5 Real Ways to Practice Self-Care in Your Crazy, Right-Now Life {that cost zero dollars}


What does it look like to receive your right-now life just as it is and not how you want it to be?

What does it look like to receive this season of work you wish you didn’t have to do? What does it look like to receive this season of parenting? Of marriage? Of income? Of keeping so many plates spinning, you’re positively dizzy?

That’s been the purpose of this series — to encourage your soul in the midst of your right-now season and to provide you with practical tips to make the “receiving” a little bit easier.

We’ve talked about feeding your soul — why it matters and how to do it. And we’ve talked about why self-care matters, especially if you want to live a life defined by love.

Today, we’re getting super practical about everyday self-care and I’m reporting to you directly from the trenches. I’ve taken on too much work in the middle of a family season that also’s a bit too much. I feel stretched in every way and have had to accept that I’ll be a little bonkers until the end of the school year.

When life looks like this, we can proceed with fists clenched or we can proceed with palms open, receiving this season for what it is and opening our hearts to the ways God wants to love us, provide for us, and gently teach us.


One of the ways He provides is through opening my eyes to “everyday self-care.” I’m not talking about massages and pedicures. I’m talking about daily rhythms and practices that help us to care for ourselves so that we can receive our right-now season of life (craziness and all) and better love those around us.

Here are 5 real-life ways you too can practice everyday self-care:

1. Do normal things slowly and with care.

During the holidays I listened to this podcast on self-care from The Lazy Genius. She talked about slowing down when you wash your face at night. And so I did.

You guys, do you realize that you don’t have to hurry when you wash your face? You can take the time to massage the cleanser into your skin, to slowly rinse your face with care, to gently pat your moisturizer onto your face. It turns a daily chore into a loving ritual. I feel like it helps to calm my brain and my body before bedtime.

I now do the same thing when I wash my hair, massaging my scalp with my fingertips in the same way my sweet hairdresser does. Why have we not being treating ourselves to these daily luxuries?


If you had a friend who was struggling in some way, who needed your help to wash her face or hair, how would you care for her? Gently and with tenderness. Care for yourself in the kind way you would care for a friend. (I’ll say this a lot.)

Whether it’s a long shower at the end of the day, a warm bath instead of scrolling through Facebook, or washing your dishes slowly in a sudsy sink of hot water, the possibility of daily luxury is all around you. Treat yourself.


2. Kick hurry to the curb.

A couple of months ago I went to the grocery store mid-morning. It was a rare day of not having a super pressing agenda, so I gifted myself a latte from the in-store Starbucks and took my time through the aisles. Over and over, I said to myself: “Slow down. There is no need to rush.”

After I checked out and loaded my groceries into the car, I felt strangely relaxed and peaceful. Slowing down and sipping coffee had somehow turned a regular chore into a treat. I considered how I’m constantly in a hurry, even when I don’t have to be.

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I realize we don’t always have that luxury. You may have small children who accompany you everywhere or you’re squeezing in a grocery run before school pick-up. But when you’re doing a regular chore and you don’t have to hurry, be kind to yourself and value slowness over productivity. When I slow my pace and my mind, it’s as if anxiety runs out of gas and stalls, leaving me with a rare sense of calm.

As I’ve considered the life of Christ, I’ve noticed that he was never in a rush. We tend to assume this was a cultural state of mind, yet there are so many stories in Scripture of those around him hurrying and scurrying, frantic and panicked about all sorts of things. But Jesus never responded with hurry or stress, which tells me that’s not his intention for us either.

He is a God of peace and he calls us to be people of peace — in our inner lives and in the world around us. How can we be instruments of peace if we remain in a state of hurry and stress?

When a season of life is extra crazy, when we are struggling to receive it because we just want to get to the other side, hurry may be our default but it’s not our friend. Stressful seasons are the most important times to weave rhythms of slowness into our days.


3. Live within your means.

I don’t mean in a financial sense, though that totally applies. I’m referring to your energy level, your mental and emotional state, your relationships, your calendar, your commitments, your current season.

In my next post, I’ll tell you about an entire year of rest I had to take about 6 years ago. The reasons are long are complicated but a big part of the equation was my refusal, for years on end, to honor my own limitations. I was spinning my wheels in good, but misplaced directions.

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I wasn’t the only one who paid for it. For a long season of recovery, I had little to give anyone. When we don’t honor our God-given limitations, we will eventually fall apart, making it impossible to live a life defined by love.

