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Key #6: Connect with Yourself

Welcome to our final post in the Key Connections For Adoptive and Foster Parents series. I hope you checked out the first five posts as all six connections are vital to our parenting journey.

Key #6 addresses the importance of self-care. We cannot care for others well, if we’re not taking care of ourselves also. I used to disregard self-care as something I didn’t need or have time for. Then came 2020.

Self Care Survival

Covid-19 was my catalyst for change. In April 2020, when I learned my boys would not return to school for the rest of the year, I panicked. Home education wasn’t a scary thought—I’d previously home schooled for 16 years and graduated six kids. However, home schooling seemed a past calling.

By 2020, my youngest two boys had been in public school for three years. My days were spent joyfully directing Justice For Orphans the nonprofit I co-founded. But due to Covid, my special needs teens were suddenly home full time. Almost overnight, I’d joined the ranks of working moms attempting to juggle it all in the midst of a worldwide shutdown. That’s when I realized—if I didn’t take care of me, I wouldn’t survive this pandemic pressure cooker.

Soul Care Strategy

For two decades I’ve maintained a morning quiet time. Before the kids are up, I can be found with a cup of coffee in hand, my journal, Bible, and prayer list open and ready to meet the day.

One morning early in the Covid-19 crisis, the Lord showed me my need for soul care—care which extended beyond morning devotions. Paying attention to what I needed would be a vital part of my survival strategy, so I formed an intentional plan to care for myself.

Self Care Steps

I believe self care should be holistic. While my morning time with the Lord continues I’ve added tending to my heart, mind, and body also. A few weeks into the shutdown I realized my body was glued to a chair most of the day. Like many working from home, I spent hours logged onto a laptop. Factor in additional time helping my kids navigate online learning and I barely moved a muscle—except for jaunts to the kitchen for comfort food.

My first step was adding exercise to my morning routine. Now I start the day by rolling out of bed, unrolling a yoga mat and spending thirty minutes stretching and strengthening my stiff muscles. As the days warmed up, I added a mid-day walk to the mailbox.

My next intentional step—plant a garden. Throughout the summer of 2020, while I watered and weeded my plants, I soaked up the beauty of God’s creation. Time in the garden ministered to my heart.

A third step, tackle the pile of books I’d been wanting to read. If you’re like me, you have a stack of books you never seem to have time for. During the shutdown, I decided to end each evening in a good book. This made a dent in the pile, but thanks to two virtual writing conferences I “self cared” myself to—the pile grew. For us readers, that’s not a bad problem to have!

Soul Care Suggestions

The key to self care is finding what ministers to you—and be intentional about practicing it. Below is a list of soul care suggestions to get you started:

  • Meditate on a Scripture verse

  • Take up an activity you enjoy (tennis, gardening, painting, etc.)

  • Exercise daily

  • Connect with positive people

  • Spend time outside enjoying God’s creation

  • Read (books or blogs)

  • Soak in a bath

  • Be creative (write, draw, sew, create, etc.)

  • Listen to your favorite podcast or music

On this side of the pandemic, I’ve come to realize self care is necessary nurture for the soul. Take a walk, go for a run, do some yoga. Pour a cup of tea or coffee and sit down to drink it. Journal, draw, garden. Take a nap. Eat chocolate. Spend at least 15 minutes connecting with yourself every day. Parents need soul care to successfully navigate the challenging journey of adoption and foster care.

*For more self care ideas check out my August 2020 Focus on the Family article

“Helping Foster & Adoptive Families Navigate Covid-19” HERE

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