How I Live Out My Self-Care Value

How I Live Out My Self-Care Value

I recently reconnected with my trainer Tasha Lewis at Tadda’s Fitness Camp and it has been one of the best decisions I have made this year! In my first book Run & Not Be Weary: The Pursuit of Purpose and Destiny I share how I came into the understanding that self-care is vital if I am to increase and maximize my capacity to coach, lead, teach, preach, and pursue every opportunity that would come into my life.

On my 37th Birthday when my husband asked what I desired as a birthday gift, I candidly and exhaustively replied, “A treadmill.”  Our daughter had been born about 6 months before my 37th birthday.  By this time we had 3 children under that age of 3, Johnathan (2 years), Joshua  (14 months), and Ariel who was 8 months old.

Our local church was in a season of rapid growth. We were facilitating multiple services on Sunday, television ministry and our itinerant ministry was beginning to grow.  To add to that pressure, I was in seminary pursuing the Master of Divinity Degree.  I was desperately trying to balance work, family and school. It was not long before I became physically tired, emotionally drained, spiritually arid and was rapidly moving toward burnout.

When I surveyed the land I was taking care of everybody and everything in my world and I found that I was often last on my “to-do list” if I made the list at all.  I began asking serious questions of myself such as, “How am I going to do all of these things?” “What am I really gaining from all of this busyness?” “What things do I need to let go and what things do I need to pick up?” “What habits and skills do I need to develop? “Who do I need to hold me accountable for my development if I am to be successful and reach my full potential?”

It was at that critical juncture that I began to aspire to the value of self-care.  I started where I was at that time.  I purchased a treadmill, joined my local YMCA and began an exercise program.  I later hired a personal trainer and have had 3 trainers work with me for several seasons and times.  I began loving the notion that I could take care of myself while taking care of others.

Along with exercise I began educating myself on healthy eating by reading and taking counsel with health professionals, health and wellness coaches and nutritionists. I had to re-train my mind and body to eat healthy, drink water and discipline myself to abandon the bad eating habits that I had developed all of my life.

As I grew in my understanding of healthy living I began to express my value for self-care through various means and methods. Over the years I have participated in different physical fitness programs such as yoga, pilates, running, walking, and mountain climbing. Last year my husband and I began bike riding and we love it!

In a conversation with one of my life coaches, I was asked the question, “What patterns do you see in your life that reflect your value for self-care?” She challenged me to think through my self-care value and develop what I now call my “self-care” list.    My self-care list includes a variety of health and wellness practices such as: physical exercise, healthy eating, rest, family time, vacations, prayer, reading good books, spa retreats, facials, massages, attending conferences and seminars where I am not the featured speaker, and just plain having fun with my girlfriends and family!

Before long self -care moved from being an aspirational value to an actual value that is demonstrated through a diverse set of healthy practices.  The methods I choose to express the value of self-care are unique to my personality, temperament, life structure, likes, passions and desires.   My self-care list changes, and morphs with me.  I may emphasize one practice at a particular season and emphasize another practice at during another season in my life.  All in all, I have learned to remain open and willing to try new and exciting things in my self-care journey. The key is to discover what works for me and to be consistent!

When I think about my value for self-care I am often reminded of those famous words spoken by flight attendants just before an airplane takes flight: “In the event of an emergency, place the oxygen mask on yourself first, before attempting to help those around you.”

Self-care is vital in order to manage all that has been invested in me and to balance all of my responsibilities.  The truth is I cannot properly care for the people in my life, if I am not attending to my own emotional, physical and spiritual self.   On most Mondays, I get out of bed at 4:15 am (or 6:15 if I’ve hit the snooze button too many times Lol), drive across town for the Monday morning run with Tadda’s Fitness Camp.

You might ask, “What motivates you to consistently get up before the crack of dawn to workout?” The answer is quite simple, it’s one of the ways that I Live Out My “Self-Care Value!

Dr. Toni

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