Self -care often has a bad rap. some might say you should be more focusing on serving others and less on your self. Whilst serving others is a very important aspect of faith, caring, and looking after yourself is also very important. Self-care is so much more than just going for a walk, or doing sometime nice that makes you feel good. It is not limited to these activities. Self-care means recognizing and acting on the truth that, in order to be at your best, you must take good care of yourself.
Where is the bible does it talk about self- care?
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Why self-care is important?
If I slept poorly and didn’t eat my breakfast or lunch, I’m not functioning at my best and it would affect my concentration and how I’m working. Self-care is more of a discipline. I must go to bed on time in order for me to wake up early, this involves discipline, I must prepare and eat my lunch, more discipline, etc. Whilst this will vary from person to person, self-care requires practice and discipline and is worth every effort. Like everyone, there are some activities I find exciting and I am passionate about, and others I find draining and overwhelming. During difficult times, some of us might find waking up early and having a schedule written down helps to restore and recharge while others might be more creative and enjoy outdoor activities or journaling, the list goes on.
From a Catholic perspective, we are both body and soul and we need to take care of both. 1 Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” We need to take care of ourselves physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and in our relationships. We cannot accomplish being okay by sheer willpower, we have to work towards it through proper self-care. A lot of us are struggling at the moment and with the pandemic, there is even more stress and uncertainty in everyone’s lives. Now more than ever we need to ensure we are getting enough sleep and not staying up late at night watching movies only to lie in the next morning. Habit and routine are essential to live a healthy lifestyle.
Some helpful tips for self-care as a Catholic
- Ground yourself in prayer and in the community – prayer is so important as it helps us get closer to God. Create a daily prayer schedule with morning and evening prayer. Find new devotions to pray or join a youth group and join them for prayer. Pure in Heart is a great start for 18 to 35-year-olds. Perhaps join a virtual BIble study or a Catholic youth group. The more time we spend with people of the faith and learn more about the faith the more strength we will get from the Lord.
- Remember what you can and cannot control – there are things at the moment that are simply out of our hands. I have many friends who don’t know when they will go back to work or college, friends who have had to change the date of their wedding on a few different occasions during COVID, and others who are struggling with the restrictions and the uncertainty. It can seem like an overwhelming time. Definitely seek professional help from a counselor if you are struggling as this can really help. Talk with your friends, arrange that phone call and check-in with friends to see how they are. Pray with your friends or do a bible study together. So much strength comes when we turn to our friends and do an activity together.
- Do fun activities that relieve stress – during lockdown I took up painting and sowing. I may not be the best at either activity but I found learning a new skill and exploring my creative outlook helped me relieve stress with things that were out of my control. Also diving into the word of God and some amazing good spiritual classics. If you would like to do some spiritual readings and unsure where to start, I will link some really good ones for you to check out. Podcasts are also great to listen to and you learn so much by listening to good podcasts. We have many podcasts and radio shows on the Pure in Heart website for you to check out.
- St Benedict and St Therese – The Little Rule and The Little Way – by Dwight Longenecker
- Consecration to St Joseph by Fr Donald Calloway
- Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales
- Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross