Self-care is a trendy topic, especially in our society driven by accomplishment and busy-ness. How do we slow down and make sure that we don’t burn out from all the doing? How do we make sure that we take some time to recharge without feeling guilty that we’re not accomplishing? Without feeling that we’re wasting our time being lazy or self-indulgent?
These self-care tips are meant to help you not only slow down and recharge, but also to help you reconnect with God in every season of your life, especially those that seem arid or overwhelming.
Why does it matter?
Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Matthew 22:37-38 NIV
When we give someone a gift, we pick out something special that will truly bless them – not something that’s broken or faded or used. When Jesus calls us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, He’s calling us to offer our very selves as a gift to our Creator. He’s not suggesting, Do a whole bunch of things for God; He’s saying, Offer your whole self—that’s the greatest gift you can give! We do that by offering the very best of ourselves – and that means taking care of us.
What does it look like?
Here’s some ideas to get you started:
- Listen to worship music. Activate the atmosphere of heaven into your space.
- Set boundaries. Yep, that’s all – set the boundaries.
- Say no. It’s totally ok to say ‘no” to people places and things – just fyi.
- Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
- Take another route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
- Goof around for a bit. Schedule in five minutes of “play” (non-directed activity) several times throughout your day.
- Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself.
- Run (or walk, depending on your current physical health) for a few minutes. Or go up and down the stairs three times.
- Narrow your food choices. Pick two healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and rotate for the week.
- Activate your self-soothing system. Stroke your own arm, or if that feels too weird, moisturize.
- Make one small change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water each day, or have an extra portion of veggies each meal.
- Give your body a treat. Pick something from your wardrobe that feels great next to your skin.
- Be still. Sit somewhere scerene, and be quiet for a few minutes.
- Take a quick nap. Ten to twenty minutes can reduce your sleep debt and leave you ready for action.
- Imagine you’re your best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
- Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, or pick up an extra carton of milk for a neighbor.
- Check in with your emotions. Sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling.
- Write out your thoughts. Go for fifteen minutes on anything bothering you. Then let it go as you burn or bin the paper.
- Choose who you spend your time with today. Hang out with “Radiators” who emit enthusiasm and positivity, and not “Drains” whose pessimism and negativity robs energy.
- Stroke a pet. If you don’t have one, go to the park and find one. (Ask first!)
- Get positive feedback. Ask three good friends to tell you what they love about you.
- Make a small connection. Have a few sentences of conversation with someone in customer service such as a sales assistant or barista.
- Have a self-date. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you (reading, your hobby, visiting a museum or gallery, etc.)
- Exercise a signature strength. Think about what you’re good at, and find an opportunity for it today.
- Take a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.
- Ask for help—big or small, but reach out.
Please let us know how you practice self-care in the comments.