Self-Care

Several weeks ago, I wrote about the need to practice self-reflection effectively.  That blog was dedicated to identifying the benefits of self-reflection and offered several steps that, if followed, would make your time of self-reflecting more beneficial.

Self-reflecting is an action designed to look back on a person’s recent actions and to critically evaluate them so that when those circumstances arise again, that person will be able to respond more appropriately.

This is similar to when an athlete watches a video of a previous game to learn from earlier mistakes and to be better prepared for future games.

Self Care

While self-reflection is backward-looking, another reflective action you should consider is self-care.

What is Self Care

Self-care is any activity that we should deliberately do to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.  Although it’s a simple concept in theory, it’s something we very often overlook. Good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also key to a good relationship with oneself and others.

What isn’t self-care?

Self-care isn’t a selfish act. It is not only about considering our needs; it is rather about knowing what we need to do to take care of ourselves and subsequently be able to take care of others as well. That is, if I don’t take enough care of myself, I won’t be able to care for anyone else.

Self-Care for Business Owners

While self-care is often associated with parents caring for small children or adult children caring for elderly parents, the idea applies to business owners and entrepreneurs.  Those that work for you rely on you to make good decisions, be active in the business, and be available for advice and support.  For you to do that, you need to care for yourself first.

How to Provide Self Care

Self-care needs to be something you actively plan, rather than something that just happens. It is an active choice, and you must treat it as such. Opportunities to practice self-care are generated by adding self-care activities to your calendar and by announcing your self-care plans to others to increase your commitment to self-care

Actions to Implement to Improve Self Care

  • Create a “no” list of things you know you don’t like, or you no longer want to do (such as not checking emails at night, not attending gatherings you don’t like, and not answering your phone during lunch/dinner).
  • Promote a nutritious and healthy diet.
  • Get enough sleep. Adults usually need 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • It is as good for our emotional health as it is for our physical health and it increases serotonin levels which leads to improved mood and energy.
  • Follow-up with medical care. Don’t put off checkups or visits to the doctor.
  • Use relaxation exercises and practice meditation.
  • Spend enough time with your family and friends.
  • Do at least one relaxing activity every day, whether it’s taking a walk or nap, casual reading, gardening, cooking, or meeting with friends.
  • Look for opportunities to laugh!

The Bible

When you look closely at the recommended actions for self-care (listed above), they are the same actions that you need to alleviate the stress and anxiety in our lives.  Self-care from a clinical standpoint is a series of relaxation techniques that will alleviate stress an allow us to enjoy our working and non-working hours better.

The Bible is a pathway to genuine self-care—there is no self; you turn everything over to the Creator of the Universe.  Matthew 11:28-30 says.

 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.”

Stress and anxiety caused by work pressures can be reduced or alleviated by exercising or cooking.  But those stresses will return the next day.

Taking those stresses to God and asking Him to remove them provides a permanent strategy to deal with the pressures of life.

By all means, practice self-care.  Exercise, spend time with friends, read, whatever you need to relax and enjoy life.  But when it comes to care for your physical and mental health perpetually, turn that over to God.