Why You Should Practice Self-care & 29 Ways to Do It

Photo by Cihan Soysakal on Unsplash

There’s an idea in both the Christian and non-Christian world that working yourself to death is good.

Being busy is noble.

Stressing is praiseworthy.

And that taking care of yourself is selfish.

But this idea is not in harmony with the Bible. The Bible actually endorses the opposite – take care of yourself.

Here’s some support for this idea:

  • When Elijah fled Jezebel, the angel of the Lord advocated self-care, saying, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for thee.” (1 Kings 19:7 KJV)
  • In Mark 12:30-31 Jesus tells us to love others “as we love ourselves“.
  • After the disciples had been away teaching, Jesus told them to engage in self-care. “‘And he said unto them, ‘Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while’; for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.” (Mark 6:31 KJV)
  • Jesus often went away alone to pray. (Mark 1:35, Mark 6:45-46)
  • Right in the beginning, God created a Sabbath day of rest; a whole day of self-care provided before man even needed it.

Why should you take care of yourself?

Taking care of yourself is about good stewardship.

When you look after something valuable, it lasts longer and serves you better.

In this case, that ‘something’ is you.

Caring for yourself places you in a position where you have what you need to care for, and love others. It empowers you to be a better spouse, parent, employee, and friend.

Is all self-care good?

Nope. Self-care can be taken to the extreme where you only think about yourself and your needs and don’t care about anyone else’s needs.

This is not self-care, it’s selfishness.

What is true self-care?

Anything that recharges you qualifies as self-care. It is neither selfish nor self-indulgent and will vary for different people.

Ideas for practicing self-care:

 

  1. Eat – enjoying a delicious, nutritious meal is self-care. Pay attention to what you are eating. Chew slowly. Leave your phone in another room while you eat.  
  2. Rest – this includes sleeping enough hours or taking naps. It also means learning to listen to your body and mind so you stop work before you are exhausted.
  3. Be in nature – camping, walking the beach, or enjoying a sunrise or sunset are all what I call “Nature Therapy”.
  4. Get a hug – a hug from a loved one will improve your mood, making you a better person to be around.
  5. Play with your dog or cat – giving affection to, and enjoying animals, provides a welcome break from life’s stresses.
  6. Clean, declutter & reorganise a room – clutter clogs the mind. Get rid of it and you will have more mind space to think about things that really matter. You’ll also feel less irritable.   
  7. Take a bath – showers are great when you’re in a hurry, but a bath just asks to be wallowed in. Light a few candles if that’s what floats your boat.
  8. Play – give yourself permission to be a kid again and play with your kids, spouse, or friends. Whether it’s a board game or backyard cricket, allow yourself to have fun.
  9. Exercise – working out, swimming, hiking, running, or even stretching – any kind of movement will increase your happy hormones and tone your body, making you feel better about life.
  10. Work – this can be self-care if you’ve been ill or depressed. Doing something useful will make you feel better.
  11. Listen to, or make, music – music can be wonderfully soothing or stimulating, and is a great way to look after yourself.  
  12. Do something creative – drawing, painting, sewing, woodwork-ing (is that a word? J), writing, or rearranging a room all qualify.
  13. Read non-fiction – this stimulates critical thinking and teaches you new things.  
  14. Learn a new skill – so what if you’re not good at it at first. Do it anyway. The sense of accomplishment will give you a boost.
  15. Do a DIY project – enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you did it yourself without having to pay someone else to do it.
  16. Turn your phone off – take a break from the pressures that social media puts on you. Do something real instead – like that DIY project.
  17. Sort out your finances – ew, sounds bad, but it may be just what you need to improve your life.
  18. Plan ahead – planning helps to avoid a lot of stress and will eliminate chaos from your life.
  19. Talk with a friend – talking to someone you trust helps solve problems in two ways: a) you can get advice from them, b) just talking about a problem often helps you solve it, without any input from anyone else.
  20. Journal – journaling helps you to understand yourself. Sometimes you don’t know what you think or feel about a thing until you write about it.
  21. Write a list of things you’re grateful for – then stick it in a place you will see it often.
  22. Do a priority audit of your life – taking time to figure out what’s most important to you is essential if you’re going to make those things a priority. The use of your time is an indication of where your priorities lie.
  23. Deal with a toxic relationship – unresolved conflict stews in the back of your mind and messes with your thought processes, stealing your joy.
  24. Care for someone in need – taking care of someone else is one of the best ways to forget about your troubles and feel better about life.
  25. Be alone – solitude is a great way to regenerate your energy, especially if you’re an introvert. Extroverts should do this from time to time too.
  26. Pray – prayer puts you in contact with God. It will rejuvenate you physically, mentally, and spiritually.
  27. Bible study – this puts you in contact with God’s mind. It will stimulate your brain in a way that is not exhausting, and refresh your soul. 
  28. Listen to uplifting music and sing along with it – singing positive words out loud reinforces them in your mind.
  29. Fellowship with others – spending time with people who are positive and who will encourage spiritual growth in you is a great way to care for yourself.

Instead of being selfish, self-care is unselfish because it makes you a better spouse, parent, friend, and employee. Take time to care for yourself and live a life you don’t need to escape from regularly in order to maintain your sanity.

Are you doing enough things that bring you joy? How do you care for yourself? Share in the comments!  

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), is a certified SYMBIS facilitator, and is certified in TPM (Transformation Prayer Minsitry). She lives in South Africa, has three grown children, and is married to her best friend – Richard.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Asanda | 4th Dec 19

    Thank you.

  2. Tamarynn | 7th Dec 19

    I definitely fall into the category of not taking care of myself. Thanks for the tips. Will be trying some of them from now on.

    • Jennifer Lovemore | 7th Dec 19

      I’m even thinking it might be helpful to schedule some of these things so that they do happen!

  3. How to Ditch Homeschool Discouragement - Love More School | 13th May 21

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