There have been many difficult things for me since I discovered my husband’s pornography use. One of those things is taking care of myself.
I have been greatly encouraged by the blog CalmHealthySexy.com by Gaye Groover Christmus. She shares so many healthy ideas. Today she is going to share some of those ideas with our community.
I’m honored that Robi asked me to share some ideas with you, and I thank you for welcoming me into this place of prayer, respite and community. I know that many of you are dealing with very difficult circumstances in your marriages, and I am praying for you as I write this.
Women often find it difficult to take care of themselves. More than likely, you find yourself in that position too. Maybe all of your time and energy are consumed by caring for others, leaving little time or energy for you. Maybe you’re facing situations that just seem overwhelming, and self-care seems like an impossible luxury. Maybe you don’t even realize that your body, mind and spirit need some tender loving care. Or maybe you just don’t believe that you deserve it.
If that’s the case, the thing I want to say to you today is this: You are a beautiful and valuable daughter of the King. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. You need and deserve to care for your body, mind and spirit. You are worth it.
I know it’s hard to care for yourself when you’re caring for your children, managing your home, homeschooling, working, and juggling other responsibilities. And when you add tremendous marriage stress to the mix, it may seem impossible.
But it isn’t. You can make time and reserve some of your energy for yourself. And when you do, your efforts will pay you back tremendously, with more energy, less stress, better health, and a clearer mind. If you’re ready to give it a try, here are 5 ideas for getting started:
- Get up and move. Our bodies were built for movement, but most of us move very little. We sit most of the day, and even when we’re standing we don’t move around. We feel exhausted every evening, but it’s mental – not physical – exhaustion. We feel out of shape and out of sorts, and know we’ve picked up a few pounds. The solution – get up and move. Whether you call it exercise or physical activity or just moving around doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you work your muscles and get your breathing going. So get out and walk, jog, ride a bike, play soccer with the kids, or take a family hike. Work out with a video or DVD, dance, walk on a treadmill, life weights, jump rope, do yoga, or stretch. Do something that moves your body for about 30 minutes, about 5 days a week. Try it for two weeks – I predict you’ll feel better and more energetic. You can make the time, because you are worth it.
- Feed your body well. Your body needs lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, protein, and water. If it doesn’t get those things, it will start to let you down. You may sense a loss of energy, feel bloated, or get sick more often. You may gain weight, even though it seems like you aren’t eating very much. And you definitely won’t look and feel your best. So if you’re eating on the run, grabbing crappy food rather than the kind of food your body needs, take the time to stop and make some changes. (If you’re looking for ways to get started, I’d love for you to download my free ebook – The Busy Woman’s Guide to Healthy Meals.) Yes, cooking and serving healthy food takes some time, but do it anyway – because you are worth it.
- Sleep 7 to 8 hours a night. Most women don’t get enough sleep. Experts say that most adults need 7 to 8 hours each night, but many women get much less. Lack of sleep can mess with your emotions, make you feel terrible, and suppress your immune system (which means that you’re more likely to get sick). And when your marriage is under a lot of strain, it’s even harder to get 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep. But your body and mind really, really need it. So make sleep a priority. Put systems in place with your children and home responsibilities that keep you from having to stay up late every night, trying to get things done. During high-stress/low-sleep periods (newborn baby, teething toddler, sick child), sleep as much as you can, whenever you can. Say no to new commitments, and consider letting go of some existing commitments. Establish a bedtime routine that allows you to relax and unwind. Put away electronics well before bedtime and do something that relaxes you. Make sleep a priority, because you are worth it.
- Get the health care you need. Have you put off going to the doctor? Do you need a pap test, mammogram or other lab test? When was the last time you went to the dentist? Do you need to see a counselor? If your answers to these questions are yes, yes, I forget, and probably, chances are you’re not getting the health care you need. Oh, I’m certain you’re making sure that your children get the care they need, and you may be encouraging your husband to see a doctor or counselor. But yourself – not so much. If that’s the case, I encourage you to begin getting the care you need and deserve. You don’t have to do everything at once. Instead, pick the most important thing, the one that’s worrying you the most or you’ve put off the longest, and schedule it. Once you’ve dealt with that one, pick the next most important thing and address it. Work your way through the list over time, and be sure to fill needed prescriptions and make and keep follow-up appointments. Take care of your body and mind, because you are worth it.
- Pursue a dream, hobby or passion. When you’re raising children or struggling with marriage difficulties or both, it’s hard to see how you could possibly follow a dream, enjoy a hobby, or engage in a passion. But you can and you should. God has given you talents, ideas, and visions of things you’d love to do. So pursue at least one of them. Because when you don’t, you let go of an important part of yourself, a part that adds joy and satisfaction to your life. Now, obviously, at some stages of life you won’t be able to move full speed ahead toward those things. For example, you probably can’t climb Mt. Everest if you had a baby 6 months ago! But you can hike and climb and spend time outdoors. And you may not be able to open a fabric shop if your family is swimming in debt. But you can sew and sell fabric online and research what it would take to start your own business. What dream, hobby or passion has God given you? Figure out a way to make some time to pursue it, because you are worth it.
I hope these ideas will encourage you to invest time and energy in taking care of yourself. Other people and their needs are important, but you and your needs are important too. God gave you a beautiful body, mind and spirit and wants you to care for them. You are worth it.
Gaye Groover Christmus is a wife, mom, technical writer, and blogger. She shares healthy ideas for your life and marriage at CalmHealthySexy.