Not long ago, I read a magazine article with one of those quizzes asking how much we care for ourselves. It focused on issues such as health, mental wellness, and diet. Now, I’m not one normally to do such tests. But that day I happened to be a captive audience while waiting for one of my kids at the dentist’s office.
So I took the test—and failed miserably. And it was just one month after I had made a resolution to take better care of myself. Oh, I had tons of reasons why I had already failed my promise to myself—too little time, too much stress, etc., etc.
A few weeks later, I got an e-mail featuring an article on spiritual staycations and how to care not only for our physical bodies, but also for our souls. I read the article and realized that not only was I neglecting some of my physical needs, I was also neglecting my spiritual and faith needs. For some reason, that concept never occurred to me whenever the thought of caring for myself came up.
In fact, when I had recently decided I was going to try and take better care of myself–like I had done so many times before–that list included mostly physical things to do for myself. And while those were all very important for me to do, the whole spiritual aspect of my self-care was absent.
Because God Said So
Throughout the course of the year, people spend a good deal of money to show those in their lives how much they are loved and cared for. But will we take that idea and turn it toward ourselves? Probably not.
Maybe we should, though. No, I’m not talking about how much money we should spend on ourselves. I’m simply advocating that maybe it’s time we celebrate ourselves. We deserve it. Don’t believe me? Check the Bible.
After all, there is no shortage of passages that convey to us the message that we are loved by God, and very much worthy of that love. In the first book of the Bible, it is explicitly stated: “God created mankind in his image” (Gn 1:27). So it’s about time we started acting like it.
Show Me Some Love
Of course, we’re probably not going to go out and spend $130.97 on ourselves “just because.” But we can
show ourselves that we are more than worthy of some love—every day of the year. Here are some suggestions to help remind us to love ourselves.
Go to church . . . alone. Don’t get me wrong, I love when our family goes to church together. But sometimes while at Mass, I find myself paying so much attention to making
sure the kids are paying attention that I fail to attend to my own spiritual feeding while at Mass. If you can’t attend Mass by yourself, find some time when your parish’s church or chapel is open. Soak in the silence. Pray.
Run away. No, I don’t mean that literally. Take some time and step away from the chaos of your life. Go for a walk or run. Head to the library and read there for a while. Go somewhere you find peace. Be quiet. Get up before everyone else in the morning. Take advantage of the quiet to say your daily prayers or meditate. During the day while you’re driving, turn off the radio and your phone.
Go to sleep. Most of us are more sleep-deprived than we realize. Try to catch up a bit on your sleep by going
to bed at a reasonable time or taking an afternoon nap. If you have trouble shutting off your mind at night, put a notepad by your bed and write things down to get them off your mind.
Eat this, not that. Try to make a conscious effort to eat more healthfully. Reach for an orange or apple instead of a bag of chips. I’ve found the key is to have healthy food and snacks readily available.
Be nice to yourself. Our faith gives us a perfect opportunity to forgive ourselves for any mistakes or sins we may have committed. Taking part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation can offer us another, and maybe the best, way to move past our wrongdoings.
Log off. How much time do we all spend on social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat? Maybe we should reclaim some of our time and simply pray for those with whom we often interact via social media.
I hope you will take advantage of some of these ideas and take a little time to stop, recharge, and honor yourself. Consider it your gift to yourself! You deserve it!