Self-Care: It's More than You Think
Time out. Bubble baths. Massages. Retreats. Wholesome food. Rest.
These activities have become important aspects of a woman's life in recent years. Not that they weren't important before.
But we have a name for them now. They are called "self-care".
We women are realising the value of making space for ourselves, because in the long run, we can better care for others if we care for ourselves. However, it's so much more than caring for yourself just skin-deep; beyond facials and spa days.
Body, Mind, Spirit
As a human, you are made up of a complex mix of bone, sinew, muscle, water and more. However that's just the outer covering. Within your frame are also your MIND (or soul), and SPIRIT. Body, mind and spirit are are interwoven. Like three threads knitted together, they are enmeshed. They are all important entities in themselves which create a whole, unique person. You.
Being interlinked, a positive impact on one of aspect will be good for the other parts; and if one is neglected, it impacts on the health of others.
It's so easy to forget that self-care entails caring for all three. And it pretty much begins with your mind. All the care you give your body is virtually useless if you don't get your mindset right in the first place.
So how do you do self-care?
Well, amongst other things, you care for your body with exercise, clean air, good food, massage, and the list goes on.
You care for your spirit with prayer, quiet times, and worshipping God with others, to name just a few.
It's trickier with your mind though. Is it with sudokus and crosswords? Ummm . . . How do you care for your mind again?
Here are some simple ways to think about mind care . . .
- Being mindful. This is about choosing to be aware of your movement, the air you breathe, the incredible things you see - have you truly noticed the sky recently? It's so easy to go "through the motions", always thinking about the next thing. I so often put my phone down and then have no idea where I put it! I need to get better at this. To stop, and be aware. To feel the weight of my body on the chair, or the rhythym of my breath . It's the act of awareness, and thinking about it.
- Your attitude. An "attitude of gratitude" is always a good place to start. But there are lots more positive attitudes to take hold of: kindness, forgiveness and gentleness are some of them. There was a shift the day I began to commend my kids for being kind. I began choosing to be kind too.
- Being disciplined, by "taking captive every thought". (2 Corinthains 10:5) In other words, being aware of the bad stuff that can so easily creep into your mind and cause havoc. Choose not to go there. Like this downer:
Does he like me? Not? Oh gosh, I must be ugly! I don't feel very feminine. Maybe I'm not feminine? Oh I am confused. Now I'm feeling so depressed. Poor me!
All those negative thoughts head in a downward spiral. But so much internal pain is avoided if you don't even go there in the first place, by taking captive those thoughts.
- Being aware of those little voices in your head. You know, the "recordings" of words your parents and teachers told you, which seem to stick like super glue! When I was a 9-year-old, I was once called 'stupid girl'. Even now, it's amazing how often I tell myself that. When I catch myself, I consciously stop and remind myself not to reinforce the untrue idea. And then I replace it with something which is actually true, like "You are good at this." Or, "You are very able!"
Here is the best mind care advice yet - written to the belivers in Philippi:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. (Philippians 4:8)
So then, go and soak in the bath, and sing a worship song today. But while you are there, remember to look after your precious mind, and speak some kind and loving words to yourself.
That will be so good, for every part of you: Body, Mind and Spirit!
Jenny Baxter cares for five children and two (nearly three) in-loves. Four grandchildren and one husband complete the mix. They are spread from Hobart to Melbourne to Paris to Madrid! During Covid she's begun making sourdough and yoghurt, sometimes successfully.