{For more on this topic of honoring our limitations, see my last post: The Secret to Practicing Self-Care in Your Crazy, Right-Now Life.}

If your right-now life feels bananas, if you’re living beyond your means but you can’t take anything off your plate {it happens}, choose not to add anything else to it. Finish what you must and then resolve to move forward with intention. In the words of St. Benedict, “Always we begin again.”


4. Work with what you have, right where you are.

There is a holy hush that comes over my mind and soul when I quit wrestling and simply receive what is mine with gratitude. This applies to everything from my home and possessions, to the opportunities I have…and don’t have.


This series I’m writing, while precious to me, has unfolded far more slowly than I planned. I have had to honor my limitations in the form of time and energy, which means I write in the smallest slivers of my full schedule and publish less often. I worry that I’m losing momentum and my writing skills, that people won’t keep reading, that the deep longings I have to encourage others as I write from my own heart will go unmet and unblessed. When I look around and see writers passing me by, it’s easy to lose heart, to panic, to throw in the towel.

This verse comforts me:

Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6 (NIV)

Living a “limitless” life is not the goal. Notice that the psalmist is thanking God for boundary lines. Our good Father knows what we truly need and what we don’t. He alone is our portion and our provider. We can trust him with the limitations he’s placed in our lives, knowing that they provide protection or perhaps just a necessary pause.

We waste precious mental and emotional energy comparing our lives to others. We cannot simultaneously reach for what is not ours and receive what is ours. We can only do one or the other.

5. Feed yourself.

I’m talking about spiritual food and actual food. When our lives are especially crazy, we tend to neglect the most basic necessities, like nourishment.

As I said in an earlier post of this series, we can get a little crazy when we don’t eat. We lose all perspective. We despair. We cry. We don’t think or feel or act as we should. We act like young children with low blood sugar.

When I began to see Scripture as my food, it changed everything. It helped me prioritize time with God in his word, not merely as a spiritual discipline but as the daily sustenance I desperately needed.

The same is true for the actual food we eat. I love this illustration from Anne Lamott on teaching others to feed themselves in the same way they’d feed their beloved pastor if invited over for lunch or dinner:

They wouldn’t say, ‘Here Pastor, let’s eat standing up in the kitchen. This tube of barbecue Pringles is all for you. I have my own,’ and then stand there gobbling from their own tubular container.

No, they’d get out pretty dishes, and arrange wonderful foods on the plates, and set one plate before Veronica at the table, a plate filled with love, pride and connection. That’s what we have longed for, our whole lives, and get to create.  From, A Few Quick Thoughts on That Diet You Are About to Fail


A couple of weeks ago my energy level was so low, I felt chronically sleepy and overwhelmed. How in the world was I going to do all the work set before me when all I wanted to do was nap? I couldn’t abandon my responsibilities or stop being a wife or leave my children as orphans. And even though I knew this commitment level would only be for a season, I still had to get through it.

As a last resort, I switched up my eating for this season I’m in, prioritizing my own nourishment. The details don’t matter because we’re all different in the ways we need to eat, but I will say this. As Anne Lamott advises, feed yourself with the care and intention you would employ if you were having your pastor or dear friend over for a meal.

The way you nourish yourself matters. Within a few days of making the changes I knew I needed to make, enough energy has returned for me to (hopefully) meet the daily demands of my current season. It’s impossible to receive your own life if you’re not feeding yourself in the most basic ways.


And on that note, let’s take a break and enjoy a snack. : )

Because I have more real-life tips for practicing self-care in your crazy, right-now life, there will be a Part 2 of this segment on everyday self-care. In the meantime, what practices would you like to begin implementing in your own life?

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote on self-care:

I have become clear about at least one thing: self-care is never a selfish act–it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch. ~ Parker Palmer, Let Your Life Speak


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If this series sounds like something you need, all you have to do is subscribe to this online space. (You can do that in the box below this post.) If you’re already subscribed, yay! You’ll automatically receive it. The series is totally free.

Simply come and receive.

Whenever the latest installment of the series is published, you’ll be the first to know and you won’t miss a post.

Other posts in the series:

Post 1: How to Live Your Ordinary Life with Extraordinary Purpose

Post 2: The One Word that Forever Changed How I Approach the Bible

Post 3: When Your Right-Now Life Needs a Realistic Way to Study Scripture

Post 4: The Secret to Practicing Self-Care in Your Crazy, Right-Now Life

Click here to leave a question or comment. You can also chime in on social media. (Links below.)

