How To Love Yourself: On Self-Care

My friend Rachel and I have a saying:

“Help me help you help me.” This phrase among us started as a joke, but in reality, it’s not the worst advice. Yes, it sounds selfish and manipulative.

But hey, let’s look further than that and get to the point: Self-care is important, and we should all partake in it often.

I am often preoccupied keeping up with every little person and thing but myself: my job, community, involvement, church, chores and house maintenance. It’s like the whole world completely absorbs me and I’m sucked in to-doing my life away.

But then I become over-exhausted and overwhelmed and fully aware I need Jesus and rest. I must get a grip on self-care before I take on the world.

Here are my top 10 self-care activities:

  1. Reading the Bible — spiritual rest is as important to me as physical rest. When I feel rundown and drained, I sit at the kitchen table with my Bible, pen in hand, expecting good things to come and peace to wash over me.
  2. Climbing — exercise can be a great stress-reliever for me. Whether I climb alone or with friends, it harnesses all of my energy and focus into one place, one sport, one mindset for a good hour or more.
  3. Phoning a friend — I’m a quality time and words of affirmation person, which can wither long-distance friendships. It’s always nice to phone a friend, someone I care about, and be fueled by their encouragement and verbal presence.
  4. Baking — similar to climbing, baking distracts me from my worries. It’s hands-on and demands attention, so I’m sucked into the world of measuring, mixing and making something tasty.
  5. Finding a dog — as hilarious as this trick seems, petting animals really soothes me. Cats give me anxiety, so the closest domestic animal is a dog. Sometimes I’ll go to my parents’ to give my brother’s dog Champ some well-deserved attention.
  6. Resting — even if I’m not asleep, it’s helpful for me to lie down or just sit still for a few moments, to clear my mind of my worries and tasks.
  7. Playing or listening to music — music has a way of letting me escape reality, it calms me and requires my presence.
  8. Walking — I’m not a runner, never have been and likely never will be. But walking slows me down and lets me engage in self-reflection. I’m typically down for a walk-and-talk quality time with dear friends to disengage from the real world for a bit.
  9. Taking a bath — sometimes I just feel dirty, so I grab my bubble bath, light a candle and start that hot water to rejuvenate my evening. It’s always nice to feel clean.
  10. Turning off my phone — I often need a break from the world: from Instagram photos and Facebook statuses, texts and calls. Time away from my phone renews my mind and lets me focus on what matters: the present.

I encourage you to care for yourself.

I don’t think we can fully help others until we help ourselves. We do not have the capacity to 110% love and give and go and do unless we ourselves are loved and have received. I don’t think it’s selfish to think this way, I call it self-preservation.

If we help ourselves, we can help others. If we give to ourselves, we can give to others. If we care for ourselves, we can care for others. So help me, help you, help me.

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