Self-care in the "church" world can sometimes come off as selfish. While some may perceive self-care as being selfish or self-indulgent, it is actually an essential practice for maintaining one's physical, emotional, and mental health. When you take care of yourself, you are better equipped to take care of others and fulfill your responsibilities in life. Think of it this way: if you don't take care of yourself, you may eventually become overwhelmed, burned out, or ill, which can make it difficult for you to care for others or fulfill your obligations. On the other hand, when you prioritize your own well-being, you are able to show up as your best self, and you have more to your marriage, family, and other responsibilities. Self-care is not selfish, it's self-preserving.
WHERE TO START:
Self-care practices can take many forms, depending on what you like and what helps you to recharge. Here are some ideas:
Physical self-care: Take care of your body by eating healthy, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and engaging in regular exercise or physical activity that you enjoy.
Emotional self-care: Spend time with loved ones, connect with friends, or engage in activities that bring you joy and comfort, such as listening to music, reading, or watching your favorite movie.
Mental self-care: Practice shifting your mind to dwell on good things, meditate on God's word, or try deep breathing exercises to help manage stress and anxiety. Consider seeking support from a therapist or counselor if needed.
Spiritual self-care: Connect with your church community, pray, and try regularly attending worship services. Even try spending time in nature or engage in activities that help to promote a sense of peace rather than the chaos of life.
Creative self-care: Engage in activities that allow you to express yourself creatively, such as writing, drawing, or playing music.
Social self-care: Spend time with friends and loved ones, engage in activities that you enjoy together, or join groups or organizations that share your interests.
Remember that self-care is a personal practice, and what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to find practices that help to recharge you so that you are able to be the person God is calling you to be.
As a follower of Jesus, incorporating rest or self-care into your daily life can even help you connect with God on a deeper level.
Schedule regular times for rest and relaxation: Make time in your schedule for activities that help you unwind, such as taking a leisurely walk, reading a book, or spending time with loved ones.
Practice Sabbath: Observe a weekly Sabbath, taking one day to rest, reflect, and recharge. Use this day to focus on spiritual activities, such as prayer, reading the Bible, or attending worship services.
Incorporate meditation and prayer: Take time each day to meditate on Scripture and pray. You can do this in the morning, during your lunch break, or before you go to bed.
SELF-CARE IN THE BIBLE:
Scripture is filled with examples of rest!
God rested on the seventh day of creation - Genesis 2:2-3
Jesus invites us to come to Him and find rest - Matthew 11:28-30
The Sabbath day was instituted as a day of rest for God's people - Exodus 20:8-11
David speaks of finding rest in God - Psalm 62:1-2
God promises His people rest and refreshment - Jeremiah 31:25
The writer of Hebrews encourages us to strive to enter God's rest - Hebrews 4:9-11
Jesus sets an example of taking time to rest and pray - Mark 1:35
The book of Ecclesiastes talks about the value of rest - Ecclesiastes 4:6
God promises to give His people rest from their enemies - Deuteronomy 12:10
Jesus and His disciples took time to rest and rejuvenate - Mark 6:31
WHERE TO START:
Below is a 7 days example of ways to start adding rest, self-care, and scripture into your routine.
Day 1: Mindful Morning: Start your day with 10 minutes of Scripture reading and prayer. Then, spend 30 minutes doing something that you enjoy. This could be anything from reading a book, taking a bubble bath, or enjoying your favorite cup of coffee.
Day 2: Digital Detox: Disconnect from all digital devices for the day. Turn off your phone, computer, and any other gadgets that you regularly use. Instead, spend the day focusing on activities that don't involve technology, such as hiking, crafting, or spending quality time with loved ones.
Day 3: Creative Expression: Spend 30 minutes engaged in a creative activity that you enjoy. This could be anything from painting, writing, or playing music. Allow yourself to fully immerse in the activity without any distractions or interruptions.
Day 4: Self-Care Spa Day: Treat yourself to some type of relaxation and pampering. Indulge in a bubble bath, long shower, or even laying in the sunshine! Allow space in your day to relax and unwind.
Day 5: Nature: Spend time walking in nature, either alone or with a friend. Allow yourself to fully immerse in the beauty of your surroundings, and take deep breaths of fresh air. If you're feeling adventurous, pack a picnic lunch and take the dog!
Day 6: Social Connection: Spend time connecting with someone you love, whether it's a friend, family member or spouse. This could be a phone call, a dinner date, or a fun activity that you both enjoy. Prioritize deep conversation and genuine connection.
Day 7: Gratitude Practice: Spend time in prayer only giving thanks. Take time to reflect on the past week and all the wonderful moments or things that happened because you took time out of each day for rest.
Self-care can sometimes seem selfish or impractical for the stage of life you find yourself in. However, we can give more of ourselves to our families and obligations when we take time to invest in our mental, emotional and physical well-being. Try each day to find even a small space of time to rest.