Self-care isn’t always easy, no matter what time of year it is. But this time of year can often
bring additional challenges that make maintaining routines and practices extra difficult. Maybe
you’re figuring out how to fit multiple holiday obligations into a schedule already loaded with
responsibilities. Maybe you’re a student approaching the end of the semester with multiple
exams and papers due in the same week. Or maybe you’re dealing with something that makes it
hard to even get out of bed in the morning. Whatever it is, if you find yourself struggling to find
the time to take care of yourself, I’d like to offer some hopefully encouraging thoughts.
Self-care is not all-or-nothing
Chances are, you don’t have an abundance of time to fit in all of the self-care activities and
routines that you’d like. Furthermore, you may not even have the time to do one thing as much as
you ideally want to or think you should. If you’re like me, it can be hard to recognize small wins
or feel accomplished doing something for a shorter amount of time. But if you only have ten
minutes to do something that ideally you would spend an hour or more doing, that is okay! Self-
care is not all-or-nothing and it can still work no matter how long or often you practice it.
Self-care is personal
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” I don’t know if you can relate, but I wish I had a dime for every
time I’ve heard that quote. And yet, it still seems hard to let it fully sink in. It can definitely be
discouraging to hear your friend or neighbor talk about how they have been crushing it lately
when you have just been trying to keep your head above water. Remember that what works for
you works for you, and your practices and habits don’t have to look exactly like someone else’s
to be considered good.
Self-care is a process
Have you often felt like for every step you take towards self-improvement and care, you end up
taking two steps back? If so, you’re not alone. You may be able to think of seasons where you
felt like you were firing on all cylinders, only for life to get in the way again and keep you from
maintaining momentum or progress. The good news is, growth (mental, emotional, spiritual, etc.)
more often than not isn’t linear. Certain seasons will allow for more steps towards progress and
others won’t, and that is okay. Rest in God’s promise that, over the long run, He will finish the
good work He has started with and in you (Phil. 1:6).
Whatever circumstance you find yourself in this holiday season, remember that every baby step
towards health counts, no matter how small they are!