideas you've shared, my friend! I loved your thoughtful verse from proverbs and your translation of it for today! I actually just finished a cup of tea,mwhile listening to Christmas carols. Enjoy this week before Christmas in preparing yummy food for your family in your new kitchen. xo

  14. Now this is wonderful advice from start to finish! I see I have a few things to work on. Lately, I have been asking myself silly self-talk questions like "What can I do for myself that will make life easier in the morning? Oddly enough, it seems to help.

  15. Deborah, this is such a beautiful example of speaking the truth, in love. You are a wonderful writer; you convey your thoughts so well. This is certainly the time of year when we need to be reminded to pace ourselves and to be selective with what gets our energy and attenion. However, it was refreshing to read that it should not be our goal to always have our needs met, regardless of the effect it would have on others. As you stated, we definitely hear that message and need to keep it in perspective. I am learning both of these lessons! Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  16. Hi Deborah, Thank you for sharing your wise words and inspiring post for this time of year and especially this week. I have to say, I do try and finish early so I can enjoy down time with family and friends and I am now on my holiday home vacation doing just that. It's important to know and realize when you can do no more and it's time to take in the joy of the season without rushing and running up to Christmas day. I am strolling into the new year with thankfulness and a grateful heart.

    So happy you are back in your beautiful new kitchen. I bet it is a dream to cook and bake in preparing for the days ahead.
    Thank you for your beautiful blog and all your wonderful writings that inspire and encourage. So glad we are friends and I wish for you and your family a very Merry Christmas and all good wishes in the new year. Blessings and joy xo

  17. This is a lovely post, Deborah, full of simple and important advice for all of us. I'm so thankful for these days at home alone before Christmas to prepare home and heart. There is a temptation to whirl around doing things that don't really need to be done, but I'm trying to take time to read and pray and move mindfully. Exercise is important for me, too - it relaxes me and helps me sleep better.

    Merry Christmas joy to you and yours.

  18. This post written from your heart is so beneficial for so many of us. To be honest, I look forward to sitting in the evening and watching a Christmas movie this time of year. No bon-bons though. It really is a busy season and my days are busy enough along with all these appointments I've had since September.
    I am so glad I stopped my parties because with all my health issues I was getting burnt out. For the moment I am enjoying not partying and only doing a post when I am up to it. I was always under pressure before although I felt I had control of it. I am always busy and because I might carry being conscientious too far, {perfectionism is so hard on one} I had to make a decision. I am glad I did. I am of no use to anyone if I am burnt out. Thank you for sharing with us and I pray your Christmas is beautiful and filled with magical moments and new memories.


  19. All wonderful advice. I am like you with the caffiene...can't have any aside from the few cups in the morning.

    Have a wonderful Christmas!

  20. I'm really trying. It seems the older I get the less time I have to prepare for the holidays, and then everything goes out the window. I am having a massage on the 29th, however. LOL!

  21. Well said, Deborah! There's a reason that flight attendants instruct us to "Put on your oxygen mask first". Merry Christmas, Deborah!

  22. You've been taking care of us with this lovely and thoughtful post. I have my own little list of things that I try to keep on top of ... the water, the sleeping, the vitamins, the down time, etc.

    Wishing you a beautiful Christmas and may you hear His tidings of comfort and joy in the midst of the bustle.


  23. Dearest Deborah,
    Sure we all try to work at our self care. At times not so easy and especially in winter time when everything seems so condensed due to the lack of daylight...
    Guess this is my hardest time of the year as we have no family and I was so used to my Christmas with family. In The Netherlands we have also 2nd Christmas day so we would alternate with the in-laws for switching every other year, who would get the Christmas day and the 2nd Christmas day. It always was a wonderful family time; much like our Thanksgiving here! Not the gift giving, that is on Saint Nicholas on December 5th.
    Okay, have to bake something with chocolate in it today, to keep us happy...
    Sending you love and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.


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