Laura Howe 00:00
Hey there, I'm pumped to share that we are about to open registration for The Care Ministry Cohort. Now the cohort is a group of ministry leaders who meet weekly for five months. The Hope Made Strong team leads this group through conversations about building a strategic care ministry that doesn't burn out your team with all the done for you templates, but you can think of for more information, go to care ministrycohort.com.
From Hope Made Strong, this is The Care Ministry Podcast, a show about equipping ministry leaders and transforming communities through care. supporting those in your church and community not only changes individuals lives, but it grows and strengthens the church. But we want to do that without burning out. So listen in, as we learned about tools, strategies and resources that will equip your team and strengthen hope.
I'm Laura Howe, and welcome to The Care Ministry Podcast. Today's topic is a regular one on the podcast, but I want to revisit it because it's something that I'm actually currently working on. Now, I often advise people that we should only share from our scars and not from our wounds, share things that we have already healed from and that no longer trigger us, not from issues that we are currently working through and healing from. And I think that's really good advice. But today's topic is something that I'm not sure I'm going to fully achieve the topic is self care. Now I am sure I can't be the only one that struggles with prioritizing my own needs, rather than putting everyone and everything else first. I'm a mom, a caregiver, and I'm trying to assess and meet the needs of others. So it's really hard to not to always push down my own well being for the good of others.
Some days I feel strong and carve out time to move, eat meals at appropriate times and real food and my work day on time. Then there are other days that I don't leave my desk, I eat a bag of carrots and a bag of chips for lunch, and find myself checking email long after the workday is over. And I know better. Oh my goodness, I literally teach others about the importance of self care. And yet here I am still struggling. But alas, I'm a human And caring for myself admits others supporting others is really hard. So in this episode, I want to walk through a self care ladder that I personally use to help self care more manageable. And isn't that weirdest thing the thought of being overwhelmed with the need to be kind of ourselves, it sounds a little bit like a first world problem and super petty. But I think it's a result of having huge expectations put on us expectations that no human could ever achieve alone. You are likely in the same boat, you're running a household, you're supporting immediate family members being available for extended family. You want to be a supportive friend, and a willing community volunteer, then there are work demands adulting expectations like bills and, and those little things that eat away at you like keeping up your license and registrations.
There's just so much there's a lot going on. So self care can feel overwhelming, especially when we are looking for support. The first response, often that we hear is what are you doing for self care, it can feel like just one more responsibility to add to your plate. And to be honest with you, it's not wrong because self care is your responsibility. No one else is going to take care of your needs. It's just you and Jesus. We can't depend on our spouse to make us happy. We can't rely on our bosses to be supportive and available. And we can't wait for our friends to reach out. Yes, all those things are wonderful, they feel good and they are gifts. But our happiness and our well being and our mental health can't rely or be dependent on others. So how do we do it all? How do we manage all the things while at the same time engaging in self care? And for some of you? The answer is you don't there's no self care. And the result eventually might be burnout, resentment, compassion, fatigue, and slowly unraveling and I've been there I know that destructive feeling of numbness, it's not a good feeling. It impacts every single area of your life. So the only option is to figure it out. How can we care for ourselves living in a busy world and caregiving for others.
Now in this podcast, there really isn't enough time to dive deep into this topic. But I do want to offer you two strategies that I have personally used to help self care fit into your very busy life and I've even used As one this week. Now, the first strategy or the first tool is called what's on your plate. I've mentioned this exercise before and the under different in a previous podcast, but I think it is so good, it bears repeating the what's on your plate tool is a multi step exercise that walks you through evaluating what is on your plate of responsibilities. Now you can grab this, I have the download available for you for free. And you can get this by going to the shownotes hookbaits strong.org/episode 99. And put in your information and it'll be emailed directly to you. Now in this exercise, the goal isn't to list everything and then feel bad. That would be an awful exercise. And it's not to cut out major things in your life that are important to you and that you're responsible for. But simply to evaluate what needs to be on your plate and what perhaps you could decrease by even just small amounts, or delegate out. Or if there is a possibility remove. Now I have found myself exhausted from doing all the things only to recognize that I didn't ask for help, or I didn't want to delegate because other people didn't do it the same as me and I and I wanted it done a certain way. And it was a real eye opener. And once I realized that I did this for the first time, I recognize how often I do this for many different areas of life. And I suspect that's pretty common for others to that you find yourself frustrated or resentful, maybe overwhelmed and exhausted. And it just because you have so much on your plate. So I recommend going to the show notes and grabbing the what's on your plate exercise and then setting aside 10 minutes to walk through it. It has been really helpful to number one, validate that I'm tired because I do so much. And number two really strategically, look at okay, what are some things that I can decrease or removed from my plate? What are things that I absolutely must do, versus thing that I'm choosing to do because I want control. I know it hurts, but it's true. At least it was true for me. All right, so that's what's on your plate exercise. Now, I have another tool or concept that will that will help you engage with self care or fit it into your really busy life. And another reason why I can get overwhelmed with practicing self care is because I feel like it takes a lot of time it costs a lot of money or requires a lot of energy that I simply don't have. A
nd then I remember the self care ladder. Now the self care ladder is a way that I have organized self care to prioritize when I need because I can tend to think of self care as being these big things that require a lot like vacations or spa trips or going to spin class. When really, it's just the foundational things like eat, sleep and moving. Think of the self care ladder as being almost like a triage of self care or a hierarchy of self care. Because it helps me keep things simple. I grouped self care into six different categories, six different steps. And while you can start at any step, I personally like to start at the bottom. That's why I put it down there and move my way up. Now in total, the six categories are Eat, sleep, move, connect, laugh and learn. Just about every activity could fit into these six categories Eat, sleep, move, connect, laugh and learn. But everyone is unique in what they consider as being a part of these categories. Now, let me explain that what I mean, not everyone's gonna like the same food or the same movement or have the same sense of humor. But each person can identify what would refuel them in these categories. Now, I want to break these down a little bit. So let's walk them through them together. First one is eat now this is the first step for me because our body needs fuel to work and fuel. Food, at least for me, seems to be the first thing to slip when I'm struggling with exhaustion or a busy schedule, or maybe even facing burnout. When I'm exhausted or find myself overwhelmed. I start with having something to eat, because most likely I've pushed off lunch or just substitute it with junk food or trying to eat well on the run. So the first thing for me is eating the first step of self care for me is to ensure that I eat real food at appropriate times.
