The beginning of a new year often brings many health-related resolutions, gym memberships, “dry Januarys” and various forms of diets.  All with the intention of getting healthy.

And I am all for that… and could certainly use some of the above.  However, I have been reflecting on other ways we can become healthy.  Other ways that we can be good to ourselves. Other ways we can live our best yes.

Women tend to put themselves on the back burner, taking care of everyone else first. Justifying why we can’t go on that retreat… why we can’t take that hour to ourselves to do what fills our soul… why we can’t make regularly scheduled girl’s night a priority… why we can’t tell our boss no… why our boundaries get blurred with family members… why we can’t make time for reading, praying or meditation…and on and on and on.

For me, putting myself on the back burner came in the form of putting off a MUCH, needed surgery for over a decade.  After birthing eight children (all with the head circumference of their father, thank you David.) let’s just say I needed some MAJOR work to get all the parts back in their right place and properly running again!

For six weeks, it was one of the hardest things I have experienced.  Not just the physical recovery, but emotionally as well. It was my first experience with depression.  I had to rely on so many others to feed my family, help me shower, change out my bandages and keep my spirits lifted.  It was humbling to say the least.  But as with most difficult things, it has been one of the most rewarding and beneficial things I have ever done for myself! It moved me from surviving in certain areas to THRIVING.

And now that I am fully recovered, I cannot believe I waited so long to take care of this one body I have been given!  This one body that carries me around all day! This one body that is so good to me! Yet I made excuse after excuse after excuse.  Self-care is not selfish.  Why do we tend to think it is? Self-care is ALWAYS important… but even more so as we age. It is essential that we take care of ourselves spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

So, this year, I encourage you to ask yourself what can YOU do to take care of yourself?  What have you been depriving yourself of that your body needs in order to be healthy? Is it that trip you need to schedule to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit?  Is it relationships you need to make time for?  Is it exercise?  Getting up an hour earlier?  More sleep?  Counseling you have been putting off?  Digging deeper into your faith? Only you know what’s at the core of your body’s deepest longing. Will you be intentional with asking yourself those questions?  I sure hope so.  And when you do, I would love for you to let me know.