Lately, I’ve been struggling with burnout. It feels like I’m trying to juggle multiple balls and for a couple days, I’ve got it! I’ve got it! …Then I drop them. I’m spending a lot of time picking up dropped balls.
My everyday routine is also starting to feel soul-suckingly mundane and I am way overdue for vacation.
In the back of my mind, I know I have to dig up that overused, sensationalized cliche word that we are all tired of hearing– SELF CARE.
The fact that I’m starting to hate that word doesn’t make it any less important.
While I deeply believe that our purpose in life is to love and serve others, it is also true that when my cup runs empty, I don’t have anything to pour into those around me.
Along with making sure my spiritual life is sound, I need self care days to reinvigorate and re-motivate myself.
What I’m curious to find out is what other people, like yourself, do on their self care day / self care time. Do you visit a spa and light candles? Do you journal? Run? Hug someone? What have you found that works?
Something I have noticed is that a lot of the popular self care activities that are talked about don’t seem to do much for me. I have friends that get a boost after a trip to the nail salon. But for me, a trip to the nail salon just brings me more stress. (There are just way too many nail colors out there people).
Others insist that exercising does the trick every time. That one is definitely not me right now.
When was the last time you sat down to reflect on whether your self care activities are even effective?
I’m so incredibly curious because I saw a tweet from a young lady who was asking if other people self care with their love language in mind.
(I can’t find the tweet now but if I come across it, I will link it for you all).
By the way, if you don’t already, follow the blog on Twitter: @byDeze
It was then I realized that if I don’t focus on the things that cater to me specifically (instead of following the trends), I’m at risk of wasting my time and stressing myself out even more.
How do love languages tie into self care?
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If you are not familiar with the term, a love language is a term coined by Gary Chapman for his book “The Five Love Languages”. It identifies 5 distinct ways in which a person best receives and expresses love, to feel the most appreciated.
> If you haven’t already, pick up the book here – I HIGHLY recommend it
> Also, you can take this quiz to discover your love language
Love languages are normally used to discuss relationships with other people.
But can I ask you to chew on this-
If you want to express love and care towards yourself, wouldn’t it be best received and appreciated if it is consistent with your own language?
I sure believe so.
Take me for example. My primary and secondary love languages are words of affirmations and quality time. Gifts are at the bottom of my list.
It makes absolute sense that on my self care day, I would probably be wasting my time if I chose to splurge on a new purse. It’s just not me!
However, if I was to read old messages and cards from family members talking about how much they love and appreciate me. I can tell you for sure that that would do the trick. That would fill my cup right up.
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So as you can see, the secret sauce to having the best self care day you’ve ever had is to make sure your activities are consistent with how you best receive love and affection in the first place. Don’t waste your own time.
Below, I offer a few suggestions on ways to speak your own love language on your self care day, when you need it the most.
If you’re like me, you want to be doing something productive at all times. Which means- when I’m not working, I’m running errands. When I’m not doing that, I’m blogging, etc etc. That’s a quick route to burnout. Sometimes I have to just sit with myself or let myself do nothing. Some ideas for your self care day if your love language is quality time are:
- Take yourself on a date
- Do nothing for once. Unplug.
- Have a girls or boys night in to spend one on one time with someone that you truly enjoy
- DON’T: Overbook yourself.
Re-shuffle obligations so that you have more time to spend on those things that you deem as quality
I have a friend whose primary love language is gifts. Even when it’s not in her budget to buy something, it does something for her to just window shop and browse homewares (a favorite hobby of hers). For those with this love language, receiving gifts that they cherish make them feel loved and thought about.
- Gift yourself something (small or big) at regular intervals
Whether that be per paycheck or every 3 months or whatever!
- Celebrate your birthday & Do it up for holidays!
- Have flowers sent to yourself
- DON’T: Accumulate things with no meaning just for the heck of it
Acts of Service
For those with this love language, you will feel the most cared for when things are done that lighten your load. Make a list of things that need to be done and ask for help or outsource the work when you can.
- Pamper yourself
Get your nails done, your car detailed or that hair cut you’ve been needing.
- Do something today that you will thank yourself for tomorrow Something that makes tomorrow easier. For example, if I am procrastinating on cleaning the kitchen but end up doing it today, when I wake up the next morning, it just does something to make me feel happy, at peace and accomplished right when I wake up!
- Splurge on services that lighten your load.
Hire a house cleaner, dog walker, lawn mower or outsource some of your computer-based work to a virtual assistant.
- DON’T: Try to do it all yourself all the time
Words of Affirmations
Growing up, I saw my mom tape up encouraging slogans and sayings like “you will be the first and not the last” or “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”.
The (amateur) decorator in me would cringe so hard about putting stickers on the wall! Now that I know better, I know that was her way of speaking (and constantly visualizing) words of affirmations over herself and our family.
- Make yourself an encouragement binder with cards, notes and other written things that motivate you
- Speak affirmations over yourself and your life (e.g. Psalm 46:1, 2 Corinthians 5:17)
- Speak into other people’s life by telling him you love and appreciate them. You will be encouraged by the positive words you sow in other people’s lives.
- DON’T: Harshly criticize or berate yourself
When words of affirmation is your love language, you are more susceptible to being hurt by words of hate.
For those with physical touch as a love language, physical presence and touch can bring a sense of security. On your self care day, invest in activities or things that bring you comfort and ground you.
- Set a goal to get a certain amount of hugs per day
Make sure they are wanted! (lol)
- Treat yourself to a massage
- Invest in feel good fabrics that make you feel great when you wear them (like silk or fine spun cotton)
- DON’T: Invade your or other people’s boundaries
As you can see, there are so many ways that you can choose to kick off your self care day.
Whatever it is that you do, make sure it’s effective and addresses your burnout and stress.
Now if you will excuse me, my self care day starts riiiiiight NOW.
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“For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church..”Ephesians 5:29 (ESV)