As I have wrestled with the ideas of caring for myself as a mother and struggling with the demands that exist on me from day to day, one word continues to pop up in my mind as a deep desire of my soul: renewal.
On the surface, renewal feels like a night of 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep where I wake up feeling like a new woman ready to take on the world for another few months until I get burnt out again. It’s igniting that flame again, with more wood on the fire, hoping it won’t go out again. Upon deeper consideration though, I don’t actually think that is what renewal is. It is not a quick fix. It is not something that is achieved in one day or overnight with adequate sleep. It is a process that takes attention each day.
I used to think that self-care and taking care of myself meant getting a massage once a year for my birthday or stopping to grab a fancy coffee on the afternoons I am really dragging. These are one-off moments, not even bandaids, that I grasp for hoping they bring renewal that lasts for an extended period of time. The reality is that self-care is actually the act and process of renewal many times throughout the moments in our days.
When I looked up the definition of renewal, the process stuck out to me in the synonyms that came along with it: repeat, restore, revive, regenerate. These are all a part of the day by day process we must engage in to experience renewal in our lives. Each brings about a different piece of the puzzle that is renewal.
Repeat: I’m positive I’m not the only one who desires a quick fix. Maybe not even a quick fix, but at least a genuine and lasting change after just a few tries. Honestly repetition is the hardest part of renewal. Repetition can feel, well, boring. It can feel pointless. It can feel like you are building a sand castle granule by granule. I promise it bears fruit. Any good, difficult, life giving thing, requires us to repeat it moment by moment, day by day.
Restore: Restoration to me is bringing things back to their original place. The places I see a deep need for restoration in myself is my mindset and my attitude. I start most days with a restored belief about the abilities and opportunities available to me in the day ahead of me. I need constant (repeating) restoration throughout my day to stay positive.
Revive: Revival falls into the category of how I care for my body and making it strong and healthy to take on the demands of the world around me. It could be sleeping, a quick yoga stretch in the morning, or a walk around the block with our dog. Movement revives me to be able to have energy and strength that is needed to not burn out.
Regenerate: One word: coffee. I’m kidding, but only kind of. Regeneration in terms of self-care and renewal is how I make things better and improve in different areas of my life. Renewal is a process, but towards what? This is where regeneration comes in for me. I want to grow and be a better disciple, wife, mother, daughter, writer, runner, and many other things. Processes should lead to something or some sort of goal. These are what keep us going in moments when we don’t want to anymore.
Hopefully these ideas give you a different perspective on renewal and self-care. You might read this and be thinking, “Self-care shouldn’t add more to my day.” I agree completely. It is more about a mindset and perspective shift with our time, our actions, and our intentions. Are those things building toward caring for ourselves well so that we are renewed and able to care for others around us well? Or are we spending our time on Band-Aids and escapes that don’t get us where we ultimately want to be?
Are you ready to dig deeper into this? Click here to download my free list of 25 Simple Ideas for Everyday Renewal.