Today’s guest post was written by my friend Melissa Cecilia, and is about something I’ve struggled with over the years, even before I became a wife and mother: self-care. Taking the time to nurture one’s physical, emotional, and spiritual being is key to a balanced life, yet it’s so easy for one – or all – aspects to be neglected, and, before you know it, everything’s out of whack. I hope you enjoy Melissa’s insight and tips on how to create everyday joys! Please feel free to share in the comments what you do to care for yourself.
After experiencing a rough summer and bumpy start of graduate school, it would’ve been easy for me to say, “Well, there’s nothing to be joyful about with everything that’s happened.” However, I know better than to go down that route.
I have a little rule for my life: do something you enjoy every day. It can be as simple as closing your eyes and not thinking about the stress while you listen to your favorite song. Don’t believe that it can help? Allow me to show you how it helped me.
I was in and out of the hospital for most of the summer. Yes, a pain (sometimes quite literally) but nothing that I couldn’t get through. During one late E.R. visit I was able to go outside around midnight and just look at the stars. There wasn’t too much light pollution so I was able to sit outside and marvel at the beauty that surrounded me. It was so wonderfully peaceful to simply sit outside, by myself, feeling the cool air as I tried to look for constellations and shooting stars.
Post-surgical procedure down time is hard for someone as active as I am. I don’t like sitting for more than half an hour. I don’t like not having something to do. I was in so much pain and was unable to do much physical activity for weeks at a time. Instead of dwelling on it, I occupied my mind. I read some of my favorite books (as well as re-read my own novels). I worked on a gorgeous summer-themed jigsaw puzzle. Sometimes even watching a favorite movie would help bring a smile to my face when I wasn’t feeling that great.
Those were just some things I did for myself; how I find joy in the little things. Are you feeling stressed out and stuck? Take a walk in one of your favorite places. This could be around your neighborhood, a park, or even a shopping mall. The idea is to physically remove yourself from the thing that causes you to stress out.
Unable to go out and finding it hard to think of something to do? Make yourself a cup of tea (or the beverage of your choice), go on Spotify or Pandora and discover new music. Have a mini dance party and don’t care about what anyone says. Sing along to your favorite song. Not big into music? Re-read your favorite book – or at least your favorite parts of your favorite book. Even painting your nails can have a positive effect on you. Trust me, I speak from experience.
Self-care is so often neglected, mostly because it can feel like you’re feeling lazy or unproductive. I believe it contributes to our inability to see the good things in our lives. If you’re a busy lady, don’t feel bad about taking five minutes to yourself every day. Sometimes you have to create your own little moments of joy, and that’s perfectly okay.
Heather’s note: Want more? Check out The Visitation Project’s audio episode about self-care here.
About today’s guest writer:
Melissa “Emmy” Cecilia is a Young Adult / New Adult author and freelance writer living in Los Angeles, CA. She holds a B.A. in Religious Studies and is currently studying towards an M.A. in Biblical Theology from John Paul the Great Catholic University. She enjoys swing dancing, hiking, being a budding photographer, and getting lost in the world of literature. In her spare time you can find her blogging over at Journey of a Catholic Nerd Writer.