Self-Care: Balancing “What You Need” with “What Others Need From You”

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care may seem self-explanatory–it’s taking care of yourself and your needs–but it is more than that. Self-care encompasses deliberately taking care of your own mental, physical, spiritual, and emotional health. But, how does this practically look when life is beyond busy? There are many activities, responsibilities, and people who need you on a day-to-day basis, which makes finding time for yourself quite difficult.  As Eleanor Brown once stated, “Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” In order to thrive in taking care of others, you must first take care of yourself.

Ideas for Self-Care

There is no one, perfect way to take care of yourself. You may need some quiet time at home alone, while another person may need to be around friends and family. And sometimes, your own self-care may look different, depending on the situation, day, or week. Sometimes you may need to be alone, and other times you may need to be around people. It’s all a matter of what makes you feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are some ideas for self-care; you get to choose what will work best for you in each situation:

  1. Exercise – run, walk, bike, lift weights, kick around a ball with others
  2. Read – find a good book, whether that be self-help, fiction, or educational
  3. Massage – book a massage for yourself; even 30 minutes of massage can make all the difference
  4. Mani/Pedi – treat yourself to a mani/pedi; you deserve to feel good about yourself
  5. Color/Draw/Paint – be creative and make something new
  6. Get outside – enjoy the fresh air; listen to the sounds of the city or of nature
  7. Write – create a story or write down your thoughts
  8. Do a fun activity – play laser tag or paint ball, go to a sports game, climb a rock wall
  9. Get involved in a Bible Study or Small Group – connect and be intentional with others; grow in your spiritual faith
  10. Watch your favorite TV show or movie – sometimes we need to do something mindless that still gives us joy

Taking care of yourself is vital to your own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. Self-care may be a whole day to yourself or it may be a simple 15-30 minutes. Maybe you plan a self-care time for each day or each week, or maybe you give yourself permission to take self-care moments whenever needed.

Once you implement taking care of yourself into your day-to-day life, only then can you fully give of yourself and your time to others. How will you begin to take care of yourself today?