Self care is an essential when it comes to being the best version of us. In order to pour out to others we first need to be poured into. We need to be poured into every way that we pour out, physically, emotionally, spiritually, you name it. This month as we focus on mental health we are starting at the foundation of overall personal health, caring for yourself. Becoming the best version of us starts with first making sure that what is inside is taken care of.
Mark 12:31 shares that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. We can only care for someone else as much as we care for ourselves. The enemy likes to tell us that self care is selfish. He knows that we don’t want to strive to be selfish, therefore he makes us think that the thing that is most important (self care) is too selfish to do. We feel selfish when we say no to an invite, but you’re worn out, tired, and what if a night in is exactly what you need to care for yourself and refuel.
You may feel selfish with your money by not paying for someone else’s’ meal, you see others spend their money in bigger ways but God’s teaching you to stay in budget and steward your finances well know that your generous day will come. It is not selfish if it is caring for the deepest parts of who you are. It’s not selfish to remove an activity from your very busy plate or practice financial self control. Caring for yourself is not selfish, taking a mental health day is not selfish. It may be more selfish to not give your best, than to take the time to care for yourself so that you can be your best.
When life gets busy it can be easy to forget what is the best way to care for yourself, I know I do this. Similar to when it’s Monday morning and someone asks you what you did over the weekend, these questions always make my brain go….. And I have to pause and ask myself what I even did. Our minds get so full of information we can’t even recall recent events much less remember what you did on your last self care day. Sometimes we have to pause and think about ways we enjoy caring for ourselves. Write down what you effortlessly love to do, is it art? Running? A nap? Writing? Whatever it is, do more of it.
Think about what you would choose to do if you had a blank calendar. It’s a Friday morning and you have nothing on the calendar, what would you fill it with? Find things that are fun, that you enjoy, but that also refresh your soul. We can see this called a sabbath, the one commandment God emphasizes as holy. The most important but the hardest to do. It is a must when it comes to living a life while hopefully not burning out. The sabbath is an intentional day to rest and fill your heart with gratitude for what God has done. The sabbath is a day God has gifted to us because he knew we needed it.
Imagine if someone gave you a free vacation, you would be crazy not to take it. That is exactly what God did with the sabbath, he is saying “its ok to not be productive today, its ok to rest, I know you need it, that’s why I have created it for you.” Even as I type this I am realizing how much I needed this reminder as well. We live in a super busy world, our bodies are tired and our minds are worn out. God has freely given you one vacation day a week. It can feel as if a day like this is not that important, I can “find ways to sabbath throughout the week,” but that’s also why seasons of stress, irritability, and tiredness can fill our days. God has given not just the instruction of self care but a whole day to do it!
We can often read God’s words and say that it was long ago and not comparable to the culture we now live in. His words are so timeless, and it is amazing that the instruction he gave then is still so crucial for us now. He knew long ago that we would need the sweet reminder of caring for ourselves now. Let today serve as inspiration to care for yourself, it’s the highway to getting to care for others but it’s also the secret to living a life optimized in God’s presence.