This past week during our Sanctuary Course – we looked at the importance of Self-Care.
We considered how practicing good self-care can help reduce stress and promote flourishing mental health. What is “self-care?”
“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”
Self-care is intentional. It involves engaging in activities – with the specific purpose of loving and caring for ourselves. Think of the definition – and you realize there are different facets to this –
Mental Self-Care – doing things to care for the health of our minds. Prayer. Meditation on Scripture. Enjoying a hobby – learning a new craft or skill – are all examples.
Emotional Self-Care – journaling and processing our emotions, listening to music, talking with a close friend – are ways we can grow in healthy emotional self-awareness and self-expression. Emotional health and maturity are vital to caring well for ourselves.
Physical Self-Care – caring for our bodies. Learning to be attentive to the ways our bodies carry stress. Diet. Exercise. Rest. Relaxation. Recreation. Some ways we can care well for our bodies.
These are some of the ways we can care well for ourselves.
We discovered through our conversation that self-care is actually something God invites us to do. He made us. He formed us. He wants us to love and care for ourselves.
He also knows that the better we learn to care for ourselves – the better we are able to love and care for others. Healthy self-care actually enables us to serve others in healthy and helpful ways.
We bumped up against our own tendencies towards self-hatred.
We bumped up against our sense that “self-care” sounds so selfish.
We had to face the reality that many of us aren’t so great at loving and caring for ourselves.
Our honesty with ourselves, with each other, and with the LORD was a big help. I know it has led me to reflect on how I too can grow in practicing self-care.
It was a tangible experience of how much we need each other right now as a church family. We need people. Places. Where we can connect. Where we can be honest and vulnerable. Where we can share each other’s burdens. Where we can encourage each other in healthy habits. Where we can even be an encouragement to each other to take better care of ourselves.
Let me ask YOU – how are YOUR “self-care” practices right now?
What can you do this weekend to care for yourself? To care well for the health of your mind? For your emotional health? For your body?
If you are like me – and I think many of us taking the Sanctuary Course – it might take time to discover self-care practices that work for you. However – it will be well worth the investment and contribute not only to your own mental health – but help you in offering the gift of your care and presence to others.
Take care . . .