Having trouble finding the self-care that’s right for you? Choosing the self-care practice that not only fits your schedule but also your needs can be challenging. We asked the 4word team to share what they each do to practice self-care in their lives. If you’re needing some inspiration, keep reading!
Diane Paddison, 4word founder
“My favorite thing I do for self-care is hike. My husband, Chris, enticed me to enjoy God’s creation by exploring mountains, waterfalls, coastlines, and even castles. We started hiking about five years ago and usually go four miles which takes two to three hours depending on the level of the hike. I exercise everyday; however, the hikes gave me a change of scenery and take a lot longer, and we also love being outdoors.
I also love being with my new little grand baby, Opal, for an afternoon. Over the past six months, she and I will talk and smile. I love how Opal helps me enter a whole other world.
For over 18 years, I’ve made it a point to have a massage once a week. I have bad allergies and my muscles ache, so massages relax me. I realized I needed self care many years ago, as I felt so much better after a massage. Today, hiking and going to see Opal helps me actually practice taking a sabbath from work. As 4word exploded and the work grew, I needed to take a break as I could have worked 24×7 and not kept up.
The benefits of self-care are numerous. My mind is clear. I start the work week fresh. When I am in nature or with Opal, I feel like I am in God’s presence which is the best source of strength and relaxation ever!”
Pam Johnson, 4word COO
“For me it’s all about being in the great outdoors. That feeds my soul! I am blessed to have an incredible group of adventurous friends that love to hike, bike, kayak, ski, and experience all of the beauty that God has created. REI says it very well! #optoutside!”
Trina Lee, 4word Mentor Program Manager
“I’m still on a journey of making self-care a daily habit and truly understanding what is restorative for me. I think of self-care as following into two categories: 1) those things we do to be healthy spiritually, emotionally, mentally, physically and relationally, and 2) those things we do to rest and restore. The first category of self-care can often be challenging and isn’t always fun. I never look forward to flossing my teeth, having a healthy confrontational conversation, or grieving a loss. But these things are important to our health and are part of how we care for ourselves. The second category of self-care (rest and restore) are things that we truly can delight in and enjoy. But what is restorative for one person may not be restorative for another person.
Knowing yourself well is key to building rest and restorative practices into your self-care routine. Are you an introvert or an extravert? As an extrovert, a weekend in which I’m all by myself is actually not restorative. I feel more restored when I’ve spent time with family or friends, or have had a long conversation with someone over the phone. Do you need physical activity or stillness to rest? While I try to slow down on the weekends, I do feel more rested when I am active to a certain extent. A day of binge-watching Netflix has never felt restorative, even if the entertainment was of the highest inspiring quality. A weekly habit I’ve been working to develop is to identify before the start of a weekend at least one to two restorative activities I’m going to prioritize.
In Evernote I’ve also created a note to capture things that feel self-care to me as a means to better understand myself. Some of the more unusual things on my list are to a) take myself to performances of the Oregon Ballet Theatre and to ensure that I’m there an hour early for the lecture they offer, 2) taking my car through a car wash, and 3) creating order out of something that is in chaos. I’m also a firm believer in naps, especially power naps.
Reading has been a favorite pastime since childhood, but I’ll go through long seasons where I’m not reading any books. In the last year, I’ve tried to ensure that I’ve always got a fiction book that I’m in the middle of on my Kindle, a non-fiction book that I’m working through in my purse and memoir or current history book that I’m listening to via Audible. Learning that I do enjoy to consuming different genre of books differently has greatly led to reading more books.
This month Michael Hyatt re-aired his podcast episode on “Self-Care as a Leadership Discipline” which I think is definitely worth listening to. He also has “The Self-Care Scorecard” assessment, which is pretty revealing!”
Jordan Johnstone, Digital Community Manager
“I work from home full-time with a three-year-old son, so self-care is something I’m terrible at. Working on this month’s 4word content has definitely opened my eyes to how badly I need to prioritize meaningful rest! You would think that writing and keeping a content boat afloat would mean that I use the creative side of my brain more, but it’s actually the exact opposite. I am very logical and process-driven (Enneagram Type 6 here!) so self-care for me is when I’m able to tap into that creative side more.
