SPICE & Self-Care: Making Yourself a Priority Amongst the Busyness of LIfe

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We recently finished Infertility Awareness Week and this week we are going to be celebrating Mother’s Day. 

Infertility can be a huge cross to bear, especially around Mother’s Day.

If you suffer from infertility, are you sick of hearing “just relax and you will get pregnant”?

Have you lost a child through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss and are still recovering?

If you are a mom who is overwhelmed, do you feel guilty for sharing your struggles?

As far as we have come as women in our society, women face so many conflicting messages.  We are told we are supposed to be moms, then we are told we are supposed to build a career.  We are told to compete with other women instead of supporting one another.  

We are all mothers, whether we have children or not.  As women, we are programmed to put everyone else first.  We are programmed to take care of others.  As women, we mother others in our lives and struggle with putting ourselves on the list.

We need to take time for ourselves.  We need to prioritize self-care.  It is not selfish to fill your bucket first because if you don’t, you will soon have nothing left to give to others.

I have been struggling personally with putting myself on the list.  I feel the pressure to “do it all”.  I want to be a mom, homeschool my kids, and run a business.   As a result of my trying to “do it all”, my health has taken a nosedive. 

I now suffer with health issues that I did not have many years ago.  Some of the issues have to do with my age, but most I am sure have to do with my lack of self-care. 

As a result of my health issues, my fertility health has also taken a nosedive.  And, when your fertility health takes a nosedive, then your overall health can be negatively affected.  It is a vicious circle.

Instead of decreasing my medications, I have been adding more each month. 

It is very obvious; I suck at self-care!

I made a decision this week.  Things have to change! 

But, how?  Where to begin?  I have read plenty of books but I needed a simple strategy I could use each day and each week to make sure I was taking care of myself.

It came to me in a follow-up with a single client when we were discussing SPICE.  I began to see how SPICE can be used for self-care. 

For those who are not familiar with SPICE, it is stands for Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Communicative, and Emotional.  It was originally designed to help couples develop news to communicate and build intimacy in their marriage.

SPICE is a way to see that our sexuality is more than just our genitals.  Our sexuality involves our whole person: our spirituality, our physical bodies, our intellect, the way we communicate and our emotions.

How can we use SPICE for self-care? 

  • Spiritual

Take some quiet time each day to spend with our Lord.  Some days that may mean 5 minutes here and there throughout the day.  Maybe while washing the dishes or in the car. 

Silence, even for a few minutes, really helps us be able to hear the Lord and offers refreshment.

I try reading a spiritual book or some Bible verses each week.  Some weeks are better than others. 

My main goal is to spend time with God because without Him, I cannot do anything and I become easily discouraged.  Prayer also helps me refocus my priorities among the craziness and busyness of life.  It helps me to put life into perspective.

  • Physical

Exercise is so important for our health.  I am sure I do not have to tell you that.  We are inundated with fad exercise programs almost on a daily basis.

It is so hard to do and so easy to put on the backburner when your day or week is crazy.

The key is to move every day.  Aim for 2-3 times a week of exercise.   Walking is easy and free!  I like workout videos that are short and sweet. 

When I make exercise a priority, my stress level decreases significantly and I have more energy.  This is so important when you are dealing with thyroid and other disorders like PCOS and endometriosis.

What we eat can also make a difference in how we feel each week.  I know how very hard it can be to make healthy eating a top priority, especially with a busy schedule.  But, I also know, that when I am eating a clean, whole foods diet, I feel so much better.  

Nutrition and exercise are key components of self-care.  If are bodies are not taken care of, we will not have the strength or energy to take care of others.

  • Intellectual

Do you have a hobby or special interest?  Do you enjoy reading books on a specific topic or just for fun?

Take some time each week or even each day to enjoy something for yourself.  Read a novel.  Read a book on a topic you are interested in. 

Take a class, either in person or online.  Something you have put off because it seemed like there was never any time for it. 

We all want and need to expand our knowledge.  Find something you are interested in and go for it!  I have been trying to learn how to sew.  Trying being the operative word!

  • Communicative

Women are social, relational beings.  I am an introvert and enjoy being alone.  But, even I know that when I am with other women who support and encourage me, my spirits are lifted up.

Try and communicate with other women and with family each week or even daily if possible. 

We are all busy and our technological world has encouraged us to be more distant from each other.  Reach out with an encouraging note or give a friend a call. 

Make a monthly date with some friends or family members to hang out and relax.  Find a support group of other women in your season of life or even who have similar struggles.

  • Emotional

How many times have we been told that we are so emotional as women?  There is a reason that God gave us this gift.  We can be more empathetic and compassionate to others.  We are more generous.

But, sometimes our emotions can get the best of us.  I know for me, that means overreacting and taking life too seriously.  I have found journaling helps me process my feelings.

Taking time to laugh and play and be silly helps lighten our mood. 

Taking time off from Facebook, Twitter, the News and other technology has made a huge difference for me.  Sometimes having instant access to all that is going on in the world and everyone’s opinions on it is not always a good thing.

Also, talking with my husband, a good friend or even a trusted priest can help me better process how I am feeling about certain situations. 

Our emotional health is important.  It helps us and how we relate to others.

No matter what you are struggling with this week, month or year, take time for yourself.  Life can really feel burdensome and difficult, no matter what season you are in.  Taking care of yourself is not a selfish act.  The more your bucket is filled, the more you can share with others.