I first heard the term self-care from a pastor friend in Deep Ellum several years ago. He shared his perspective on what has become a buzzword. I majored in psychology and counseling as an undergrad in the early 1980s, but as far as I know, self-care was not being talked about the way it is now.
Others may have different viewpoints, but for me the term acts as an umbrella over my physical, spiritual, mental, social and emotional health. In my new life as a farmer and venue owner, it’s become more challenging to take care of myself properly. Fortunately, my husband Houston is quick to notice when I need a day off and jumps in to help. We have great friends who have made themselves available when we’re in a pinch. And we occasionally hire someone to prep the glamping tent for guests. These things have been huge in helping me to take better care of myself. For me acknowledging that I need help is often the first step in practicing self-care.
The physical portion of my self-care routine starts early in the morning, often when it’s still dark. Our Boxer, Stella and I go for a one mile walk. She’s a great workout buddy, naturally stopping every so often, so between my power walking and her stopping we get in the necessary intervals to make our workout productive. When we return home, our other dog Dewey roughhouses with her while I finish up with stretches and strengthening exercises. Later, I treat myself to a nutritious, leisurely breakfast (I get up really early, so there’s time for this), complete with steaming black tea. Starting the day with good food gives me the energy necessary to accomplish my work.
Meditation, prayer and scripture reading play a big role in spiritual self-care for me. It’s obvious when I skip this important part of my day: I’m more anxious and frustrated and often have a short fuse when interacting with others.
An important part of self-care for me has been finding something I’m passionate about - something that is mentally stimulating - outside of my daily work. For me that’s writing. A few months after Covid became our new reality, some writer friends and I began a weekly online writers group. The time with these four friends has given me the motivation I needed to pursue my writing outside of this weekly column. Not only do our meetings help me feel productive; I get to scratch the social itch that’s so important in taking good care of myself.
It’s taken a while, but I’m learning that I can practice self-care even at the farm. Taking in sunrises, sunsets and cloud formations, as well as stopping to love on Samson, our Livestock Guardian Dog or to let the ducks eat out of my hand brings me great joy and adds to my emotional health and wellbeing. I’m also finding that being outside, regardless of the weather, makes me feel alive and like I’m taking care of myself.
Your self-care routine might look very different from mine, but as we continue into this New Year I hope we’ll all take the time to evaluate what helps us feel good physically, spiritually, mentally, socially and emotionally. We owe it to ourselves.
Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. Her column, Finding Myself in a Small Town, appears each week in the Corsicana Daily Sun. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out www.purdongroves.com or visit their Instagram or Facebook pages.