Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A call to self-care

While you are stuck again with just me and my ramblings tomorrow, today I'm pleased to announce guest blogger Jennifer Derryberry Mann: the mother of two little girls who love to dance through the house, “help” in the kitchen, and color on any available surface. She is the editor of Belly Button Bliss: A Small Collection of Happy Birth Stories (Fairview Press, 2010), a freelance writer, and a certified Forrest yoga instructor who specializes in prenatal yoga and postnatal mama-baby Yoga Bonding.

Her bio is longer and more impressive than the above; feel free to read about her and her work on her delightfully named website:  Check there also for my own post as a Christian who likes doing yoga. :)  While there may exist yoga classes that are straight-up paganism, my experience (at least at the YMCA) has not been so, and I have found ways to make it work well for me.  I think yoga can be a useful tool to calm down our minds and relax our bodies without offending our faith.  Will write more on that later I'm sure. :)  I welcome your comments and feedback meanwhile: Have you done yoga?  What are your concerns?  What has your experience been?  Always happy to hear from you.

For now, I'm turning the floor over to Jenni.  Be kind to yourself today.   :)

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, 
clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."
Colossians 3:12

I am thrilled to be visiting T. L. Catholic! Visiting Katie’s blog is a lot like what I’d imagine it’s like to hang out with Katie in person, chatting over wine (or lemonade, if you’re feeling wholesome).

Over in my little neck of the internet, at, Katie shared a story about how she brought her faith right in to a yoga class when she was postpartum and recovering from a challenging birth. I totally admire that she was willing to check her concerns about yoga being too “new agey.” Not because I’m a yoga teacher and I think the practice is awesome (although I am and I do!) but because I recognize a mama who’s gotten real about what she needs to do to tend to her own heart.

What is it about nurturing ourselves that is so dang hard?! We’re so willing to bend over backward to take care of our kids, our family, someone else’s kids, and just about everyone else’s business – what about making sure we’re tapped in to our most loving self before we start in on that list?

A mama-friend recently told me that she just didn’t feel like she was worth it. And I know she’s not the only one who feels that way.

Sometimes the block to nurturing ourselves is that sense that everything else is SO important, or that something else has to be done Right Now!

When I first started getting clear about “self-care” I mostly thought of it as “spa day.” But nurturing yourself doesn’t have to require a whole day and a whole lot of money. You don’t have to put everything else on hold. The simplest acts of self-care probably won’t even make you late for whatever else needs to happen Right. Now!

During the next 48 hours, turn the volume waaaay up on your inner sense of your need for nurturing. Don’t judge yourself for it. Simply notice when you’re feeling a little disconnected –grumpy or tired or impatient or unfocused or just blah—and in that moment, try one of these super-easy nurturing homeworks:

1.       Take a full breath in, and a sweet breath out. Spread your ribs, let your belly soften, and notice how incredibly delicious breath feels in your body. Delish!

2.       Get your feet naked and plant them in the earth. Kids do it all the time. Running barefoot in the yard, and they’re crazy with joy. You don’t even have to do the running part—just enjoy the sensation of the earth under your feet.

3.       Say something nice. Not something to placate someone else, but a genuinely nice comment for yourself! A favorite Psalm, a line from a poem, or a simple, “I’m worth it!” can shift the climate of your inner landscape. In an instant, you’re living someplace nicer!

I’d love to hear whether you’re already feeling connected to nurturing yourself, or whether these ideas helped open up a new sense of peace for you. What are your favorite ways to take care of lovely, totally worth it, you?


  1. I stumbled upon your blog and was interested in your battle w/ RA. I too have it. I wondered about your embrace of yoga as something that would be useful to calm down minds and relax bodies? Have you stumbled upon ? Yoga is something to be investigated with caution. I find the Rosary to be much more effective in its calming and relaxing effects. Exercise and stretching, separate from yoga are also great w/o the flirting with the occasion of the sin of honoring hindu gods even if one doesn't believe in those gods.

    1. Hi Mrs.D! Thank you for your comment and your concern; I'm sorry to hear you struggle with RA as well. As a naturally cautious person, I once shared your strong concerns about yoga but, having now actually tried it and recognizing how I can use this physical exercise as a Christian--I now have found that the particular types of stretching used in yoga are extremely beneficial for my various aches and pains. As I do not believe the hindu gods exist, I do not feel in any way tempted to honor them or any god other than our God. And I have found that I can actually say the rosary while stretching, which is great use of time
      for a busy mom.

      As for Women of Grace, I tend to approach them with some caution as well, as they seem to tend towards scrupulosity in my experience, and in general seem excessively anxiety-prone. For instance, the article against yoga I found in their blog was not actually from Catholic teaching. Catholics are not forbidden to use yoga stretches or breathe deeply, which is what I do. Like yourself, I also find the rosary to be the best form of meditation. I think there is a way of employing good stretches that have been used for centuries while very much staying true to our own Christian faith. I hope and pray to continue to do this. Again, thank you for your time and thoughts!

    2. P.S. Noticed this while further looking over the topic on the Women of Grace website:

      Someone's actually developed what I'm essentially doing into "Cathletix"! :) It uses the beneficial stretches of yoga and pilates while employing Christian prayer. It can actually be done, and I'm glad there's an advertised way that people can use time-proven physiological exercises without hints of new age influence. :)

    3. :D