What self-care looked like for me this winter

Some of my self-care helpers.

Some of my self-care helpers.

I’ve been reading about self-care. Here’s what it looks like for me this winter.

In the picture above, you can see some of my dedicated self-care helpers: Aloe vera tissues, cuppa tea, soy cheese crackers, inspiring documentary about miracle healers, a trip to the movies, a big, warm, fluffy blanket, and in the background, you can just make out my adorable baby CD player.

This year, I just read this post by Mrs Modern Darcy on what self-care can look like, this post on The Peaceful Wife about taking care of yourselves to love others better, and this post on Propel Women on how women in leadership can make time for self-care.

These posts are good reminders that self-care – taking care of yourself and doing a few things every day just to make yourself happy – is not just for you. It’s for everyone around you who needs your love and attention. You can’t give anyone love and attention when your needs haven’t been met and you feel out of sorts.

And the things that wear you out don’t need to be bad things. Even good things like serving, caring, and giving friendship, can all take energy. If we’re not recharging, we soon run out of love to give.

Stress from doing too many good things is not a new thing. Even Moses in the Bible got told off for trying to do too much at once without taking care of himself. His father-in-law Jethro warned him, “The thing that you are doing is not good. You will surely wear out, both yourself and these people who are with you, for the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” (Exodus 18: 17-18, NASB)

Remember how on the plane, they say to put on your own oxygen mask before you put on your kids’? They say that because if you don’t save yourself, you cannot save your kids. It’s not selfish. It’s essential.

And creativity? Forget about it! If you’re stressed, you are waaaaay less creative.

So I was inspired me to write out my own list of what helps me stay sane and productive on a daily basis, and helps me to love and work better. I hope it inspires you like it did me!

Cups of tea

How lovely are cups of tea? I completely forget when the weather is warm, but oh gosh, holding a warm cup in your hands… Plus, less than half the caffeine of coffee, so I can still sleep at night. Sleeping the right number of hours is essential self-care for me.

My new red coat.Treating myself to a new coat – thrifty style!

I like to be thrifty, but I also knew my old winter coat was getting a little worn and not keeping me warm on the walk from the station to the office. So I traded it in for this op shop winner – $25 and how gorgeous do I feel! Also, wearing boots to work on casual Friday because our office was cold until we got some heaters in.

It’s a lot easier to love others when you feel warm and stylish.



Tim and I have been enjoying cracking up laughing together in the evening over a good TV show. This winter we watched Avatar, the original TV series, and the TED talks: Smart Laughs series, and also a stack of kids’ movies! Laughing is awesome self-care.

New worship music CDs

I only buy a CD when I already know and love most of the songs on there, which means my music collection is always at least 2 years “behind” current trends. Yet another way in which I prefer to be old-fashioned.

My newest buys are Bethel Worship’s Be Lifted High and For the Sake of the World. Praising God even as I write this post – such a priceless gift to be free to worship in my own living room!

Kids’ books

I’m very sensitive to violence. I avoid graphic violence in movies or TV shows, but my strong imagination also means I can’t read about it. The best way I’ve found to enjoy a great story without fear of graphic violence is through reading children’s books.

Earlier this year I read the Emily series by L.M. Montgomery (loved it!). Recently I read two amazing new releases, On Track by Kat Apel and Talking Under Water by Kathryn Lomer (review to come). I also loved The Name at the End of the Ladder by Elena de Roo.


I love the atmosphere – and the scent – of pretty candles. They make a date night spent here at home to avoid the wintry air just that much more special.

Two candles side view.

Preparing the night before and getting an early night

I can sleep in an extra 20 minutes each morning before work if each night, I pack my lunch and choose my clothes for the next day. This might sound like just an extra thing I’m trying to do, but it’s actually self-care because it’s taking care of myself in advance. And did I mention how much I need sleep? So an early night is also essential on weekdays.

Writing because I love it

For me, this means blogging when I want to in my time off even though my workday involves writing for 7.5 hours straight.

That’s what’s working for me these days. How about you?

This post was written by TJ Withers-Ryan © 2015. Re-blogging is always highly encouraged as long as you credit me as the author.

5 thoughts on “What self-care looked like for me this winter

  1. Gorgeous red coat, TJ. You look snug, and very stylish. And a lovely surprise to see a mention of my book here in your self-care post. I hadn’t expected that when I clicked across. 🙂


    • Thanks for the love, Emily! Yep, September was definitely struggle street with sickness, fatigue, and a higher workload. I’d love to get back to the blog asap, just not sure when I’ll feel my old self again. 😛 Any prayers appreciated! And praise God for all he’s been doing in the meantime, even during struggle street. Simply amazing. 🙂


  2. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other
    sites? I have a blog based upon on the same topics
    you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I
    know my readers would appreciate your work.
    If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.


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