As women, we have a tendency to put ourselves behind others. It’s this “No, you first!” mentality that leaves us running on empty and missing out on the things in life that truly bring us joy. I understand the struggle in balance because even the Bible teaches us that the last shall be first, but I have a hard time envisioning a God that would want you running at full capacity every second of every day – depleted and defeated. That’s because there’s a difference in serving people and pleasing people. We serve people where God has called us to be. We please people outside of this calling because we struggle with saying no, and while we may be doing good things, they aren’t necessarily God things.

I almost think it’s hardwired in our DNA to be people pleasers because we have somehow convinced ourselves that living an I Am Second lifestyle means being everything to everyone and not leaving moments in our day to refuel and recharge. I’m guilty of this, too, and convince myself that this week will be better! Every Sunday I would tell myself that this week things would slow down and I would live a more balanced life. Fast-forward to Wednesday, and I’m running on a total of 10 hours of sleep only to discover that things haven’t slowed down and my life is just as, if not more, hectic than it was last week.

While I am quick to preach the art of saying no, some things in life are chaotic but necessary.

There’s always work to do.

Dishes to clean.

Kids to drop off.

Husbands to serve, love, and honor.

These moments, my loves, is when it’s time to find balance in the midst chaos. Lately, I’ve truly been making a greater effort to honor the Sabbath. I understand that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh, but doesn’t He understand that I have a to-do list that seems to grow overnight?

This mentality is what will leave us running on empty and trying to pour into others from an empty well. We cannot effectively serve others if we are not first taking care of ourselves. I’ve started to adopt the idea of Self-Care Sundays. The day starts with worshipping with my church family, grabbing groceries to properly nourish my body for the week, and ends with me doing something that not only prepares me for the week ahead but brings me back to life.

Here are my favorite Self-care Sunday routines:

Cleaning out my purse. Y’all. This sounds so small, but if you’re like me and carry around an overnight bag as a purse, this is necessary. Imagine the next time you need a pen or lip stain, and you’re able to find it right away. Mind blowing.

Deep conditioning my hair. I work out about five days a week and am usually in a rush in the mornings. By the end of the week, my hair has paid the price for it. One of my favorite moisturizing and repairing treatments can be created with household items: 1/2c melted coconut oil (virgin, organic, and unrefined) + 1 egg. I mix it well and apply to my hair generously. After about 20 minutes (okay, more like four episodes of Parenthood) I’ll wash it out and style as usual.

Creating a workout plan. I once read that scheduling your workouts like you would any other meeting helps you stick to them as the week gets busy and you get tired. I look at my week and schedule my workouts based on what’s on my calendar. For example, if I need to be at work at 8 am, I’ll schedule an afternoon workout. Or if I have plans with a friend after work, I know I need to schedule a morning workout.

Meal-prepping. This looks different every week. Some days I will wash and chop my fruits and veggies. Other days I will go the extra mile and prep every meal for the week ahead. Anything is better than nothing. I treat my kitchen like a fast food restaurant, so it’s always nice when I’m in a hurry to have something quick and healthy to grab!

Evaluating last week. I’m truly saving the best for last on this one. I reflect on the previous week and try to make changes for the week ahead to help me look more like Christ. Who could I have loved harder? When was I a little too quick to anger? Did I practice self-discipline? I will sometimes even go as far as to give my week a grade. When the month is over, and I didn’t feel myself grow spiritually or physically, I can look back and see that I probably had an average month and I know some things need to change.

Some of these may sound taxing to you, but these are the small things that add up in a big way for me as the week goes on. We aren’t created as carbon copies of one another, so I challenge you to play around with your Self-Care Sunday routine until you discover what truly restores and revives you for the week ahead.