One of my goals for 2017 is to get better at self-care.
Honestly, I’m still figuring out what self-care looks like and feels like for me, but at least I’ve got these next 11 months to figure it out and meet my goal. 😉 I’m not going to stress myself out about it — how ironic would that be?
The Case For Self-Care
The funny thing is, self-care and making sure you are well-rested and balanced is actually something that we must practice and approach intentionally! A few years ago, that thought never would have made sense to me. The intense college season of life can do this to you. Between a residency-style year of student teaching, applying for jobs, passing licensing exams, and getting engaged…even just senior year itself was pretty crazy! I’m not sure self-care was on my radar.
After all, aren’t we all busy people trying to meet goals and accomplish things? Who has time to sit back and slow down? We often put ourselves last on our priority list.
Think about what is “valued” in our society. It’s going out, being someone memorable, doing things. It’s all highly visible ways of contributing or interacting. Accomplishing things that others can see is seen as the most desirable way to pass your time.
But I believe that the things you do in the quiet of your own home, or the privacy of your own heart, can be JUST as meaningful and beneficial to the quality of your life as all of those supposedly public accomplishments. And these things are important, too!
How do we make sure we ourselves are “okay” before meeting the needs of others? Is self-care a form of selfishness? I’ve definitely mulled this over lately.
The Ultimate Goal of Self-Care
I’m reading an amazing book right now on the topic of being an assertive person (specifically, on being a loving, assertive Christian). The book is called Speaking the Truth in Love: How To Be an Assertive Christian (*affiliate link).
One of the quotes I came across last week was in an introductory section outlining what assertive behavior is, and I love the way the author explained it:
Assertive behavior is an integral and essential part of the Christian lifestyle. Assertive behavior is behavior that honors the self while honoring others. The assertive person authentically cares for others and at the same time engages in God-pleasing self-care.
The book goes on, obviously, to expand more upon the subject of being assertive – but even that quote related to self-care really stuck with me.
So I can and should make time for self-care in my own life? Yes! And you should, too. All of this, though, is with the goal of being able to authentically care for others because we ourselves have our needs met.
The goal of self-care is to be able to genuinely care for others.
Self-Care In Moderation
Self-care, as a general concept, seems to be growing in popularity or at least awareness.
As with anything, self-care does need to be practiced with moderation. After all, if my entire evening every weeknight after work, and my entire Saturdays, were all about self-care or “Hannah’s time,” then I think I’ve misinterpreted and misrepresented the idea.
Self-care does not mean to treat yourself constantly!! Self-care is not an excuse to become selfish.
Self-care is not meant to be all day, every day. Instead, self-care is an essential element of a full, joyful, productive life lived for God.
If I can learn to infuse just a bit of self-care into my days, then it allows me to be refreshed and energized, ready to reach out to others and make a difference in their lives.
I look forward to chatting about more practical aspects of self-care on the blog soon!
What are your thoughts on self-care? How do you prefer to approach it?