The Cost of Self Care

One of the most tricky, sensitive, and perhaps even controversial aspects of self care is expense. In a closed Facebook group for moms, a friend of mine recently confessed that she has a hard time spending money on herself and wondered how other moms felt about it. The comments ran the gamut, but I noticed every response recognized the necessity of self care, even if they weren’t yet comfortable with the notion or sure of how to budget for it.

I think maybe mamas wrestle with this question too much: Do I really need this?

When a woman has deprived herself of love and care for too long, the journey back to wholeness feels unnatural. She has convinced herself that a real woman needs nothing. This is a mistake.

Do you need a new sports car? Probably not. But what you do need is margin to breathe. You need to be filled up in order to pour out. You need to connect with God and remember both who HE is and who YOU are.  What helps you find this margin? What helps you connect with God? What is life-giving?

I have some of my most meaningful talks with God and best creative insights when I’m walking vigorously in nature, so I do this each day. Maybe you have a membership at Massage Envy so you can have 60 minutes of uninterrupted thinking as well as massage therapy every month. Maybe in this season, all you can do is wake up 10 minutes early to pray before the rest of the house is awake. Whatever the white space is for you, you need it. Take it.

The question that seems more pressing to me is: How much will it cost me to not do this?

If your life-giving activities cost money, it’s certainly not a bad idea to shop around. (Is the $200 massage more life-giving than the $50 massage?) I understand this, as a frugal girl myself. On the other hand, I have been rock bottom in a dry well of exhaustion, so I can tell you with certainly it is worth the cost.

It costs nothing to say, “Henry, Daddy can get your juice,” or “Daddy can give you a bath.”

It costs a few dollars to have coffee or tea in a cozy corner of a cafe.

It costs nothing to browse books in a shop or the library.

It costs nothing to ask a friend for help.

What brings you life? If it’s been so long that you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas.

Laughing at jokes
Watching documentaries
Reading fiction
Painting your fingernails
Relaxing in a hammock
Trail running
Volunteering for a nonprofit
Calling your grandparents
Writing letters
Cooking a beautiful meal
Planting a garden
Coloring with your kids
Sewing, painting, singing, playing an instrument, scrapbooking…

Make a list today of what brings you life. Then, go do one.

New here? Glad you made it! I write about my unique joys and challenges as Mom to Henry, a smart, tender, quick­-witted, train-loving, autistic 7-­year­-old with an infectious smile. I long to encourage autism parents and empower all to see inclusivity doesn’t have to be difficult - it can be beautiful. Like what you see? Sign up here to receive news and occasional freebies just for insiders.

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