Let go of anxiety, negativity and guilt with these simple spiritual health techniques.
No matter where we are in life, whether you’re taking graduate school classes or dropping off your kids at middle school, we can all agree that taking the time for self care is incredibly important. But, even though we know this, most women don’t engage in self-care on a regular basis. Instead, we put ourselves on the back burner and take care of everyone else’s needs first. And while that may be heroic at times, it’s also damaging; It’s unhealthy to forget about your body’s needs.
So when I read Natascha Chtena’s thoughts on self-care recently, it felt eye-opening. I instantly recognized that her advice was something many women (myself included) sorely need: from how to quiet our guilt trips, and encourages us to be better to ourselves. Natascha may be earning her doctoral degree in information studies, but she’s already teaching me some important lessons.
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She write:s “In such a fast-paced culture, how can we become better at taking care of ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually? We often hear things like ‘eat real food,’ ‘exercise regularly’ and ‘get enough sleep,’ but I think there’s more to it than that.” She goes on to give tips on how to practice compassion for ourselves especially when we feel inadequate and burnt out. Even though Natascha aims her self-care thoughts towards fellow college students, I truly believe that her tips could apply to any woman at any stage of life.
Here are four tips, adapted from Natascha’s list, that focus more on the spiritual aspects of treating your whole self, both the psychical and spiritual, with kindness.
Be merciful with yourself
Sometimes it can feel easier to be compassionate for others than to be compassionate with yourself. You might give others second, third, or even an infinity amount of chances, but give your own actions and thoughts a very small margin for error. When you do make mistakes, do you find yourself replaying them over and over in your head, finding new ways that you failed each time? This is a common feeling. But not a healthy one.
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The first step to spiritual self care is realizing that we all make mistakes, and it is okay not to be perfect. Keep in mind that God is bigger than our mistakes and problems. And the first step to accepting His forgiveness is having mercy for yourself and acknowledging that you need help caring for yourself by giving yourself permission to be human.
End each day counting your blessings
Sometimes life is so busy that the only quiet time you might have to think about yourself is when we’re lying in bed at the end of the day. It can be easy to slip into a habit of negativity, nit-picking everything you did wrong that day and thinking about what you could have done better. Instead, try to think of the times that you have been blessed throughout the day. What were your ‘God moments’? These don’t have to be grand moments where you were blown away by goodness. It could be the simple things, like hitting all the lights as they turned green on your morning commute, or your spouse making the bed in the morning. Here’s an easy way to start: Answer For Her’s daily #thankfulist on Facebook, where women share the little things they’re grateful for each day.
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When you are able to find joy even in the smallest of moments, you are learning to find goodness and gratitude in your day. And after all that practice of seeing the good in creation, it can be easier to learn to apply an outlook of goodness and gratitude toward yourself. And when you feel better about yourself, you’re more willing to do things that are good for your body, like physical exercise and eating right.
Be aware of who you are in God’s eyes
He thinks you are intelligent. He knows you are unique, and there is no one like you. He’s thought of you since the beginning of time. You are never too much for Him to handle and you are always enough for Him. He created you and He calls you good.You’re worth more than your bad days and your broken down, crying on the bathroom floor days. We’ve all been there, and He loves us. On the days where you are focusing on self care, don’t forget to focus on the one who cares the most about you and loves you and knows you more than you love and know yourself.
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Don’t feel guilty for taking a daily break
In his book Time for God, Father Jacques Philippe said: “This is the point worth underlining. Mental prayer should not be treated as something exceptional, done at a time snatched from other activities, but should become a habit, part of the normal rhythm of our lives, so that its place is never questioned, even for a single day.”Our time away from the busyness of daily life isn’t something to be ashamed or guilty of. In fact, time away and time with God are essential to our self-care and well being. Father Jacques Phillipe continues: “Mental prayer should become a daily event as vital to us as the basic rhythm of existence. It should become the breathing of our souls.” Don’t feel guilty for wanting to take time away to let your soul simply breathe.
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