Rethinking “Self-Care”

Written by Ann Burns

October 14, 2022

When the Villains are Beautiful

The idea of self-care is increasingly more and more popular.  

We constantly see social media content of women taking the time to wash their face, relax with a glass of wine, or get some much needed sunshine.  #selfcare

Yet, when we examine the notion, it seems to be made up of little rituals that simply attend to our basic needs: bathing, time to reflect, some time outside, and so forth and so on.

There’s nothing new in the idea of taking a bath or getting outside to soak in nature, but it seems that our “busy” consumed society has forgotten the basic steps of sustaining ourselves spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. And thus, our basic needs are glorified in the concept of “self-care.” 

How often do we encounter the mother who can’t shower or have a moment’s peace because she is too busy attending to everyone else? 

How often do our friends respond “busy” when asked the question: “how are you?”

This is draining— sometimes though— we mistake being caught on the treadmill of business as virtue.  Why is that?  Busy doesn’t always mean being productive.  And more importantly, busy doesn’t always mean fruitful.  And we are called to be fruitful

If we run ourselves empty, we will be just that: empty.  Unable to give, nurture, and bring warmth into our homes and families. We won’t have time to cultivate our hearts and minds, and seek out the good and beautiful in life. We will be frustrated, angry, and feel victimized by our role. We will reward ourselves when we actually pause long enough to shower, think, read, wash our face, of whatever it may be.  But all of these things are not wild accomplishments, they’re the integral and necessary steps to taking care of ourselves. 

But if we choose to forgo these rituals that sustain us, we will instead, adopt ones that wear us thin.  If we live a life of chaos, then we will bring our loved ones into that chaos as well. 

It’s not virtuous to opt for a run-down life because we will be too weary for battles when they do come our way.  We will be too depleted to give.  And too frazzled to cherish the gift of life. 

What we too often forget is:

Women are important. 

Mothers are important.  

Homemakers are important.  

If we truly believe this, then we must believe that the rituals that sustain them are also important.

A friend recently reminded me of the line from the beloved Madeline books, “At half past nine, they left the house in rain or shine.” 

There is something to be said for our daily rituals: they bring balance to our lives, and healing to our hearts. It’s good to bring children into that orderliness, which reflects the order of Heaven and God’s creation. 

It’s a beautiful gift. 

This doesn’t mean that we won’t have messes or that our homes will even be immaculate.  This doesn’t mean that there won’t be interruptions, but rather that instead of using those interruptions as a reason to abdicate, we will embrace them with patience, and persevere. 

Ultimately, living with daily, healthy habits means we live with intention, discipline, and instead of getting consumed by a false need for “doing” and “business”, we make time for the quiet rituals that sustain us. 

Because as women, our role is absolutely necessary. And thus, self-care should not be an anomaly worth posting about, but part of the order found in our homes and personal lives. 

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