With this week being National Self Care Week it’s important to take a moment to think about the “why” and the “what” of self care. Self-Care isn’t about putting yourself above everyone else, but in order for your to give the best of yourself to others, work, and your relationships, you have to care about yourself just as much as you would care about someone else.
Imagine it like this. You own a car and you put gas in it, continuing to drive it around town. Eventually the check engine light comes on, but instead of taking that as a warning sign you figure something must just be wrong with the signals in your car so you keep driving. You don’t get the oil changed, you don’t check the fluid levels, you don’t check your tire pressure, you just keep driving. You will literally end up driving your car into the ground because you didn’t care for it enough for it to be capable to care for you.
It’s the same with humans. If you don't take those warning signs you know are your personal warning signs of: working too much, not sleeping enough, not eating correctly, etc., your body is going to break down and make you slow down.
Self-Care, no matter the busyness of life, is a necessity. I firmly believe self-care is in three stages. mental, physical and spiritual. If you only focus on one of those you will cause the three legged stool to fall over. You need to balance out the three evenly in order to have a balanced life.
MENTAL SELF CARE IDEAS
Deep clean one room in your home
That feeling when you walk into your space and you know it’s clean is so wonderful. Your mind has more space to be creative or work more effectively if it’s also not worried about having to keep track of where things are or where they need to go.
There’s nothing like coffee and a pastry. Morning you will be so excited when they wake up and there is a loaf of banana nut bread, or blueberry muffins to take for the commute to work. You can do this on Sunday night so that for the entire week you don’t even have to think about it. You know that you’re covered for breakfast.
Do not feel guilty about this one! It’s actually the opposite. You’re taking care of yourself and paying attention to your body. You know if you’re so tired that you don't really have the energy to go to that party or out to dinner. Listen to your body before it makes you listen. Saying “no” is ok!
PHYSICAL SELF CARE IDEAS
Learn one new piece of equipment at the gym
One of the reasons that many don’t go to the gym is because it’s intimidating to look at all of the machines and wonder “what even is that?” Learn one new piece of equipment at the gym so the next time you’re there you already know how to use it!
Go outside during golden hour
Go outside and take a walk, don’t go with your cellphone (although this is the best time of day for photography). Go outside just to be outside, see the sunset or watch the sunrise. Take a walk literally around the block to pay attention to the leaves and breath in the cool air.
Check to see if you’re due for any doctors appointments
Not everything about self care has to do with bubble baths, although those are wonderful! There are aspects of self care that are important in different ways. Check to see when your last eye appointment, or physical was. Are you due for a new one?
SPIRITUAL SELF CARE IDEAS
Take a look inside
When was the last time you had a really hard laugh? What were two things that you did this week that brought you energy? Write down your answers. Knowing those helps guide you towards your larger lifetime goals.
What are you listening to?
What’s actually important to you? What to know…check what you’re spending your time on. Are you listening to what the world is telling you is important, or are you sticking with what you know is important. Whose opinion matters more?
Realize that it’s ok to practice self-care
I don’t want to start any controversy, but I read an article recently that pretty much bashed self-care for Christians. It was talking about how self-care isn’t of God because you’re not relying on Him, you’re doing other things to function. I personally feel that person had the wrong definition of self-care.
I fully rely on God and I truly believe what He has planned for me will come to pass, and nothing I’m doing when I’m taking care of myself is anti-God. There will always be the potential of the “too much gene” and I do believe you can over self-care, but the actual act of self care isn’t wrong. How can you be your best self for God if you aren’t taking a sabbath and resting. God rested on the 7th day, why would I think I’m better than He is? Why would I feel that I can handle more without asking for help or taking a moment to breathe?