There are a few things I wish I’d known earlier on in life about myself. I wish I knew that to thrive I need some time by myself for an extended period of time a few times a year. I wish I knew that in order to not feel crazy during the football season I need a community of women who understand our unique lifestyle. Finally, I wish I knew that as a verbal processor, I comprehend concepts best when I can talk them through with people after studying them, especially Biblical concepts.
Had I understood the importance of these three things I would have worked harder to create space in my calendar for weekends away with my girlfriends and with Ordell. I would have prioritized budget money for intentional retreats rather than hoping opportunities for breaks in our calendar would come along. In many ways, what I was missing was a clear understanding of how to best implement self-care.
3 Self-Care Investments for Coaches’ Wives
A Good Bible Study
This suggestion may sound obvious, or it may sound ridiculous to you depending on where you are in your spiritual journey. Even if you don’t believe in God stick with me here for a minute.
In a blog post from organization and productivity Trello author Deanna deBarra titled, Why Self-Care is The Secret to Becoming a Productivity Powerhouse, she says, “At the core, self-care is about fostering the relationship and connection you have with yourself. It’s about giving your whole self (mind, body, spirit) exactly what you need to function at your highest (and happiest!) level—which can, in turn, make you more productive.”
Mind-Body-Spirit. Yep! You read that right. Our souls long to rest and for me, that includes engaging with God and learning more about him. As a writer, I find that journaling helps me stay focused as I’m praying, and when initially working through a concept. But, eventually, I want to talk through things with other people.
Personal study is great, but if you can, I encourage you to find time for a community Bible study. Bible Study Fellowship is great and they have shifted to include online groups. I also encourage you to explore church small groups and local community groups.
Find Your Tribe
It’s so important to surround yourself with women who you know are standing shoulder to shoulder with you regardless of the scoreboard. During the season there will be weeks where it feels like everyone on social media is a fan for the other team. There will be times when you just need to talk about how frustrating a situation is without looking like a whiner or having to explain the rules of football. Other times you need advice from someone who has been in a similar situation.
We are created for relationship. There is a lot of value in taking time to find people who understand what it’s like to live the coaching life and spend time fostering those relationships. It’s helpful to have people in your life who are willing to say “Hey, we’ve been in a similar situation, and here’s what did or didn’t work for us.” You can still do what you want with the information, but it’s always better than walking into a situation blind.
Trust is built over time, and your tribe should certainly include both coaching families and those who are like-minded whether they are a part of coaching or not. Invest in relationships even if it means you have to budget a little spending money for coffee every once in a while or extra time in your calendar for dinner with the girls once a month. These relationships are vital!
It’s always best to foster these relationships in person, however, we know that since coaching families move so often that we can’t let distance limit our relationships. Utilize social media in healthy ways, find your safe spaces, and always look to form in-person relationships.
Invest in a Retreat
It’s worth the time away to have a structured weekend where people are intentionally pouring into you at least once a year. Think about it. People attend conferences for work all the time. We’re expected to gather continuing education credits for almost every certification we earn, and work conferences focus on specific areas of expertise.
Why wouldn’t we do the same thing for our marriages and personal lives? I’ve compiled a list of marriage conferences here.
Coaches’ wives if you get a chance to be in a room with other coaches wives TAKE IT! However, there are plenty of other retreats. Consider your church’s women’s retreat, or look for a conference that will improve a skill you are focused on improving.
The point is to do something for yourself that takes you away from the routine of your household and work duties for a few days.
One or two structured events a year, coupled with vacation weekends, will keep you renewed year-round. I should note, you really don’t need a full weekend either. You will be amazed at what 24 hours away will do for you when need to force yourself to slow down.
Ultimately, it’s important to remember that you are worth investing in, even if it means saying no to something or spending money when you are working with a tight budget. Self-care is vital to your long-term sustained health.
Looking for More Encouragement?
As the wife of a football coach, Beth Walker encourages women whose families are in the public eye to pursue their own callings even as they support their husbands’ careers and ministries. Through her personal stories as well as interviews with other women who are also living just outside their husbands’ limelight, Beth shows it’s possible to do both.