You know the philosophy flight attendants so graciously share before a flight? The one that informs each passenger in case of an emergency, put on your own oxygen mask prior to helping the person next to you? Yeah, that one. I guess whoever made that rule never met a woman before.
This instruction is great in theory. It’s great unless the other people around you begin totally freaking out and actually needing help. If that were to happen, I guarantee you there would be women all over that plane caring for everyone else first. And then suddenly the caretakers run out of oxygen. What then?
Perhaps all of my life - I have seen it as a personal responsibility to take care of everyone around me… whether they need it or not, y’all. If they need a meal, let’s get them a meal. If they need someone to serve them, let’s find a way to serve. If they need money - let’s take up a collection. Nevermind that up until this last year, my own well-being was breaking down from the inside out.
I had so poorly taken care of myself that I couldn’t even recognize what was wrong with me. I was constantly irritable and had taken on an unusually critical spirit. I was sleep deprived and running ragged and let me tell you, sister, it showed. I'm actually surprised that I didn’t lose more friends because of the grouch that I had become. But Lord, let me serve the people! Grouchy and all!
What I realized was, serving everyone else was actually just deciding not to deal with my own junk. In this weird backward messed up way, helping others was an excuse to not help myself. Protecting others, fighting for others, loving others was the number reason I didn’t have time (or energy) to protect, fight or love myself.
Weary and burnt out in January, this realization caused me to dive in to “self-care”. Y’all, I hate this term because it sounds so selfish. But what I’ve found to be true is I can’t pour out what hasn’t been poured into me. It just doesn’t compute. So, at thirty six, I am learning to take care of myself. These little nuggets do not at all come naturally to me - they are actually things I really have to work at. But when I do, it silences my inner grouch and that, my friend is worth it.
I cannot express how important sleep is for me! I went to my doctor a while back, sick as a dog and somehow it came up I hadn’t been sleeping well… for months! As we discussed the causes and the symptoms, he said, “Becky, good sleep begets good sleep!” Well, what the heck am I supposed to do to get that first good sleep then?
I reached out to my friends for serious prayer - I mean, y’all I was texting “please pray I sleep well over the next several months so I can behave like a human again!” They all chimed in with suggestions:
Keep your room pitch black.
Find the just right temperature (for me it’s extra cold)!
Keep heavy blankets on your bed.
Go to sleep without a screen… put your phone down!.
These tips helped me tremendously, along with an all-natural sleep aid.
This has been almost as important as the sleep portion of it. I’ve adopted a paleo-ish lifestyle over the last six months, and when I am eating pretty clean, my anxiety is nearly gone, I have more energy and I’m able to think clearer. Even if you don’t do paleo or a diet change, cut out as much processed food as possible and see what the changes are like!
I was waking up and immediately scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. Sister, this is not a healthy dose of reality to have first thing in the morning! I determined for me, the best practice is a 20-minute stint in the morning and one in the late afternoon. When I follow the rules I’ve set for myself, my mind is more at ease, I am more confident and feel a stronger sense of self. The more I scroll, the more dissatisfied my soul.
SCHEDULED TIME AWAY
Scheduling time away is different than stealing time away. I always ended up feeling guilty when I took time for myself. But when I scheduled the time, setting it aside intentionally, I found it so much easier to relax and actually enjoy myself.
I hope these short little tips helped! I’m thankful that God has shown me how to take better care of this little five-foot nothing’ self this year. I might be late to the game, but gosh, I’m sure glad I arrived.
Becky Leach is an artist, instagrammer, wannabe runner and obsessive coffee drinker. She is mom to three crazy kiddos and married her high school sweetheart, who just so happens to also be her State Representative. The beat of Becky’s heart is to equip women in living their best life, fully engaged with the love of Jesus while passionately running toward their unique calling.
Connect with Becky:
Instagram : @beckyleachtx