What comes to your mind when you think about self-care?
A few years ago, I would have read an article like this and cringed.
For the longest time, I slapped the term “self-care” on anything I did to spoil myself after a hard day. These were not all bad things. However, I justified a lot of junk food, Netflix, and laziness in the name of self-care.
Ironically, the things I excused as “self-care” were often the exact opposite of taking care of myself.
I don’t think I’m alone here, folks.
I want to encourage you to avoid the mistakes I made and learn how to really take care of yourself.
These are some of my thoughts about approaching self-care with a fresh perspective.
Take care of your body
Junk food used to be my best friend after a rough day. I am admittedly a stress eater, and often indulged my cravings for foods high in sugars and fats.
This is a toxic, twisted version of self-care.
Hard days can be stressful on our bodies. We should be nourishing our bodies with balanced food when we need it the most, not turning to food that makes us feel worse.
Nutritious food doesn’t have to be boring, by the way. There are so many delicious foods that are amazing for your body. Sure, it may not be ice cream (and I am still a firm believer that ice cream can benefit everyone from time to time), but foods that help your body will undoubtedly make you feel better than foods that harm your body.
We only get one body, and it is an incredible gift. To truly take care of it, I have found that having a basic knowledge of nutrition is extremely helpful.
Next time you have a hard day, try reaching for food that nourishes your body instead of reaching for that pint of ice cream. When you’ve fueled your body with nutritious and energy-rich foods, you’ll have the strength you need to take on the stress of the day.
Another way we can take care of our bodies is by exercising. 15-year-old me would try to stop me from writing this, but it’s true.
I know it is way more tempting to just rest after a hard day. Don’t get me wrong, there is an important place for rest. However, working out is beneficial to our bodies and our brains. Exercise is also a productive stress reliever.
So, instead of lounging on the couch all day, get on your feet and take care of your body.
Take care of your soul
This part of self-care is so often overlooked, but it is incredibly important.
Taking care of your soul is such a critical part of taking care of yourself, but it is one that I usually forgot.
When was the last time you spent even a few minutes to quiet your soul and evaluate your spiritual health?
I am often quick to run to empty, meaningless time fillers in hard times. I used self-care to mask laziness as something beneficial. Instead of working through stressful tasks, feelings, or relationships, I would fill my time with empty things and call it rest.
Jesus is never empty, friends. He will always give you rest.
Take care of yourself by valuing your relationship with Jesus. He values His relationship with you. He valued it so much that He was willing to die for it.
He willingly, graciously offers hope and peace with open arms.
Dig into the pages of Scripture. Pray to Him. Prioritize your time with Him.
Take care of your soul by learning to quiet your spirit, resting in the presence of the Father’s love.
How will you practice real self-care?
These are not the only ways to practice self-care. Everyone is different and needs different things to take care of themselves. These are just a few reminders to help you navigate self-care so that you are truly taking care of your body. The bulk of how you take care of yourself is up to you.
I don’t want to make a habit of turning to irresponsible, harmful activities under the guise of taking care of myself.
Will you join me in striving to take care of our bodies well?