When Your Right-Now Work Feels Extra Ordinary But Not Extraordinary {and something I made for you}

quilt chair

The day began in the pre-dawn hours with black coffee. It’s a telltale sign I’m extra serious about the day.

By 7:30 I had cooked four hot breakfasts, packed two lunches, and made an unplanned trip to the middle school. I’d walked the dog and made a grocery list, even though I was just there yesterday. And probably the day before.

A friend asked me why I don’t just buy cereal. “It’ll change your life,” she said.

It’s true. Cereal is from the Lord and I promise you that we eat plenty of it because many of our mornings are just sheer survival. I’m often stumbling through the early moments of a new day in ways that feel less like June Cleaver and more like a hangover.

But when the stars align, when I’m up early and have the capacity to do All The Things, I try to nourish these people of mine before we all go our separate ways, hopeful that the warm food in their bellies feeds their souls and not just their bodies.


It sounds idyllic but let’s be honest — it’s work. And it leaves the kitchen a disaster. I don’t feel naturally inclined toward any of it and yet I find myself, again and again, serving up oatmeal and stacking up laundry like it’s a normal thing. Because it totally is.

This is my right-now life.

My younger self found herself lost in thoughts about doing big, brave things in the world.

My right-now self finds herself lost in thoughts about work-life balance, ordering takeout, and being able to lie down.

I think hard about better ways to get everything done, wondering how I can best approach work life, family life, writing life, community life. I shift and re-shift these blocks of time around in my mind, working it like a puzzle that will forever have a missing piece or three.

On black coffee mornings, I wonder how I got here.

My small life in this big world feels both humble and humbling.


College degrees and four years of graduate school provided not a single course that taught the skills I clumsily employ for the majority of my waking hours.

I am both overqualified and woefully unprepared.

This humble, ordinary life of mine is my greatest earthly treasure. Yet on a daily basis, I often consider the work required in maintaining this treasure as “beneath me.” I work tirelessly to make all the puzzle pieces fit into a vignette that is awe-inspiring. But the truth is, my everyday landscape looks mostly like unmatched socks, an embarrassingly full inbox, and making dinner again.


I know I’m not alone when I often long for more than dishes and lunches and permission forms.

In a culture that confuses significance with visibility, our daily lives and ordinary work convince us that we’re coming up short.

In her book, Liturgy of the Ordinary, author Tish Harrison Warren says this:

We tend to want a Christian life with the dull bits cut out.

Yet God made us to spend our days in rest, work, and play, taking care of our bodies, our families, our neighborhoods, our homes. What if all these boring parts matter to God? What if days passed in ways that feel small and insignificant to us are weighty with meaning and part of the abundant life that God has for us?

I find myself praying for God’s strength and presence as I swipe the peanut butter and scramble the eggs because the honest truth is this: I’d rather do something more significant.

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Yet these are the daily rhythms that knead truth and humility into my forgetful, prideful soul. The dailyness that comprises my existence can either rob me of life or give me more of it. Fighting for the latter is always worth it.

This fight to find my life in the ordinary places always begins with humility, with smallness.

Time and tasks spent in the daily service of my own household has become the holy ground of spiritual formation and transformation, namely my own. As I die to my own grand notions of significance, I begin to find life. It has not gotten easier, only more normal.

This hard-fought, daily relent feels much like repentance. First the resistance, then the surrender, and finally — the life and the freedom.


Coram Deo is a Latin phrase that Christians have used for centuries. It literally means before the face of God.

To live coram Deo is to live all of life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and to the glory of God.


Presence. This is Emmanuel, God with us. A God who washed feet and cooked fish and fed people. He is with us as we do the same, not as a distant ruler but as a kind, here-and-now companion, keeping company with us at the sink, in the classroom, and during the dark nights of the soul.

Authority. Yet this humble baby was also a sovereign King. A King who rules our individual lives with love and defends us against our enemies. This sovereign, loving King uses our everyday, right-now lives as instruments of redemption. It makes no sense to me but it has been the theme of my own life.

Glory. The smallest task on earth is bursting with glory potential, from the selling of goods and services, to the wiping of bottoms. When I’m struggling with insignificance, when I’m bemoaning mundane work, it’s usually because there’s a glory I’m not getting for myself.

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Life coram Deo means to live a life that is small in the best ways. This maker of Heaven and Earth is not helped along by our pride, entitlement, and ambition.

