Monday, March 31, 2008

Hospitality for the Weary Hostess--Part 2

Prescriptions, originally uploaded by Karousme.

Taking care of your own soul takes practice—lifelong practice.

We need to realize that taking care of other people depletes our souls. That depletion is inherent to caregiving—our love for others is what fills and refreshes their souls. However, we cannot neglect replenishing our own reservoirs if we want to continue this life journey of hospitality.

My soul replenishment began two weeks ago when I took time to “prescribe” for myself the following regimen. It has helped before when I’ve experienced this soul weariness, and I hope it will encourage you.

Prescription for Soul Replenishment

  1. Get enough physical rest. When I’m stressed, I have learned to go to bed early or sleep in when I can. I don’t let myself feel guilty for choosing to ignore the “Energizer Bunny” expectations of this world and taking time to rest.
  2. Ask for help. This is one I really struggle with. My tendency is to stubbornly ignore my human weaknesses and limitations and keep going until “disaster” almost strikes—pulling “all nighters” in college, getting in over my head and trying to be the “responsible one” and shoulder too much, and so forth. It’s really a problem with pride. But I’m improving—I met with my supervisor last week and we’re putting together a “game plan” for dealing with the stress and demands of my new job.
  3. Get away. Whether it’s a day of browsing in your favorite store, having lunch with friends, or leaving town for the weekend, a change of pace and scenery can be a tremendous help. Visiting my husband’s family over Easter weekend proved to be just what I needed to recharge; the time spent relaxing, shopping, eating, and talking was refreshing to my spirit.
  4. Do something you enjoy. While you’re “getting away” from it all, make some fun memories at the same time. My mother-in-law and I make a point of finding time to go antiquing and shopping whenever we’re together—and last weekend was no exception.
  5. Reconnect with yourself and God. After you’ve rested your body, mind, and soul with the four previous tasks, it’s now time to make sure you become reacquainted with yourself as a person—not a caregiver, employee, mom, or wife, but rather as a woman who has needs and interests apart from these roles. That also includes reconnecting with God, something that the busyness and stress steals from me.

I’m under no illusions that I’m now exempt from this happening again. Life is has its seasons of hardship, but I’m hoping next time my soul will be stronger, wiser, and better prepared. bjh

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