There are many people in my life that have a life of service. I can look around and name people that I see on a daily basis.
I know that they have not only spent their life serving others, but they will continue to. Not only that, but their children are continuing the tradition.
Volunteering has always been a part of my life. It is something you do for others, as much as yourself. It enriches our lives as well as others.
However, how much is too much? When does serving others become a means of avoidance of living our own lives?
I recently gave a little talk on self-care for a group of homeschooling mothers. It was very simple and not terribly formatted. I realized though, that often what some people take for granted as normal, every day activities, constituted self-care for many homeschooling mothers and I believe mothers in general. This was the basic checklist we went over.
Self Care Checklist
- Have I scheduled my physical this year?
- When did I last shower?
- Have I had a new haircut in the last year?
- Does my bed have fresh sheets on it?
- What hobby have I not touched in awhile? Find one that takes 15-20 minutes and set aside time in the day to do it for only 15-20 minutes.
- Do a series of exercises that take 5-10 minutes every day
- Did I eat today something with protein, a green leafy vegetable and fruit? How many times did I do that?
Many of us, as mothers, moms, would not hesitate to jump in to volunteer for a good project, but we might look at this list and feel overwhelmed. “A hobby? What is that? I shouldn’t be wasting time on stuff like that.”
I love volunteering. I love doing things to serve others. But I have had to realize that sometimes in order to be a healthy servant to others, I have to take care of myself first.
Sometimes this means taking a day of resting and doing nothing, even if you don’t have the time. When I feel I am fighting sickness, I force myself to stay in bed or on the couch for a day. I drink lots of fluids and just sleep or rest all day. It really knocks out sickness faster than anything and revives me for the week. If I go a week without a day of rest, even from going to good places, I end up depleted and worn down. I tend to snap when I don’t want to, have less patience and really just am not the nicest person.
If you can’t take care of yourself for you, do it for others. It is one of the best gifts you can give to other people. Be kind to yourself so you can be kind to others.