The Importance of Self Care
So, is self-care really that important? We see this word used a lot, but is it really important or is self-care just a popular thing people are talking about right now? The scoop: the importance of self-care should not be devalued.
Self-care simply means taking care of ourselves-our physical and emotional needs, from eating well to taking time for ourselves to rest so we do overextend ourselves and burn out.
We need to take care of ourselves so we can live our lives as God calls us to live them. We cannot be effective if we are trying to run on empty.
We can look at a car as an example. When we have a car, we need to take care of it or it will not run properly. We need to add gasoline, change the oil, make sure there is air in the tires, and change the battery every now and again. Our car will not run well, or at all, if we fail to do any of these things regularly.
We need to take care of ourselves just like we need to take care of a car. We need to take the time to eat (add gasoline), exercise and have fun (change the oil), take the time do activities that recharge us (put air in the tires), and evaluate our current self-care activities and change them if needed to make sure they are working for us (change the battery every now and again).
Self-care is important because we want to be our best.
Who does not want to be her best?
Now, best does not mean perfect. No way! Best means trying to be the best we can be each day in our words, actions, and thoughts.
Have you ever acted in a way that is not typical of yourself and wondered why you did it (like yelling at your child)? You were not being your best in that moment.
Have you ever done something for someone else even though it was hard to do (like forgiving someone who hurt you)? You were being your best in that moment.
It feels good, doesn’t it, when we are at our best? We feel good about ourselves and we are happy. When we feel this way, we want to feel this good all the time. It is contagious!
It is much easier to be our best when we have the resources inside of ourselves to be able to be our best. When we are running low or on empty in any area of our lives (emotionally or physically) it is more difficult to be our best. We can be grouchy, short-tempered, or lazy instead.
How can we stay at this level of best in our lives? It can certainly be challenging! Looking at just one day at a time is helpful. Just focus on today.
Self-care is important because, when we take care of ourselves, we can more easily be our best in all aspects of our lives.
When we take care of ourselves, we show others that we value ourselves. We show that rest and recharging are important.
Self-care does not mean selfishness. Eating proper, healthy meals and getting enough sleep are not selfish. Taking a day of rest each week is not selfish.
When we take care of ourselves, others notice that our demeanor and our behavior are more joyful and peaceful. They may ask what we do to be so cheerful or to not be resentful. When others ask, we can share with them what we do to nurture and take care of ourselves. Our example may inspire them.
Self-care is important because it helps us to be who God made us to be.
When we are burned out, frustrated, or resentful, are we fully being the person God created for us to be?
Instead, we are caught up in our negative feelings or our ill health. We know in our hearts that this is not the way God calls for us to live. He wants us to live our lives to the fullest, to be happy and have His peace in our hearts and minds.
God created each of us as unique individuals. We each have talents and abilities others do not have. We are called to share these with others in our lives. God will show us how to do this, but we will have difficulty hearing His voice or even wanting to follow it when we are run down because we are not taking care of ourselves.
Self-care is important because it helps us to listen to God and have the desire and energy to be who God made us to be.
Self-care is important because we need to love ourselves as we love others.
When we practice self-care, we honor God and we show Him that we value ourselves as He created us.
In Matthew 22: 39, Jesus tells us: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“You shall,” He says, not “you should.”
Sometimes it can seem like a tall order to love our neighbor! Yet, sometimes it can be even more difficult to love ourselves. The same genuine love and care that we show others Jesus tells us to show ourselves as well.
But do we do it?
How can we do this?
We need to understand who we are in relation to Jesus. He died for us so we could be in Heaven with Him. That is very powerful. This is how much we are loved and cherished by Him.
Once we know this truth in our minds, we need to accept it in our hearts. Truly and fully accepting my identity as a child of God can be challenging. It can feel overwhelming, too. Yet, God freely gives us the gift of Himself and the gift of His great love. We are to share this gift with others and with ourselves.
When we truly love ourselves as well as we love others, we honor God. We show Him that we accept His call to live a life of genuine love.
Recap: The Importance of Self-Care should not be overlooked.
When we value ourselves, it is easier to make the time to take care of ourselves and our needs. Self-care is not selfish, but necessary. Just like a car, we can’t run on empty.
Practicing self-care helps us to be our best, set a good example for others, be who God made us to be, and shows God that we value ourselves.
Where do I go from here? Resources for self-care
So, self-care is important. But, what do I do next? For starters, take one day at a time.
Here are some resources to help you make self-care part of your life:
From Blessed Catholic Mom:
From Homegrown Scholars: