Hey tired mamas (and non-mamas), are you looking for ways to better take care of yourself? This weekly self-care routine has helped restore me so I can turn around and be the best mom I can be. Be sure to check out the complete checklist by clicking below.
Last week I talked about how I’ve developed daily self-care rituals for my body, mind and soul.
This week I’ll be talking about another important approach to rest. My weekly self-care routine is different than my daily one because it digs deeper. If daily practices are like a shoulder rub, weekly practices are more like a deep tissue massage (sounds nice, huh?).
I’ve developed these weekly habits not just because I think they sound nice. Out of all of my self-care practices, they have the most direct correlation with what I find in the Bible.
Why Have a Weekly Self-Care Routine
Since the Creation account in Genesis 1, we see a weekly pattern of work and rest repeated over and over. God initiated it when he rested on the seventh day and enjoyed his work. He commanded his people to do the same in the Ten Commandments and elsewhere. It’s called Sabbath, an intentional rest.
While I don’t think we’ll be punished today if we don’t follow the Sabbath the way the Israelites were commanded to (Romans 6:14), I’m of the personal belief that there is much benefit to this weekly rhythm of rest.
Weekly rituals don’t have to be extravagant, but they aren’t necessarily easy either. What makes them challenging is not the practices themselves, but rather, prioritizing them. They take intention.
I have to guard my routine fiercely. These are ways I not only feel refreshed myself, but also feel more connected with the people I love.
24-Hour “Sabbath” Period of Rest
Whatever happened to weekends? I don’t know about you, but a mixture of household chores, kids’ activities, parties and church events compete for a spot on my calendar. Not to mention everything still on my to-do list from the previous week.
Last year I decided that instead of trying to squeeze my rest in here and there, wherever it would fit, I would personally experiment with this model of Sabbath rest I find in the Bible. While traditionally the Sabbath was from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, I decided my “Sabbath” would be a 24-hour period from Saturday to Sunday.
My rules are specifically for me. I don’t check my email or social media accounts during that period, to give my busy mind a break. I do minimal housework (which requires prep in advance!). I don’t do any business-related writing. Our family, while we will occasionally entertain guests, we try to stay low-key.
I have to admit, it isn’t always easy to protect that time. I’ve slipped and “cheated” on my own rules, and sometimes I’ve given in to some of the demands on my schedule. But overall I have felt like this practice has helped me feel refreshed more than any other.
I share more in this video:
At the heart of my Sabbath period is worship and communion, done in fellowship with other believers. This is the model we see in the Book of Acts, as Christ’s followers met on the first day of the week (and sometimes more!). Interestingly, many of them were Jewish converts to Christianity, and it is very likely that they did this in addition to their traditional Saturday Sabbath.
Regardless of when exactly you come together for worship, the point is that you do it. When I’m unable to attend church because I’m out of town or sick, I’ll still do some sort of reflective devotional with my family.
Family Time/Special Activity
I’ve also found it important to have other rituals for our family throughout our week that are restful anchors in our schedule. One of these is what we call “family night.” It’s holdover tradition from my husband’s childhood.
Related post: 5 Benefits of a Weekly Family Night
Every Monday night, the Poirier family is unavailable to do anything but spend time with one another. Following dinner together we do something relaxing as a family unit. Usually that’s a movie, popcorn and some chocolate cookies. If the weather is warm, we might get a little more adventurous. It’s one of the highlights of our week and helps keep us close.
One-On-One with One Kid
Every week my husband and I will each try to get alone time with one of the kids, on a rotation. He’ll come home from work and take one of the kids out to lunch. My time often involves getting cupcakes, sometimes a board game, and some good talks.
With three kids in the house, it can be tough to have meaningful conversations with each one. This ritual, which we call “special day,” gives us the opportunity to connect with our kids and help them feel loved as individuals—and help us feel love and connection in return! I find that if I’m really taking the effort to be present with each child one-on-one, I’m a lot less likely to give in to my temper and frustration at other times.
As I mentioned in my last post, my husband and I try to connect every day. But as much as possible we also try to have a weekly date. We have extended family that lives in town, so it does make it easier for us with the free babysitting. But you can still connect over something as simple as putting the kids to bed early and having dinner and a movie alone or playing a board game.
Making the marriage a priority when life is exhausting is, I believe, one of the most important things you can do for your family, and yourself. It helps you and your spouse be unified, better parents—and a lot happier.
Time in Nature
While it would be ideal if we could all get out and enjoy the sunshine every day, for much of the year that’s not a realistic possibility. So that’s why I make this a weekly goal (much more in nice weather!). Fresh air and ample sunlight (or stars and moonlight) boost your mood and your health, not to mention naturally draw you closer to your Creator (Psalm 19:1).
It’s tough when the weather is bad or you’re not feeling well. If you can’t get out for a walk, at the very least spend more time simply exposing yourself to daylight (and this is probably more of a daily ritual rather than weekly).
Connecting with a Friend
I’ve written about my struggles with loneliness, especially when my kids were little and their needs as preschoolers were extremely demanding on my energy and mental health. I’ve worked hard to build deep friendships in my life because I desperately need them.
One of the most effective ways I’ve connected with other women and deepened my relationships is getting together once a week with one or two friends. It’s preferable to do it without kids because we’ll have more time to talk, but it’s possible to do with kids if that’s the only way to make it happen.
This practice has generated laughter, tears and overall soul-healing again and again. If you don’t have friends like these in your life, my advice is to pray, initiate, pray and initiate. It’s worth it!
Those are the seven anchors I have in my weekly self-care routine. On the printable checklist I made (click above), there are several blank spaces, because everyone fills up a little differently. Feel free to customize it with your favorite rituals that refresh you body, mind and soul.
Lastly, I also have monthly practices. Those mostly consist of taking some time in planning and reflection, which are essential for living out my weekly and daily habits. You can learn more about how I do that here: Goal-Setting: 5 Grace-Filled Hacks for the Lazy Mom.
If you want to dig deeper into the why and how of biblical self-care, be sure to check out my eCourse, Choose Rest.