We live in a world where the amount we carry on our own shoulders is equated with our own character – what we can “handle” often determines the respect and regard we receive from those around us. In my graduate school experience I have had the opportunity to meet with several clients for therapy, and they all have something in common: they are desperate for release.
Life is too much sometimes, and it is okay to admit this truth.
Sit with it and breathe it in. And then, breathe it out.
I know this is not always the easiest thing to do. We are all so conditioned to deal with things internally or through destructive and non-productive behaviors – this is when we find ourselves digging farther into a hole that we may or may not have created in the first place. The map to achieving this release and relief looks different for each of us because we are all heading to different places. It is up to us to take care of ourselves – we are called to guard our hearts and honor our own bodies, which includes recognizing when we need this rest. Our Father has created us wonderfully and fearfully and equipped with his grace to experience taking care of ourselves. Although your way of caring for yourself may look differently than mine, I want to provide a few suggestions for self care that I think will be helpful, especially if you don’t know where to start:
- Get Outside
Warm, cold, rain, shine – step outdoors. Breathe in the fresh air and find somewhere beautiful to go. That may be simply walking into your backyard or out on your patio. Wherever you find yourself mesmerized by the natural world, go there.
Creativity is a powerful force and something I believe we all possess in different ways. We are made in the image of our God, and he is the ultimate Creator. I once read a research study proving that making something with our hands has immense benefits for our mental and emotional health. Cook, write, draw, paint, photograph, compose, sing, play – do things that are rooted in creativity.
- Find a Friend
Being around those we love can be healing and refreshing for so many aspects of ourselves. Grab coffee, curl up with a cup of tea, go for a walk – do something with someone you love and someone who puts your mind to rest. This may also be an opportunity for release verbally as well. The power of talking through something can be so very beneficial.
This may be one of my favorites. Take a bath. Dim the lights, play some music, and don’t move for even just 10 minutes. I often add essential oils as well. Some that are wonderful to use for creating relaxation are lavender, eucalyptus, vetiver, patchouli, and cypress. This is not only refreshing to your mind and heart, but also to your body. If you don’t like baths, you can substitute a hot shower. Some of my most meaningful times of prayer have been standing in the shower after a long day.
- Reach Out
Talk to someone. To a professional. A counselor. Although I am a bit biased (I am a therapist), I believe opening ourselves up to a therapeutic relationship with a professional counselor can help dissolve so many of our stresses. This isn’t always an option, I know. However, there is no problem too big or too small to bring to the table in a therapy session. I have had clients pour their hearts out over a hard day at work or sit silently in the face of grief and the death of their loved one.
- Rest in Jesus
He is the ultimate source of life, of rest, and of release. I cannot say this enough. He is faithful and he is constant, unlike so many of the experiences we have in this life. Turn on some music (my favorite is currently “Simple Gospel” by Will Reagan), read his Word, and ask him to speak. He certainly will.
PC: @Arielraee via #tsbweekend