And it means to live a life that is big in the best ways. This Creator God is with us and for us.

Perhaps this is the big, brave life I wanted all along. Who knew that I would find it among the breakfast dishes?


On an everyday December morning, in the hustle and bustle of a chaotic kitchen, I am good to be reminded of life coram Deo.


Ours is an integrated life. It means that all of our work is sacred because it is done in the presence of Christ Himself. All ground is holy ground. All work is pregnant with the potential for our own transformation and for the feeding of bodies and souls.

Scripture says we “have this treasure in jars of clay.” I smile as I consider that God uses a common household item, an everyday clay jar — the ancient world’s Tupperware — as a vessel for treasure. This verse goes on to tell us why: “to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” {2 Corinthians 4:7}

Our clay selves, prone to cracking and breaking, have been chosen to carry the light and life of Christ into every nook and cranny of our lives. This is the light and life that allows us to suffer with grace, to surrender with trust, and to serve when it’s not part of our “skill set” or resume.

When we die to the glory-seeking agendas for our own lives, we make space to receive His life that moves in us and through us.

May we be humbled to realize that the light which shines from the face of God somehow shines within us too, lighting our path to the bedside, the boardroom, the kitchen.

The smallest work is heavy with significance when it’s weighted with the God of the universe.


As you may have guessed, my own journey with this phrase has inspired a wearable offering for you.

Just as I wear “courage” on the days I need a tangible reminder that there is strength while I wait, I wear “coram Deo” on the days when the tasks of my right-now life feel extra heavy.

Here are the details:


Each coram Deo necklace is $17 each and that includes shipping.

  • Hand-stamped with love : )
  • Aged-brass look
  • Added tassel. The tassels come in assorted colors so the actual color you receive will be a surprise. (Since I don’t have an endless supply of any one color.) They’re all lovely and can go with anything!
coram Deo collection
  • Gold cord with at least a 16-inch (plus) drop
  • The cord makes it light and casual, simple to wear with anything and to layer with other necklaces.
  • I will ship within 1 business day of purchase.

These make such meaningful gifts and, well, it’s the season for that. I include a little note that references coram Deo and what it means. Order as many as you like (until they run out) and the shipping is still free.

coram deo gift

I’m set up a bit differently this time and now have my very own Etsy shop. These necklaces will be on sale through Saturday (December 16th) or until I sell out. Last time, I sold all the courage necklaces in a little over 24 hours, so you may want to act sooner rather than later.

Click here to get yours. 

Feel free to leave any questions in the comment section or email me at marianvischer @ gmail dot com.

Thanks so much for your kind support of this little corner of the internet. Happy shopping and gifting!

—> coram Deo neckalces


If this post resonated with you, you may also enjoy:

How to Wear Courage in Your Right-Now Life

How to Pursue Your Hoped-For Work in the Midst of Your Right-Now Life {a series}

How to Waste Your Life and Call It Beautiful

How a 92-Year-Old Woman Taught Me the Real Value of My Right-Now Work

New here?

I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life. Each post provides courage, companionship, and resources for life lived real.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox.

Finding the Unlikely Path to Gratitude

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I’m an Accidental Optimist.

Thankfulness and positivity are just not the natural ways of me. I’ve alway been a glass-half-empty girl who faked that I’m not unless I was around those safest and closest. Bless their hearts, they have long borne my frequent lament, my incessant pining, my uncanny ability to see all that I was missing instead of all that I had.

My journey from empty to full began about nine years ago when I began writing on the internet. Turning the everyday stories of my messy, post-career life as a mother of three littles began to reorient my perspective. I’d begin a post with some sort of frustration or less than ideal situation, and lo, by the time I was finished, lemonade had replaced the lemons. Gratitude had replaced complaint. Grace had replaced failure.

It was the most serendipitous thing of my life. My own words would show up, one at a time, and take me somewhere else, even though I still lived in the same life. That’s still the way it happens. I never know exactly where they’ll lead; I simply follow the letters like bread crumbs toward a destination.

Usually that destination is a hopeful one, but not always. Like the Psalm that ends in honest declaration instead of victory and refreshment,

Darkness is my closest friend. 

Even then, our souls can find consolation as striving and pretending come to a halt, giving way to the strange peace of acceptance.


Through writing, I discovered that that even our messiest of days are tinged with possibility. Redemption awaits. We only need to find the smallest of pathways and choose to keep walking.


