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Self-Care and Bathroom Renovations

Many people are surprised when I tell them that I have lived in my house since it was built 33

years ago. And if they know me, they realize that it is a pattern in my life; I find something I

like, I stay with it! But what about when we keep something too long?

The reality of those 33 years hit me hard recently when I finally gave in and did some minor

remodeling to the master bathroom. It is the only room in the house that had not been redone

which means some of the fixtures were 33 years old. As I was selecting brand new items for the

room such as paint, cabinets, sinks and faucets, I was forced to see how I had adapted to things

that should have been changed years ago. The parts were old, tattered and in several places

repaired just enough to get by. This bathroom was the polar opposite of the rest of my house

which has been updated and decorated several times over the years. One might say “my house

was out of balance”. As I continued to change the room, the analogy of my house and my life

began to take hold.

It was obvious that there were parts of the bathroom that had been neglected but are there parts

of my life that I have neglected? What areas of my life have I adapted to instead of repairing or

updating? Do I even recognize the areas that need attention? Friends, if we become content with

brokenness, we do damage to our souls. We become weary and worn as we expend our energy

to maintain the dysfunction; just like the band-aid repairs I had made to my bathroom.

When our heart begins to scream “Something needs to change!”, do we listen or do we try to

dress and bind the problem and keep going? What does it look like to balance our lives so that

we do not ignore the parts that are no longer working, that are outdated, that require growth? I

would suggest it is part of the practice of self-care. Practicing healthy self-care as part of our

regular disciplines can give us insight into these dilapidated areas. It allows for space to consider

the needs and options for change.

Self-care is vitally important to our mental, physical, and spiritual health. It is not an act of

selfishness as some people would have you believe. In fact, I believe the opposite is true. As we

take time to balance our lives to include self-care, we develop an awareness of others and their

needs and we become more able to fulfill the purpose(s) we were created for.

How do you do self-care? There is no list of activities that fit every person; it is a subjective

decision. The key is to find the activities that energize you. For me, it is reading my Bible, long

walks listening to rock music from the 70’s, getting a professional facial, baking, hosting people

in my home, trying new restaurants with a good friend, hiking, traveling, just to name a few.

What would it take to energize your spirit? Allow your heart to be heard and listen with

curiosity. Make a list of the practices you believe you need to feel revitalized. Find a place on

your calendar for them and make a promise to yourself that you will not cancel them. Know that

you are worth the time and effort to take care of yourself.

Ok, I admit, bathroom remodeling and the need for self-care is not a perfect analogy. But

looking through the lens of updating and renovating the one room in the house that needed it the

most, gave me a perspective that I don’t want to soon forget. Oh, and did I mention shopping for

home décor is one of my self-care activities? I’m headed to the bath department!

Brenda Stutler, LMHC

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