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Self-Care Is Not Selfish



 

Posted by Pat Elsberry, November 27, 2023


As is typical of most women, especially mothers, we are always running around caring for everyone. We have many roles and juggle so many things we could easily work for Barnum & Bailey! Cook. Taxi driver. Social director. Wife. Mother. Lover. Friend. Teacher. Nurse. Cleaning lady. The list goes on and on, and in many cases, this is all on top of holding down a full-time job. Phew! With responsibilities like this, it’s unsurprising that taking care of ourselves falls to the bottom of the list.


It can be overwhelming when we place all of these daily responsibilities on top of an upcoming major holiday. As we begin the countdown to Christmas, the pressure is on, and to add to the mix, holidays can combine joy and sorrow.


If you begin feeling overwhelmed by the weight of everything, permit yourself to take some time for yourself. Self-care is not selfish.


We cannot pour from an empty vessel.

If you’re feeling anxious or the memories of those no longer with you begin to overwhelm you, take a moment to breathe. I’ve always loved Christmas, and I’m grateful that the tough and heavy grief has eased considerably as the years have passed. However, there may still be moments when we need to step back and minister to ourselves. This may sound foreign to you, especially if you’re a caretaker, but making room in our lives for ourselves is crucial. Even Jesus often stepped away to become refreshed as he spent time with the Father.


Over the years, I’m thankful for some “A-Ha” moments the Holy Spirit has shown me. I hope that sharing them will help relieve any burden you may be feeling and allow you the freedom to take a moment for yourself:


My 1st A-Ha moment:


It’s OK if you are not strong, and it’s OK to cry!


It is!! No more swallowing tears and no more Wonder Woman routines! I read a fabulous article based on the Bible’s shortest scripture–Jesus wept. The following is an excerpt taken from “Why It’s So Important that Jesus Wept” by Bethany Verrett:


“Jesus knew the will of God and that Lazarus would be returned to life. He did not weep because

He was uncertain of His ability to do this miracle or because He feared Lazarus would stay

dead. Jesus wept because He experienced and understood the same feelings as the people around

Him.


The Lord Jesus lived a perfect life, overcoming sin, suffering, and even death itself despite being

clothed in flesh and subject to human weaknesses. Despite living a perfect life, standing before a

tomb, He cried. For people, it does show that it is OK to grieve, to process strong emotions and

terrible situations, and to cry.”


Even though Jesus knew Lazarus would rise and live, he cried because he was grieving for his friend. He mourned. He knew what it meant to be heartbroken and crushed in spirit. If crying is good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me! If you see me and I shed a tear, don’t worry–it’s all good.


My 2nd A-Ha moment:


Don’t worry about whether your sadness makes others uncomfortable. Embrace your feelings and allow yourself the time to feel. If others don’t understand, it’s OK. Perhaps they may have never experienced loss. If you think about how fortunate they have not encountered such a loss, that leaves one sorrowful.


My 3rd A-Ha moment:


It’s OK to take time for YOU!


Instead of being the last person on your list, we must intentionally focus on ourselves. This means different things to each of us. For me, starting small is always best. When I’m focused on self-care, these are a few things I commit to do:


· Walking each day for 30 minutes. Being outside in the fresh air, looking up at Heaven, brings me peace. My pace may be slow, but I’m not in a race.


· Drink 64 oz. of water. This may seem silly, but remaining hydrated does so much for the body and the mind.


· Begin your day with Jesus, whether reading the Bible, journaling, listening to a podcast, reading your favorite devotion, or simply sitting with the Lord and pouring your heart out to Him. If we begin our day with Jesus, it changes our entire perspective. With Him, we can handle anything that comes our way!


We need to use self-care. It is not an act of selfishness. My faith continues to sustain me, and the time I spend with my Heavenly Father gives me the strength to face each day. For today, it’s one step and one breath at a time.




Pat Elsberry is an author, speaker, blogger, and a passionate advocate for parents dealing with grief after the loss of a child. Pat created multiple social media groups focused on providing hope to others who are walking the same path, including her blog, Hope During Loss. Pat facilitates an in-person grief share for women who have experienced child loss, and is also a moderator for Team Sharing, a nationwide peer-led support group for parents who have lost children to substance use disorder. Pat is the author of Beautifully Broken: Finding Hope During Loss, and will soon release her first devotional, Comforted by God. Pat and her husband, Fred live outside Atlanta and have a blended family of 7 children and 5 grandchildren. Her favorite things include traveling, cooking, gardening, dark chocolate, and worship music. You can find Pat on her blog, www.hopeduringloss.com, and on Facebook and Instagram @HopeDuringLoss.

5 Comments


Guest
Dec 07, 2023

Thank you, Pat! There are two friends this season who are grieving loss that I want to pass your words to. Kay Rew - evening Touching Hearts attendee!❤️🙏🏻

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Guest
Dec 06, 2023

I would like your book. Hope during Loss. Could you bring one to Touching Hearts Thursday. Or give to Martha

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Guest
Dec 14, 2023
Replying to

I’ll bring one tomorrow. ❤️

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burrellannette10
Dec 03, 2023

Pat, you have a way with words. Thank you for these!

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