Before You Burn Out, Try This
Before You Burn Out, Try This Lisa Whelchel has a proven recipe for a renewed body, mind and spirit
In order to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. That sounds so common-sensical and so easy, but it isn’t. How many times have you gotten up and immediately jumped into the day, fixing breakfasts, making lunches, straightening up the house, or rushing off to work–only to look up at the clock and discover it’s noon and you never ate breakfast? How often do you end the day with a headache because you hit the ground running once your feet touched the floor, and you never slowed down all day?
Often, women put their own well-being on the back burner while devoting their time and energies to their jobs, their aging parents, their friends, their husbands, or their kids. Although all of those people may be demanding your attention, your own body, mind, spirit, and emotions need to be looked after, too.
In her new book, Taking Care of the Me in Mommy, former television star and best-selling author Lisa Whelchel shares some of her time-honored tips for making sure moms, and even women who are not moms, develop habits to keep healthy in every area of their lives.
“Your family’s wellbeing depends on yours,” Whelchel shared with mtl. “If you are burned out in body, soul, and spirit, you don’t have anything to give anybody else.”
The mother of three teenagers says she outlines in the book 22 areas women can work on–but cautions that they should do it one area at a time. Some of these include exercising, eating healthy, working on hobbies, strengthening a marriage, and digging into Bible study.
“The goal is for women to choose one of the areas and commit to working on it for 21 days,” Whelchel says. “There will be a “personal life coach’ page on my Web site where after reading the book, a woman can log in daily to help her be accountable and faithful to working on the area she chooses. I’ll send her emails encouraging her and offering practical tips.”
Whelchel’s journey toward investing in her own wellbeing began more than a decade ago when she was at home with three children in diapers and not much connection with the outside world.
“I was really desperate for adult communication, but the thought of taking all three kids out in public somewhere was honestly not an option,” Whelchel admits. “So I invited some friends over for lunch and some games. We put the kids down for a nap, and I just remember that we all laughed so hard for those two hours. Nothing was really that funny, but we all just needed an emotional outlet so badly–we laughed or we were gonna cry. We left so refreshed, so excited. We had enjoyed good company, good conversation, and good food–without someone instantly holding their nose and saying, ‘How many bites do I have to take of this?’ After that, we made it a weekly commitment.”
Whelchel says women need to be purposeful about whatever area they choose to tackle, or it won’t get done.
“You are not going to have relationships in this day and age without being intentional about it,” she says. “Moms, especially, have good intentions but can find it hard to follow through. Hopefully, this will be a little way to help.”
Whelchel has discovered that in her own life, God has helped her strengthen different areas during different times in her life.
“One of the most liberating messages I ever learned was that there are different seasons of life,” Whelchel says. “When I had three toddlers, I could not exercise–and eating healthy meant the leftover crusts from peanut butter sandwiches. As the kids grew, I could refocus on my physical health. Then I began feeling called to work on my spiritual habits. I discovered Bible studies, then went deeper in my prayer life. For the last year, I have been called to worship. I feel like God has been wanting me to pull aside and just spend even 15 minutes worshipping him.”
Whelchel says that when moms become healthy and whole–connecting with God, their husbands, and their friends; exercising their minds; using their talents; and paying attention to their physical needs–they have more to share. She encourages women to add something positive to their lives by choosing an area they know they can accomplish–and getting started as soon as they can.
“After 21 days, I’ll send a congratulations email to those who did it, and then they can choose a different area to work on,” Whelchel says. “Hopefully, new, healthy habits will be started.”
For more information, visit www.lisawhelchel.com.
Lisa Whelchel is a former star of the T.V. comedy The Facts of Life. Now a wife and mom of three teens, Whelchel encourages moms through her books and The Motherhood Club.