As we tear around every day caring for others, fulfilling our responsibilities, we often forget to nurture our own souls. In her book, “Glimpses of Grace,” Madeline L’Engle tells us she brings peace to her soul on long walks in the woods, soaking in the sunshine and sitting on her favourite rock. My daughter, who lives a crazy busy life with heavy responsibilities, spent hours last weekend preparing her flower gardens for spring. “It’s fun, Mom,” she said. “It gives my spirit a rest.” Peace, energy, joy come to me when I lose myself in my writing. Soul nourishment is unique to each of us and requires intentionality.
Rather than trying to add one more task to your schedule, consider weaving self-care into the midst of your daily living. While waiting in the car for children, husband, friend, read a reflection on peace, or listen to your special music. Turn those few minutes of impatience and frustration into mini retreats. Transform daily routine tasks by letting your mind drift back to a family story that has brought laughter. Take time to pray at meals, when you get up, before going to bed. Eventually, you may even be able to write into that busy schedule a little “me time,” a half hour walk, a soak in the tub, a whole hour of reading.
Intentional self-care prevents burn-out. You control your schedule. You want to be able to care for family, friends and maybe even strangers for many more years. For the next week, try being your own best friend. Take action every day to nurture your soul. Sit in your favourite chair with a special snack, go for a walk to a restful place, listen to music that brings comfort, laugh with a friend or a child. You know what brings you peace. Care for yourself, and you will add goodness and joy to this troubled world.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. “(Matthew 1:35)