Today’s guest blogger is Michelle Hartgraves from Faith, Coffee and Miles. She is amazing wife, mother and fitness enthusiast with a heart for God. I am grateful for her contribution to FaithFueled Moms and her valued input on how we must take care of ourselves. Check out her thoughts:
Imagine what happens when you neglect to give your home the necessary attention it needs, soon it would be in total disarray, dishes piling up, mountains of laundry needing to be done, etc. Now think about what happens to your physical home (your body, your temple) when it is neglected or your attention is elsewhere; frustration, impatience, weight gain, health problems, spiritual emptiness, and depression are all factors that come into play.
Strengthening our bodies to nurture ourselves physically
Proverbs 31:17 “She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.”
Physical activity is great stress relief. Physical activity also reduces our risks for and complications of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, and much more. When we work out, it sweats out our toxins, and helps us become stronger physically. Regular exercise strengthens our immune systems and can give us more energy to get our tasks done.
Proverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”
When we work out it raises our serotonin levels, which are feel good chemicals flooding your system. It can help us cope with stress, lowers our cortisol levels which can cause weight gain, and gets our mind off what is troubling us at the moment. As if there wasn’t enough stress in life, I have a preteen and a teen so running or working out is my sanity saver. It helps me refocus and re-evaluate. Did you know that when we exercise, we build muscle and stamina, but we also release a protein called BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) which also helps boost the feeling of happiness and effects memory. We feel not only physically stronger but mentally stronger. We have more energy to be in the moment and enjoy our kids, to enjoy daily life and feel better about ourselves.
Nurturing our minds and well-being
Mark 6:31 “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while…”
The Bible speaks about rest several time, beginning with the creation week. The Ten Commandments made resting on the Sabbath a requirement of the Law. Even Jesus rested in his ministry. God desires rest for us because it does not come naturally to us.
Sleep/Rest it plays a part with rebalancing hormone function. Sleep influences our body’s hormone response and insulin sensitivity and is necessary to heal and detox. It helps restore the Nervous system, manage stress, is good for our immune system and adrenal glands, and even lowers cortisol levels. Some things you can do to improve sleep is to sleep in a completely dark room, follow a regular routine for meals and sleep, and include relaxing herbal teas in your nighttime routine. Try to limit starches at bed time and aim for at least 7 hours if you can, or allow yourself to take a nap if you need it. Most importantly of all, listen to your body.
There are several things you can do to give your mind a break. Make time for your self by going for a leisurely walk solo, read a book you have been meaning to read for a while, or fill the tub with Epsom salts or bubble bath. Do what makes you feel rested and rejuvenated. For the Christian, the ultimate rest is found in Christ. He invites all who are “weary and burdened” to come to Him and cast our cares on Him (Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7). It is only in Him that we can find complete rest—from the cares of the world, from the burdens that weigh us down. Journal or write down reassuring Bible verses to memorize or look back on during times of stress or when you feel discouraged.
You are just as important as all of the things and people you constantly give your energy, love, and time to. Give yourself the gift of you – the gift of making self-care a priority, to take care of your overall well-being. After all, how much more of an impact can we make in other’s lives, in our home, and in the world for God if we have the stamina and energy to do it. We can better take care of others if we take care of ourselves.
3 John 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
Do you believe self care is important? Do you practice self care?