I write for a living, but I get a ton of enjoyment out of writing “for fun.” I took my Master’s thesis project and turned it into a series of fiction books a few years ago, and I’m slowly but surely working my way through those! I also started dabbling in painting a couple of years ago — specifically acrylic pouring — and have found that letting myself get lost in creating something so unique and uncontrollable is incredibly freeing.
I’m such an introvert, it’s almost painful, so the self-care that I think is truly beneficial to me on all levels is when interacting with others is a major part of the experience. Hanging out with friends from our church group or being around family might make me feel a little overwhelmed at first, but by the end of the time with others, I feel a true renewal in my soul.”
Irrayna Uribe, Manager of Operations and Human Resources
“As a wife, ministry worker, and caregiver, I have had to learn to make time for self-care. While I enjoy everything about my life, I do get tired. Self-care helps me to recharge so I can continue loving what I do without the frustration caused by fatigue. One way I do self-care is to wake up before my household and spend quality time with God. I have also carved out time to spend with God at other times of the day, but I have less distractions in the morning. I spend my time meandering with the Lord as He pours His heart into me through the Scripture and prayer.
I also like to self-care in other cities. I love traveling with my best friend/husband (a lot) and eating my favorite comfort foods (pizza and French fries). Not to worry, I hear exercise can help counteract my carb cravings, even though I hate exercising for exercise sake! I find that my short attention span seldom allows me to hop around my living room to the instructions of a person on a flat screen. Instead, I learned to trick myself into exercising. I love playing tennis; doubles of course, so that I can talk to someone while I play. I like bike riding and walking around the neighborhood as I spy out neighbors to talk to. I’m all about multi-tasking: walking a little, talking a little, exercise done…check.
One of the most important aspects of my self-care time is that I do it without my cell phone. (The tennis regs don’t let you use phones on the courts anyway. I tried to check my emails one time and found out about that rule.) The only distractions I have are my thoughts, which for some reason become clearer after a little self-care.”
Susan Tolles, Local Groups Director
“As a former Christian Life Purpose Coach, I have worked with many women who were craving greater “balance” in their lives. I’ve presented speeches and workshops titled “From Frazzled to Focused” that always drew crowds. It seemed everywhere women were overworked, overwhelmed, and exhausted from a lack of self-care. And even thought I was preaching it, I wasn’t practicing it until I turned 60.
For several years, I had been frazzled from building a career that began when I was 53. From my life as a well-known “expert for women over 50” through the website I created to several years as a coach, I spent long hours at my computer, traveling to speaking engagements and hosting free live webinars to gain clients. But the sad thing was I really didn’t enjoy it. I was drained physically as I let too many people tell me what they thought I needed to do to be successful instead of listening to what God wanted me to do. Around my 60th birthday I realized it was time for a change, to slow down and quit working so hard at things that did not fill my cup to overflowing. That’s when God gifted me my role at 4word, and since then my life has been much calmer and more fulfilling.
As an introvert, I get my refreshment from solitude in quiet places. My favorite place to go is our family getaway on Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill Country. As soon as I walk in the door, I can feel stress melting away. On our dock at sunset, I reflect on God’s abundant blessings. On my brisk walks in the quiet mornings, I pray and clear my mind of clutter. Having a special place for rest and family gatherings renews my energy and my uplifts my spirits.
For daily self-care, I have learned to walk away from my computer at 5:30 and on weekends so I can unwind and be present with my husband. Keeping my brain free from computer screen stimulation at night has given me better sleep which is vital to my overall well-being. I recently worked with an integrative medicine doctor when my body was telling me something was amiss, and was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Simple changes in my diet have made a huge difference in how I feel every day. Pay attention to your body! Allow yourself more time to do the things that refresh your mind, body and spirit. It’s the way God created you to live. “