The gateway to a life of gratitude looks different for each of us — nature, reflection, rest, stepping away from it all for a moment or a day, prayer and meditation, a needful anti-depressant, reading Scripture, helping someone else, counseling, books.

I’m not talking about escapism or running away; I’m talking about reorientation. We find a way to see the same situation with different eyes.

We do this in both everyday and epic ways. I’ll share a story for both.

For years now, my vehicle has felt like a second home. With three kids in three different schools, with sports and youth group and all the things, I became downright bitter about the constant running around. Sadly, my martyrdom wasn’t a silent one.

And then I began doing the math, realizing that my days in the minivan with these kids were numbered.

Picking my daughter up from cheerleading practice every day felt like an inconvenience and an interruption until I began to see it as an opportunity for connection. Sometimes that connection looked like listening and biting my tongue as she vented her anger. Sometimes the connection looked like swinging by Sonic on the way home and laughing together as we listened to the Popcast. Sometimes it looked like arguing and steely silence. But always, it was an opportunity to water the soil of relationship.

And then there are the “epic” reorientations.

This usually requires divine intervention because it means life has so completely gone off the rails, all we can feel and see is that last line of Psalm 88: Darkness is my closest friend.

In 2011, I had just finished reading Ann Voskamp’s modern classic, One Thousand Gifts. It was providential to say the least, though I had no way of knowing it at the time.

Life did go off the rails.

And through the most unexplainable yet clearly divine power, I dropped to my knees, face to floor and gave thanks. I remember exactly where I was in my house. I remember the time of day.

I had never done that before and I haven’t done it since. But the message of that book had prepared my soul for the uninvited story I was just beginning to live.

Though I didn’t stay in that posture of gratitude moment by moment and day by day, I believe that experience shot a sacred arrow into an unseen battle. I knew my circumstances weren’t a cruel cosmic joke. This was all out war. And the battle was for my family. I resolved that day to fight for what was mine and for what was God’s.

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It’s the strangest, most counterintuitive thing to say but it’s true: the grief and the fight began with thankfulness.

Whether it’s something as inconsequential as a disappointing grade or something as devastating as family fracture, redemption begins when we dare to look Devastation in the face and call it Possibility.

Ann Voskamp says this,

That which we refuse to thank Christ for — we refuse to believe Christ can redeem.


It’s the season of thanks but that doesn’t mean it’s all holiday drinks from Starbucks and happy Thanksgiving anticipation. I’ve learned that giving thanks isn’t a list or conjured up sentimentalism or an obligatory thing we do around the family table.

The deepest gratitude often looks like surrender.

It looks like humility as I relinquish my rights and expectations to receive what life is instead of what I want life to be. 

It looks like a discipline that doesn’t get easier but comes to me more quickly over time.

It looks like fighting the emotion of resentment with the counter emotion of thankfulness. 

It looks like choosing to see the good that’s there instead of the good that’s missing. 

It looks like receiving the everyday and epic moments with a heart of faith and trust in the One who lived and died and lived again — teaching us that every death actually holds the potential for new life. 

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Resources and Inspiration

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are :: This modern classic is one to return to over and over again.

Hope Heals: A True Story of Overwhelming Loss and an Overcoming Love :: The real life story of Katherine and Jay Wolf. Their lives point others to choose hope and gratitude, no matter the circumstances. I love following them on Instagram too!

The Lazy Genius Practices Thankfulness {short podcast} :: “It feels right to give thanks in November, but it also feels forced and annoying sometimes. Let’s get back to the basics of gratitude and actually enjoy a season of giving thanks. No daily journals necessary.” Yes and Amen.

How to Give Thanks for Your REAL {messy * beautiful * laughable * sorrowful * honest * hopeful} LIFE :: a November post by yours truly : )

Follow me on Instagram for 30 days of thanks!


My friend Kimberly invited me to join her in this endeavor. It’s something she’s done the last few years and she said it’s helped to prepare her heart for Advent. I need that. My hope is to inspire all of us to give thanks for the ordinary gifts of our real lives. 

“30 Days of Actual Gratitude” :: Because we should never take ourselves too seriously. : ) You guys, Knox and Jamie from the Popcast are doing #30daysofactualgratude on Twitter. It’s the best.



New here?

I’m all about helping you recapture the possibility of your right-now life. Each post provides courage, companionship, and resources for life lived real.

If that sounds like something you need, sign up in the box below to receive fresh hope and possibility delivered to your inbox.