As I sit to write this article, I smirk a little because in my own life right now, I can desperately affirm what I am about to say. Self-care is critical to living a fulfilling life as it enables you to appreciate your life, even in all the busyness or the difficult and stressful circumstances.
What is self-care? If you’re working in the social services field, you probably know this concept well, from either emphasizing it for yourself and colleagues in order to function at your work or you are emphasizing it for your clients in order for them to begin a healing process. If this is an unfamiliar term, this is of my most important piece of advice to you: Take time to take care of you.
Yea, ok, taking care of yourself. Not hard. Right? Actually, it can be very difficult, especially if we have preconceived notions that self-care is perhaps narcissistic or a waste of time. It’s neither of those things. Self-care is not only caring about yourself, but it is truly recognizing your unique and important needs and making sure that you take time to meet to those needs. The truth is, as we have adamantly encouraged here at PINC, you cannot possibly love others well if you are exhausted, burnt-out, or ignoring issues in your life.
Self-care is not self-indulgence. Magazines and commercials try to convince us daily that we need that glorious piece of chocolate or that very expensive dress. They hone in on the idea of self-care, but manipulate us into thinking that it means indulgence. Now, sometimes it can be giving yourself grace to indulge (go for it!), but that is not all self-care is. In fact, it’s better to think of self-care like keeping your gas tank on full instead of running out of gas and trying to fill up. Self-care is wiser than the in-the-moment gratification because indulgence doesn’t really fulfill.
I want you to think about your physical health, mental and emotional health, and your spiritual health. Practice time! I want you to write down (seriously) a few things that you can do, specifically, for yourself to meet those needs in each area. For example, take time to exercise in the week, even if that means going for a brief walk. It is good for your body and of course, in Elle Woods’ infallible observation in Legally Blonde: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy and happy people don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.” Exercise can make you feel better.
For your mental and emotional health, maybe take time to read a good book or learn something new. Get away from the television and enjoy some quality friend time. Those things build up that heart of yours and remind you that you are loved, and we all need to be reminded of that.
Lastly, where are you with God? Have you watered that soil or is it a valley of dry bones? Sometimes, we’ve got dry seasons and we’ve got deep challenges, especially with the Lord. I just want you to consider that above everything, keeping up with His time will refresh and sustain you.
If you find yourself right now feeling tired of just about everything or feeling like you’re just keeping your head above water, it is time to recognize some unmet needs. If you’re married, single, got babies or live completely alone, you have needs that only you can meet. I know we’re all busy, but this is a worthy investment in your sanity and quality of life. Invest in you because no one else can the way that you can. Oh and it’s good to be back! I’ve missed you!
All my love,