The next step is sleep now. This can actually be sleep and napping and sleeping at night or it can mean rest in general. Now a few weeks ago, I tasked my kids to wash the dishes up after dinner, and I went and I sat on the couch I had a little bit of mom guilt and felt bad that I was sitting while everyone was busy. But then I realized that that was the first time I actually sat on my own couch in like two weeks. Self Care doesn't need to be fancy or expensive it, it could simply mean getting enough sleep at night and sitting on your couch to rest when you have the opportunity to delegate these other tasks. Now, the third step is movement. I know people who refuel through exercise, and I am definitely not one of those people. I prefer not to sweat. But I do find myself craving to go for walks with my dog or get out into nature. And it has been a game changer for me to set my alarm to remind me to take breaks and move and stretch throughout the day. So if you're looking at how can I prioritize self care, it doesn't have to be going to a spin class or, you know, doing these you know, marathons or couch to five runs, that just seems really big. Really just take a walk around the block stretch, put on a YouTube video of you know, stretching exercises or things just to help your body move throughout the day, or maybe even get out in nature and do it. Now the fourth step is connecting. When I'm busy and exhausted, I actually tend to isolate this is my kind of red flag when I know I need to pay attention. I want to stay home and Nemo in an attempt to decompress from my busy day. However we were created to be in community and connecting to debrief or catch up with a friend or receive support is self care. It is so hard, I don't know what it is in our mindset. That's a whole different topic. But it is so hard to seek out support and ask for help when you are usually the helper. But as we mentioned earlier, we can't wait for other people to reach out to us, we need to reach out to those friends and family trusted loved ones, to make that opportunity to have that opportunity to connect.
This is a very important part of self care. Now the fifth step of the self care ladder is often ignored. But it is extremely restorative to your soul. It's having fun and laughing. And it is so healing. As an adult. We are bombarded with responsibilities. So it's a struggle to find joy and laugh and relax. If you need some help to think about what is something that brings you joy, just think back to that time when you were a kid, what did you love to do? Maybe it was doing puzzles, or going for bike rides, or building LEGO sets or, you know, playing with dolls in a doll house, whatever it was, I encourage you to make space to do that no matter how silly it is. Having fun doesn't have to be complicated. It can be simple, and but it's unique to you. You don't want to look to other people for what's fun for them really think what lights me up what helps me relax and have fun and do that. Now the sixth and final step of the self care ladder is learning. Learning a new skill or trying a new activity or developing your interests engages your mind and expands your creativity. Whether it's signing up for an interesting newsletter or podcast, learning how to play a new instrument, joining a adult sports team or maybe even going in to take a course learning and engaging your mind can mean so many things to so many people. When you're weary, approaching burnout, learning something new can be the break that you need. And it's considered self care when you engage in those activities. Now, self care is one of those things that I struggle with seasonally, despite all my training and teaching on the topic, from time to time, it slips and I struggle with fitting it into my life. And then my own words hit me self care is the foundation of living a flourishing life. It's not something to fit in after the fact, there's a temptation to overcomplicate it, but by first looking at what's on your plate. And then second, simplifying what self care actually is. I can build the foundation one step at a time. Now, I hope this has been helpful for you. Perhaps you're in a season where you need these reminders, or maybe you're on track and doing well with self care. Now either way, this is a good reminder of what I'm sure you already encourage others do too for themselves, but like me, you forget for yourself. So grab the download and remember the six steps on the self care ladder. Eat, sleep, move, connect, laugh and learn. Next time those feelings of exhaustion and overwhelm start to creep in. Go back to the simple six steps. Thanks for listening and take care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai