Self-care is never selfish

By Stanley Arumugam

It is our ethical responsibility to take care of ourselves so we are fully available and able to do the work we have committed to.

Many of us are expected in our work to do more with less. But in reality, we can only do so much. Recognising the limits of our capacity is a vital first step in looking after ourselves.

As Christians we feel we must always sacrifice our personal needs to serve the cause of Christ. We get caught in a trap of continuously giving without replenishing.

We are all familiar with the habit of Jesus who regularly took time away from the crowds. He made time for silence, prayer, rest and relaxation. If Jesus needed this, how much more do we need to listen to the quieter internal demands of our body, emotions and spirit? As we listen, we will hear our bodies asking us to slow down, retreat, rest, and take care of ourselves.

To overcome the challenge of dedicating time in a busy schedule, I’ve started with a few basics that work for me: daily meditation; stretching exercises; sleep well; regular walks; breakfast; drinking water; breaks in the office; switch off the smartphone when sleeping; don’t read e-mails when taking breaks; weekend breaks; setting boundaries at work
in terms of your time, meetings you join and weekend working. I don’t always get it right but I’m mindful of developing these new habits of self-care.

Taking care of ourselves is an intentional act of good stewardship. We are the only gift we have to offer other people. Self-care gives others permission to do the same without feeling guilty. The Bible describes our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. We need to look after that temple.

This week:

  • What can I do more of to look after myself? 
  • What should I do less of?

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