Self-care has become quite the buzzword lately. What it means to one person may be entirely different from another. Regardless of what it means to you, part of being able to take care of ourselves is making sure to have time for adequate restoration. The word restoration in the dictionary means the act of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. In the Bible, restoration is always in abundance. When something is restored, it is always better than it was to begin with. God's promise to us is a better way, a better life, a better future for ourselves and our loved ones.
Without restoration, we run the risk of not being there for our loved ones because we become ill or terribly distracted by the world all around us. Restoration does not just happen because we want it to happen. We have to be active participants in our restoration to not only invite God into our lives but to initiate the restorative process in the first place. So many caregivers fall prey to the idea that they do not have time or money to commit to self-care. This is usually why caregivers become ill or pass away before their loved ones do. They burn the candle at both ends until burnout becomes a point of no return.
Others are well aware of the benefits of self-care yet stay so busy they cancel appointments with friends and family because work takes precedence. If only they read a previous blog of mine titled "The Busy Caregiver's Journey" published September 14, 2019, they would know that staying busy is another state of being - Being Under Satan's Yoke. I know because I was under his yoke for many years before I finally accepted the yoke of Jesus. His burden is much lighter than I was willing to experience so many years ago.
I feel now that part of why I neglected my own self-care was because being under Satan's yoke I became driven by my own self-reliance. I truly believed I was in control of the outcome of my destiny if I was willing to work hard for whatever I set my mind to. Some of my tenacious attitudes was driven by the fear of failure while most of it was based on survival. The problem with both of my driving forces was I did not leave time for restoration.
Over the years I spent in the corporate world I pushed my body beyond my limits to meet the demands and expectations of every micro-manager that dangled the corporate carrot to success. It is good to be ambitious, driven by goals, but without boundaries or limitations, we are unknowingly hurting ourselves. I was hurting myself yet did not realize it until my body could not take any more 10-12-hour workdays sitting and binging on comfort junk foods.
Loading my gut with comfort foods that triggered mood swings was one thing but when I started having back spasms and sciatic nerve pain I kept pushing through the pain. I did this for years until I stepped away from the corporate world and began walking more often. The fresh air and meditative walks made me feel like I was enjoying life beyond survival mode. I was engaging in my life which required lifestyle changes on many fronts.
Sounds simple but it is not. You see over the years when I was pushing through the pain, two discs in my lower back became more compressed which caused irreversible pressure on my sciatic nerve, pinching it in such a way that the pain was unbearable. This pain recently stopped me from being able to walk, drive, relieve my bowels, or enjoy intimacy with my husband without being in pain. Cortisone injections were no longer helping so drastic measures had to be taken.
While I was waiting for insurance to approve the surgery, one of my two discs ruptured, taking my level of pain beyond the scale of 1-10 to a 12 or more. Thankfully, my procedure was handled quickly as my faith rested in the hands of two highly experienced surgeons. Recovery has been slow but steady. I am reminded of what the meaning of self-care through restoration truly looks and feels like on a daily basis now.
Sometimes being a better listener also includes listening to our bodies instead of dismissing the warning signs. Now walking is part of my daily self-care regimen. Resting and allowing a relaxed evening to eventually become restorative sleep is also part of my daily self-care. I do not plan on restoring my body back to its original condition because I now understand as a caregiver the importance of good health with a fortified body.
Restoring my relationship with God has helped me stick to my self-care because aside from good health, I honor Him by taking care of my body or temple He has blessed me with. Here are some other ways I have learned to engage my senses in restoring my mind, body, and soul.
10) Soak in an Epsom salt bath for 30 mins to relax and relieve sore muscles (the favorite salt scent is mixing Eucalyptus and Cannabis Sativa Hemp seed oil).
9) Uses Aromatherapy essential oils such as citrus, lavender, peppermint, and many others for relaxation and stress relief throughout the house.
8) Read something new whether it be an article, novel, or self-help material.
7) Listen to binaural meditations and other chill music to relax and direct my mental focus or help recall abilities.
6) write daily whether it is a gratitude prayer, blog, or bigger writing project.
5) Walking to refresh my mind, improve circulation of blood throughout my body, and absorb energy from the earth for grounding.
4) Meal prepping twice a week to ensure healthy snacks, meals, or shakes are ready on demand.
3) Vinyasa Yoga to relax, improve muscle tone, and relieve stress in a low-impact way.
2) Sleep - whether it be a power nap or regular routine nightly rest to achieve 7 to 8 hours of deep sleep.
1) Meditation and prayer time first thing in the morning, even before tea, then again throughout the day or evening.
Thank you for joining in and listening with us today. You can find more about this topic on the blog at www.jessicalizelcannon.com. I hope this gave you more food for thought and until next time, BE PROACTIVE. Take care, everybody.
Intro: Vacation Time by Khris Paradise
Outro: Misty by Khris Paradise