Re-Thinking Self-Care and The Bare Minimum Self-Care Routine

Re-Thinking Self-Care and The Bare Minimum Self-Care Routine

We’re reading through ReFresh in our study group and the topic of self-care has emerged as a confusing concept for many of us.

What exactly is self care? Is it selfish?

Is it compatible with Christianity? Aren’t we supposed to deny ourselves? Isn’t self-care “taking thought for our lives”?

Is this concept a generational one? Did the older generation practice self-care?

Today, I want to hash out a few of these questions.

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What exactly is self care?

If you are anything like me, when you think about self-care, you think

  •  a day away from adult responsibilities.
  • a day at the spa or an hour massage.
  • binging on Netflix
  • sleeping in

We tend to think of it as a last ditch effort to avoid the looming breakdown that comes with the American burnout lifestyle. We think in terms of mini- getaways to help me before I jump back into the unsustainably crazy hectic lifestyle I’ve crafted for myself.

Self care, according to these ideas are not really care but reactions and last resorts, the band-aid that keeps me from snapping or collapsing with exhaustion. This is not a way to live.

So what is self-care?

I believe that self-care is simply care for ones self.

The Dictionary of Nursing defines it as the practice of activities that are necessary to sustain life and health, normally initiated and carried out by the individual for him or herself.

When you think self-care, parallel it with newborn care.  How do you best care for your body/baby as a steward of it? Well, let’s think about newborns.

When we care for newborns, we are very particular about what they eat ( and how and when). We insist that they nap and get sufficient sleep because babies need their sleep!  We think about their clothing, their schedule, their environment, over or under stimulation, and these are just the very basics.

As women, we tend to put ourselves last. We run ourselves ragged, we over-commit, neglect our health, don’t get enough sleep, and sometimes even forget to eat. In short, we are setting ourselves up for health and wellness problems.

Is Self-Care Selfish?

Self-care is not selfish. Our bodies are the “Holy Spirit’s temple” so we should think about how we care for our own vessel.

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” I Cor. 6:19,20

When we neglect the very basics of self-care, when we eat whatever we want, neglect exercise, burn the candle at both ends, we begin to feel the spiritual consequences of neglecting our physical temples. We can’t abuse our bodies and thrive mentally or spiritually.

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Self-care is actually a stewardship issue and requires quite a bit of good-old “self control”.

Here’s why.

You have to say no to many things in order to practice self-care.

  • You have to say no to sugary and fatty foods that are full of empty calories and would add excess weight to your body.
  • You have to say no to late night tv or hobbies so you can get your 8 hours of sleep.
  • You have to say no to overpacking your schedule.
  • You have to say no to sitting and laziness and yes to exercise.
  • You have to say no negative thought patterns that keep you in a rut.
  • You need to cut out good things to make room for the best things.

Is this generational?

When we think about self-care as a stewardship issue, I don’t think it’s a generational thing. Our grandparents worked hard but stopped to rest. My own grandparents worked together on the cranberry bog but made family time a priority. They’d take an evening drive together. They’d sit together in the evening. They knew when to work and when to stop. My grandfather told me once how he would be invited out with friends but he wanted to stay home with his wife and kids. Family meals were central to family life, which meant more good food and less fast food.

Some thoughts for getting back on track.

Mini-retreats are a good thing, but they shouldn’t be a last ditch effort. We should plan time to refresh our souls and care for our bodies on a daily/weekly/annual basis.

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Evaluate:

Sit down and figure our how sustainable your current life is. Are you headed for a breakdown? Are you taking care of your soul? Are you reading God’s word and meditating on good things? What are you feeding your temple? Are you overweight? What can you do about that? Are you doing some exercise every day? Is it exercise you enjoy and will continue? Are you overbooked? Do you have any downtime for creativity and time to breathe? Are you getting 8 hours of sleep a night?

Daily: {{the basics}}: eating right, getting your sleep, some exercise, some down time for creativity and growth, meditating on God’s Word which is the intentional filling of your mind with good things vs. the emptying of your mind of eastern religion.

Weekly: God has given us the grace of weekly sabbath rest. This is a time of corporate worship and encouragement, family time, and rest. Don’t be afraid to embrace this good gift.

Occasional Retreats: Special days of rest and reflection are always helpful to your body and perspective and help you be a better wife, mom, friend.

Some of my favorite mini-retreats:

  • A day away at the beach, park, or other attraction.
  • A lunch date with a friend, my mom, or sisters.
  • A stay-cation where I plan to listen to sermons or podcasts that challenge me or feed me spiritually, plus lunch on our patio.

Have you been practicing self-care? What have you found that works? Do you need to rethink your current practices and re-adjust your daily routine? Share your plans in the comments.

 

Other posts on the topic:

Refresh: Intro to a Grace-Paced Life.

Refresh Recap Part 2

Refresh Recap Part 3

Rethinking Self-Care. Is it Biblical?

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2 thoughts on “Re-Thinking Self-Care and The Bare Minimum Self-Care Routine”

  • Following this topic. God does tell us to glorify Him with our body and our spirit, so self=care is biblical with that motive. It still is not easy to make that a priority without feeling selfish. Maybe singing “Yes, Jesus Loves ME” while practicing self=care habits would help~ 🙂

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