I’m trying really hard to take care of myself through creating time and space for opportunities to rest and be still. This is counterintuitive for me. I spend my days (and nights) caring for others and our home. I wanted to try to find a way to have an opportunity to just be and relax.
The idea I landed on was simple: take a 20 minute bath after Rob gets home. It didn’t have to start at the same time. With three kids, everything requires flexibility so that wasn’t important. The important thing was that it had to happen, and it had to be at least 20 minutes Monday through Friday that week. Here are my take aways and the things I learned:
1. I’m not used to slowing down. I set a timer to ensure I stayed in the whole 20 minutes. The first time I checked it to see how much time had passed it had only been 6 minutes. I checked because I was already feeling antsy from being still. I wouldn’t let myself check it again, but it was hard the first few days to not just rush out of the tub.
2. 20 minutes flies by when I’m making lunch, but when I’m trying to be still, it seemed like an eternity. Again, it felt weird to be alone and not doing something for that long.
3. No one died. I have an incredible husband who is an amazing dad. He took great care of our kids without me. I don’t have to be right there doing everything for everyone to be okay all the time. They were fine without me in the same room, and everyone survived and was happy to see me after my bath.
4. I really love the tub in our new house, and I really love bath bombs still. I honestly forgot I even had them, and I’ve hardly used our tub in the almost year that we’ve lived in our house.
As much as I had to fight down my impulse to get out sooner or to not feel bad about that 20 minutes, I’m glad I challenged myself to do this. It truly was a challenge for me. I’m sure there are people who get long hot baths anytime they want who will read this and think, “What’s the big deal?” This may seem like the norm for others, but doing something just for me is not my default.
Most of the time I have at least the tiniest twinge of guilt when I take time for myself. I’m learning from life and those dear to me that I have to. My friend Becca taught me that you can’t pour out of an empty vessel. You have to fill yourself up with good things you need to be able to pour out for others. I have to be full. I have to rest and refuel, and I can’t do that if I never slow down. I have to remember that I’m a person still, and having needs comes with that territory.
20 minutes a day may not seem like much, but it was so good. I can’t wait to do it again. So here’s the challenge, if you’re still with me:
Find something that requires you to be still and alone. Don’t do anything that requires any kind of effort- just be. Create the space to do that for 20 minutes a day for at least five days in a row and see what happens.
No one will die. All the wheels won’t fall off without you. You are a person who has the right to need things no matter what your days are filled with. Slow down. Be still. Breathe. Give yourself that gift. Give yourself some space. No shame. No guilt. Remember that you are worthy of good things, and rest is something you are called to.