Self-care as a spiritual practice

Self-care as a spiritual practice

March 10, 2022

Kae Tritle, RN Well-Being Coordinator
 
We have come through the darkness of winter and the angst of the omicron surge. Many of us are ready for spring and the rebirth of Easter. But to get to Easter, we need to travel through Lent. Lent is usually a time of spiritual reflection, focusing on our relationship with God and walking with Jesus in preparation for Easter. 
 
 As we move through this season of Lent, I would like to remind you that we are wholistic beings, more than the sum of our various dimensions: physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual. We usually forget that we are one of God’s creations. I believe we are spiritual beings who live experientially in a physical environment.
 
Body and Soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration--what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.” (Psalm 139: 14-15 The Message)
 
We are designed to be well-functioning, living, feeling, interactive beings within this physical world. Therefore, we need to care for ourselves as one of God’s marvelous creations. During this Lent, I invite you to look at self-care as a spiritual practice.
 
Self-care is discovering a way of being that nurtures your emotional and spiritual self. This perspective to self-care often leads to a re-alignment of lifestyle habits that usually enhance the physical dimension and develop skills in coping more effectively with the people and tasks of your outer environment. This approach to life promotes a sense of well-being and contentment. Basic self-care strategies fall within the following areas: 
  • Healthy Eating: Food is a gift from God to be used wisely. Review your portion size, increase the amount and variety of fruits and veggies, decrease the number of starches, reflect if your hunger is emotional or physical. 
  • Body Movement: God designed our bodies to be active. Intentionally make time for physical activity in your everyday routine. You may need to team up with a partner. Make sure you enjoy your chosen physical activity, 
  • Spiritual Practices: Spiritual practices are intentional means of placing ourselves before God. Included are worship, prayer, study, service, hospitality, solitude, confession, and simplicity. Intentionality is a crucial component. You may want to try different ones or focus on a particular one that feeds your soul.
  • Restoration/Recreation: This is intentional time and space to refresh body, mind, and soul through rest, relaxation, and fellowship. Spend time with friends, peaceful environments, needed naps, and other calming activities. Slow down, unwind, and chill out. 
  • Supportive Networks: Are needed to offer encouragement, emotional support, and strategies for coping to survive life’s difficulties, lifestyle changes, and the stresses of day-to-day activities. Look for someone you can trust, will be honest with you, and will help you find ways to improve your health and well-being. 
“Take your everyday, ordinary life; your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life, place it before God as an offering...fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” (Romans 12:1, 2b The Message)

I invite you to look at self-care as a Lenten experience, something done to connect yourself with God. You may be surprised at what you experience.