a guide to self care.

IMG_3568Self care.

Sounds so…selfish. Right? Especially for Christians as we are taught to sacrifice “self” and serve others.

Jesus is our inspiration and guide and even he took some time, spent with the Father, to recharge and fill up. And he is absolute perfection itself! So don’t you think we, as imperfect creatures, need to take the time to recharge?

++ If you’re one of those people that can serve + love + do life without burning out than CONGRATU-FREAKING-LATIONS. You’re ahead of the game so why don’t you just go ahead and advance to boardwalk. (excuse the sarcasm)

But for the rest of us, including myself, I get tired. I get worn. I get stressed. And I need to crawl into a little fox hole with God and R E C H A R G E.

To give you some ideas for yourself I’ve come up with a list of “10 Self-Care Tips” that I abide by. It’s a personal issue and everyone is different, so don’t feel like you have to fit in my version as an anxiety stricken introvert. My husband is an easy-going extrovert (bless him), so his list would look more like “Hang out with the guys. Buy a new cool toy. Watch my favorite show while cuddling with Elisa.” And that’s totally ok :)

10 Self Care Tips and Practices

by Elisa Cobb

  1. Spend time with Jesus. NUMERO UNO, guys. For me, this looks like cuddling up with my Bible, journal and a cup of coffee. Quiet time. Alone with Jesus.
  2. Go for a walk. Like I said above, I’m an anxious person (it’s not something I’m proud of). Going for walks helps calm me down and get my perspective straight. I like to put in earbuds and listen to inspiring music. Sometimes it’s worship, sometimes its Jonsi and sometimes it’s classical. Worship is the best, though. Nothing centers me more than a walk with worship music.
  3. Take a bath. Make this intentional, not just utilitarian. Use epsom salts, candle light, music, your favorite book.
  4. Sit alone with your back up against the wall and your legs crossed indian style. Stretch your back up the wall and take deep breaths. Close your eyes. Focus on Jesus. Focus on your blessings.
  5. Write or Draw or whatever-artistic-thing-you-do. I have a million journals filled with rambles and thoughts.
  6. Make a “nest” with pillows and blankets and cuddle up in it. Watch a show that makes you happy or read your favorite book.
  7. Give yourself guilt-free permission to say “No Thanks” to that volunteer request or invitation to a night-out. I promise you, IT’S OK. But know the difference between a good opportunity to stretch yourself, learn + grow versus an outing that is just one thing to many on your schedule.
  8. S T R E T C H. Do yoga. Move your body.
  9. EAT. Preferably something ultra healthy (scrambled eggs + sauteed veggies + potatoes, for me!) or even a piece of dark chocolate. This isn’t a chance for you to eat your feelings, this is an opportunity to nourish your body. Also make a cup of green tea for yourself, drink it slowly.
  10. Listen to your body, listen to the cry of your heart. I hear you all now, “The heart is deceitful…” And yes, it is. I agree, obviously. George MacDonald once said, “You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body.” That soul is eternal, so take care of it. Confess when you need to. Bask in God’s presence when you need to. Be with people when you need to. Be alone when you need to. Be gentle with yourself.


How do you practice self care?

||Four Ways to Enjoy Christmas for Two.

Whether you’re empty-nesting or newly-married, Christmas for two (or for a small family) can be tough and different. Culture and tradition portrays Christmas as a big affair with a huge family and lots of friends. Maybe you’ve moved to a new state or unforeseen circumstances arose, and you’re going to be away from your family this Christmas season. Or maybe you’re newly married and aren’t sure how to create a special holiday for you and your spouse. Or maybe all of your children have moved out and it’s your first year as empty nesters. Whatever your reasons, I invite you to embrace this new season of your life and make this Christmas the best you’ve ever had.

||Clean the house.

You know what gets me excited about having a holiday party? The preparation. You get the perfect playlist, buy a new scented candle, consider snacks, add special touches of decorations and – you clean. A two-person holiday can feel un-important for the lack of preparation involved. It’s hard to feel cheery when the house is a wreck, neither of you have showered and you’re really not sure what you’ll eat for dinner. This year, pretend you’re having a huge group of people over and get the house ready. Create the atmosphere of holiday hustle and bustle. It’s totally worth it to make the season special, even if it’s just for you and your spouse. As my mother-in-love would say, “Add some ambiance.”

||Order Chinese.

Don’t stress a big meal if that’s not important to you. If you don’t want a Christmas tree – don’t get one. Here’s a crazy, new, mind-blowing concept – have a relaxing Christmas. Now is your chance to give it a try!

||Be Non-Traditional with your Tradition.

There are two ways to look at your small Christmas. You can gripe and be sad, remembering Christmas past and realizing, “It just isn’t the same!”. Or you can smile at the future and new ideas, remembering Christmas past with joy but also realizing with excitement, “It won’t be the same!”. Don’t try to force Christmas past into Christmas present. Did you grow up with a huge family meal and a Secret Santa exchange? I’m sure that was wonderful, but with two people that probably won’t work so well. Change it up! Create a complex (and maybe expensive!) dish with your spouse that would be impossible to afford or pull off if there were more than two of you. Slow dance to Frank Sinatra in front of the Christmas tree – who knows where that might lead ;) Have a Christmas Day party with all of your adult friends, include cocktails and fancy-schmancy appetizers (sometimes being an adult can be fun!). Essentially – don’t force it. Let go of past traditions that don’t work for your lifestyle anymore. Instead, create and explore opportunities for new traditions and experiences.

||Be Young.

While doing fun grown-up things can be a new Christmastime experience, don’t forget to channel your inner child as well. Build a fort around the Christmas tree and spend the night under the glowing lights. Buy matching jammies and watch a children’s Christmas movie. Play around with different hot chocolate concoctions (but since you’re actually NOT a child – peppermint vodka anyone?). Allow yourself to get excited about the Christmas parade. Have fun with this holiday!

||Be small.
Embrace it. Maybe for Christmas Eve, you and your spouse can go out to a nice meal, a lovely candle-light service and then finish your evening with a glass of egg-nog and the Bible, sitting in front of the Christmas tree meditating on the reason for Christ’s birth. Or Christmas morning can be celebrated at the Homeless Shelter, serving meals to families less fortunate and realizing that the world is so much bigger than ourselves. Small Christmas can truly be a wonderful thing.