Self-care or Self-indulgence?
A bubble bath. Decadent chocolate. A cup of tea. A walk in the late afternoon sun. Watching a movie cozy on a couch under a soft blanket. Your favorite kind of ice cream. These can all be examples of self-care. Oh what a buzz word that is - self-care! It is important to be healthy - in spirit, mind/emotions, and body. However, I do not want to confuse self-care with self-indulgence or entitlement. As a follower of Christ, neither self-indulgence nor entitlement have a place in my life. That, friends, is giving way to the flesh, the sinful nature. And it is so easy to do. One more chocolate. One more episode on Netflix. Self-care requires discipline and making wise decisions.
It took attending graduate school for me to realize the value of exercise. It is a great stress-reliever, helps keep my body healthy and fit, and it enhances my mood. When I am able to exercise outside by walking my dog, the benefits are even greater. Walking outside really allows me to take some time to think and pray.
Processing my thoughts is also important for me. I need time to just think and pray. Journaling my thoughts and feelings has proven to be worthwhile over the years. And, of course, talking with friends and family is helpful. Blogging about various things has also been very positive.
Eating and sleeping well are also essential ways for me to practice self-care.
When I consider activities to engage in to practice self-care, they are activities that take a little bit of effort but I know the outcome will be feeling better (enhanced mood, increased energy, fit body) and I will thrive. Even something as simple as enjoying a cup of tea and watching the fireflies come out during a summer evening take the effort of me stopping my busyness.
I think that if we practice self-care rather than self-indulgence, we will find ourselves thriving more in life. John 10:10 says, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” (New Living Translation)
So dear friends, no matter what circumstances your facing right now, what are you going to do to choose a rich and satisfying life? As for me, I am going contra dancing, Lord willing.