We are continuing our Mental Health Awareness Month with looking at ways you can introduce self-care into your daily routines.
The reality is that when we work for a church we have the immense honour and privilege to be actively participating in caring for others (regardless of the role we hold) and sometimes when you come alongside others, our well-being can be affected.
Dr Rebecca Loundar; a Clinical Psychologist well known in our world, has shared some insights and tips for all of us. Regardless of whether you are pastoring others as your job on staff or whether you just are working alongside other people, these three steps can help anyone to make self-care a part of your daily life.
First Things First
What we need to do is to work out ways that we can put ourselves in environments where we can attend to ourselves.
Rebecca explains: “Every person deserves to be well – to develop and enhance their own well-being or their own sense of wellness. At different points of life we can all find ourselves at different stages on that continuum of well-being, in relation to multiple different issues.”
Here are some places you can start:
1. Take responsibility for self-care
The first step is acknowledging that self-care is a responsibility of every individual.
It’s not saying we’re taking our eyes off God or we’re taking away from what his role is with us, but it’s about being responsible with the gift of life God has given us. God has given us ourselves to look after and he can work through us to support people, so it’s about caring for the vessel through which God can work.
“You must love your friend in the same way you love yourself” Matthew 22:39 (TPT)
2. Make self-care a part of your daily life
The second step is not only taking care of yourself when you get into trouble or when you’re exhausted but as part of your daily life.
Think about this: When you wake up, do you immediately reach for your phone or do you pause and engage with the day?
It’s important that we pause and engage with the day so we don’t go in rushed and distracted. What are the daily, weekly and monthly steps that can be incorporated into your routines to make self-care a commitment?
3. Develop the practice of being present
Sometimes we drive from one place to another and we don’t even know how we got from point A to point B. That might mean we are not as present as we could be.
A good exercise for being present for anyone is focusing on three things they can see, three things they can touch, and three things they can hear, because this forces our senses to get connected to the present.