Self Care

It is amazing how as I transition from one setting to another setting for ministry, the message is the same about taking care of yourself.  In both settings, emotional drain and fatigue set in.  One of two things either happens—you burn out and sometimes if caught unawares you do something stupid that alters the course of your career.  I have seen it many times happen in marriages, in ministry and in mental health.

As I sat in my class today entitled “Play Therapy for Very Young Children”, one piece of the lecture was on taking care of yourself.  We have tons of workshops as clergy to go to do this very thing.  I have become amazed at how many people I see out on a Sunday morning as I drive to work, exercising.  In some ways,  I understand why….the release of endorphins makes us feel good.  As the dr. said this morning, “Exercise is the cheapest medication for depression or whatever you may be dealing with.”

So, earlier this summer, I decided I needed to make a lifestyle change.  And you guessed it… to lose weight.  Now, many folks do this daily to drop a few pounds and yes that is what I hope to do.  But more than that,  I have tried to develop the gift of self-control more.  Healthy eating helps with that as well as exercising.  But it is more than that.  I know in my head that self care is important.  I have heard all the lectures and read all the literature.  Yet, I needed more than that to motivate me to do something.  The motivation came in the form of looking in the mirror one day and saying “you need to start taking care of yourself.”  As I have noted in previous posts, the year has had many ups and down.

One of the many lessons I have learned from in the forty some years of life is this:  Whether I am in ministry in a local church, organization within the mental health system or in private practice, healthy relationships are so important to sustain and build.  Being in the human service industry is very exhilarating and so exhausting.  I need to tend to my needs of renewal and rejuvenation so that I can be the best spouse, mother and grandmother I can be.  Both ministry and mental health are messy professions.

Because of all this thinking of self care,  I have began to wonder:  what are we teaching our children about taking care of themselves, not just physically, but emotionally, spiritually, and socially?  My guess is not much, because we aren’t modeling it for them.  Yes, we may have them in lots of activities, but for children, what is self-care?  I think I have an answer, but I am curious to see what you all have to say.  So please respond and let me know what you are thinking!

See what sitting on the front porch does for you!!!!


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