I remember years ago watching a news story about a married couple navigating the grueling recovery road after the husband had been severely injured while serving in the military.
At one point the camera pans to the wife as she sits in a waiting room, passing time once again as her husband went through more tests and procedures.
She took out a small bottle of lotion from her purse and rubbed a small amount on her hands, not unlike how anyone would rub lotion on their hands on any given day without giving it much thought.
But then she commented that sometimes she does little things, like taking the time to rub a nice-smelling lotion into her hands, simply as a small act of self care. It was as if she was saying, “This is one of the few moments I have to do something for myself. And this is a small thing I can do for myself.”
Sitting quietly in a waiting room rubbing lotion on her hands had become a tiny sliver of calm in the midst of horrible chaos. Can you imagine? That was her sliver of calm. Rubbing lotion on her hands.
It broke my heart. And encouraged my heart. Such a testament to the human spirit.
It was a stark reminder of what happens when your world is shattered in a moment, and each day from that day forward—at least for the time being—is either bad or worse. Each day is either bad or worse.
The hard things we each navigate are unique. Not everyone has a spouse severely injured by a roadside bomb in a foreign land. Not everyone goes through a divorce or has a child die tragically or watches their life’s work destroyed by fire. Not everyone is tasked with dealing with a mentally ill family member.
But many people do trudge through the above circumstances or other scenarios. We all have had moments in life where we had to fight each day just to get our bearings.
So don’t rule out small acts of self care that can help you brave the storm. And maybe “brave the storm” isn’t the right word picture, because in the face of stress and tragedy, who among us really feels brave?
Maybe small acts of self care are just what help us breathe.
Whatever they do, they can make a difference.
My self care as of late has been on the small scale. Each night I go to bed listening to an app that plays the sound of the ocean. Simple, right? What a difference it has made in my sleep. I also sleep under a weighted blanket. That helps, too.
And I have good friends who are anchors, even as they too are being tossed about by treacherous waters. We unpack our lives, commiserate, ponder, laugh, cry, sit silent—and then scan our rocky calendars for when we can do it all again. Just to keep our sanity.
I pray. That’s good self care too, you know. To lean in to God, even when the conversation feels jumbled (well. it feels jumbled on my end. He never fails to have the uncanny ability to stay the course).
Sometimes self care means sitting in silence for even 10 minutes. Or going on a brief walk. Or stealing away with a good book. Or taking a hot bath.
So what about you? If you need to up your game in the self care department, do it. Even small acts of self care can make a difference. And you are worth it.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.