Be Kind to Yourself
This program focuses on the five dimensions of self–care:
Mental self–care is about finding the balance between energizing your mind and giving it a break. To contribute positively, try to learn new ideas and increase your knowledge or do a familiar activity in a different way.
- Do puzzles or other mind games.
- Take a break from all electronics for a short while.
- Learn a new language.
- Brush your teeth with a different hand.
- Take a different route to work or the corps.
The physical dimension of self–care includes safety, health, nutrition, movement and physical touch. When you practice activities for your physical well–being, you can increase your energy levels and boost your self–esteem.
- Play a sport.
- Laugh out loud.
- Get extra sleep.
- Learn a new exercise workout.
The spiritual dimension of self–care is not a work we do ourselves. God does the work in us. However, we must make the time for it to happen. We need to participate by taking hold of the various ways God has supplied sustenance to our minds, bodies and souls. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6, ESV).
Pursue life–giving and healing habits to honor the gift we’ve been given in our Christian journey.
- Start every day in prayer and scripture reading to set your mind on the things of God.
- Forgive yourself and others.
- Share your testimony.
- Surrender all your worries to the Lord. Accept what is inevitable and trust God to help you handle your concerns.
Even though most people associate self–care with themselves personally, it is an important dimension. Social connection helps us create a sense of belonging and acceptance. It allows us to create and share a common bond with others. It might look different depending on your personality (an introvert or extrovert). Social self–care isn’t about doing things with others for the fun of it, but about choosing to do things with people who really make you feel good about who you are.
- Make a lunch date with a friend.
- Reach out to someone you like but haven’t seen in a while.
- Sign up for a class to learn something new and meet new people.
Learning about emotional self–care helps us understand ourselves better, cope with challenges, and develop and nourish healthy relationships. When we manage our emotional needs, we promote a greater sense of compassion, kindness and love for others and ourselves.
- Organize a special family/friends dinner.
- Be a cheerleader to your friends and let them be your cheerleader when you need one.
- Be an encourager.
- Don’t be afraid to have a good cry as it releases tension and stress.
Be Kind to Yourself Project
Send out invitations to women who have little time to take care of themselves, inviting them to participate in a nail spa evening. This could include moms of children participating in youth activities, those women whose children are involved in after school programs and those moms who sought assistance through the corps social service department.
This could be a joint project between the women’s ministries group and the girl guards. Pair up each woman with one of girls to give manicures and hand messages to the invited guests.
Ask the women’s ministries members to contribute some of the following items that will be used during the evening: bottles of nail polish, hand lotion, emery boards, and cuticle cream. For health reasons it may be advisable to have enough nail clippers so that each guest will have her own. Check the Internet for sources. One site is: https://www.vitalitymedical.com/thumb-squeeze-lever-fingernail-clippers.html. Purchase toiletries bags (or ask some of the women who sew to make simple cloth drawstring bags) so that each guest will be able to take home the various items that were used for her manicure.
Set up a table for the desserts and another for sharing information on self–care. Each couple manning a nail booth could be encouraged to decorate their booth. This could include a name for the booth and smocks for the “attendants.” Play calming music so that everyone can still talk and listen comfortably.
You Can’t Pour Out an Empty Cup
Read – Mark 6:31 and John 10:10
When I looked at my assignment to write a program titled, “Service Project—Be Kind to Yourself,” I chuckled. Really, now I’m a service project? But as I researched this topic, I realized that often I am trying to pour from an empty cup. In this context, it’s a metaphor for making sure we take care of ourselves. We need to recognize self–care as a necessity, rather than an indulgence.
As Christian women, we are taught to put others’ needs before our own. However, it’s important that we learn to recognize when we are going overboard caring for others and forget to care about ourselves. When we forget to care for ourselves our “cups” begin to run low, slowly depleting our energy and finally empty. This usually happens when some drama is added to a situation. So whatever, wherever, whenever, and however you can make time for yourself, do so and don’t feel guilty. You are doing yourself and others a favor in the long run.
Rest and self–care are vital. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. It’s acceptable to give yourself the required attention. You are important too.
Do you know the easiest way to avoid burnout and exhaustion in life? Stop pouring from an empty cup. Mark 6:31 reads, “ Then Jesus said, ‘Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.’” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat.” Does that sound like one of your days? You are exhausted, irritable and just faking it all to care for others in your ministry. We have all been there and it would do us good to just cease all things and concentrate on ourselves and our needs. Jesus set the example for us and now we must follow.
There is a thin line between being caring and being careless. Don’t cross it. It is only when you are “full” that you can overflow to others. When you take time to replenish yourself, it allows you to serve others joyfully. Stop short–circuiting yourself to grow others. Jesus put it beautifully, in John 10:10 (KJV), “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” So now, it’s time to fill your cup and relax.