When you drive a car, numerous factors can cause your car to drift into another lane. External factors such as the weather (wind, rain, and snow) or traffic (congestion, bad drivers) can lead you off course. Internal factors such as malfunctions with the car (engine trouble, no power steering) or distractions in the car (loud children, noisy music playing) could cause you to drift out of your lane. Even if you’re not turning or taking detours and are essentially heading forward, you still have to keep your hands on the steering wheel and continue making minor adjustments.
Many factors also contribute to self-image and identity struggles. Some factors are external (environment, upbringing, circumstances) and some factors are internal (thoughts, beliefs, responses). Just as it is necessary to keep your hands on the wheel of a car to stay headed in the right direction, it’s vital to have your mind and heart centered on God so you can stay on the right path and ground your identity in truth.
Self-care is more than just a buzzword; it encompasses taking deliberate actions to promote and preserve our health, happiness, and overall quality of life. It involves showing kindness to ourselves, acknowledging that we deserve attention and care, and understanding that prioritizing self is not selfish.
The benefits of practicing self-care and treating ourselves like the child of God that we are, are profound and far-reaching. By investing in ourselves, we boost immunity and reduce the risk of disease or chronic conditions. It reduces stress, prevents burnout, and enhances focus and productivity. When we prioritize our well-being, we become better equipped to nurture healthy relationships, fostering a sense of community and support.
Incorporating self-care into our lives requires commitment and intentionality. Here are some tips that have helped me prioritize self-care:
- Make a Schedule: Add massage appointment and hike reminders to a calendar. Establishing a routine and adding self-care activities to your calendar keeps them top-of-mind and ensures you make time for them.
- Learn to Say “No”: Saying no becomes easier the more you say it. It’s important to set boundaries and recognize activities that drain your energy or do not serve your well-being. Saying “no” to such commitments is an act of self-preservation.
- Track Your Sleeping Patterns: Monitor your sleep habits to identify any potential issues and address them promptly, ensuring you get restorative rest.
- Move: Incorporate movement into your daily life, whether through workouts, impromptu dance sessions while cleaning your home, or leisurely walks, as physical activity is essential for overall health.
- Get Some Sun and Fresh Air: Spending time outdoors, even for a short walk helps rejuvenate and reconnect with nature. When you can’t get out for a walk, simply roll down the car windows, blast some music and take the scenic route.
- Learn How to Be Alone: Embrace moments of solitude to process emotions, generate ideas, and recharge your inner batteries. Spend time in prayer to feel your self-worth and feel closer to the Lord.
- Connect with Loved Ones: Balance alone time with moments of community by spending time with friends and family, fostering a sense of belonging and support. An added bonus: laughter. Joyous laughter happens when I’m engaged in conversations with loved ones. A good belly laugh one of the best forms of self-care.
Self-care extends beyond mental wellbeing; it is essential for everyone seeking a stronger and healthier version of themselves. By integrating self-care into our daily lives, we not only empower ourselves to face life’s challenges with grace and grit but also enable us to show up authentically for others and find our truth identity in God. Remember, self-care is an act of love and compassion toward ourselves, it’s a lifeline that ensures we can thrive in an ever-changing world.
To learn more about finding your identity, self worth, and other Keys for Living, visit UHSM partner Hope for the Heart.
Blog Contributed by UHSM Ambassador Yoli Origel.