Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

sport-1005882_1280I just returned from a very needed vacation. I had no idea how much I needed to rest and reflect until I began to relax and engage in a little self-care. One of the best parts of my vacation was being outside in nature. Something about being in the elements brings reflection and a reordering of priorities. The down time is good for our holistic health.

Most of us get so caught up with our work and staying busy with family and other commitments in our lives, we take no time to stop and rest. We might think we can’t, or that it is selfish or not necessary. But when you do take the time to relax, you quickly see how tense you have been and how much you need the break.

When was the last time you gave yourself time to relax and reflect on what really matters? Have you been so preoccupied with the stress of life, or escaping into mindless entertainment, or worse yet, self-medicating just to get through the days? If so, consider these ideas related to self-care:

  1. Nature is our preferred place to be when reflecting and recharging. It brings relaxing in a way that city life cannot. So find a place to sit in the beauty of God’s creation and just be for a few moments.
  2. Read a book on a spiritual topic. It will help you think about spiritual issues as they relate to daily living. This is an area we can easily neglect that correlates with our well-being. Reading spiritual books helps refocus our lives on what truly matters.
  3. Practice contemplative prayer in which you mediate on the Word of God and listen. Read, pray and listen. In our fast paced culture, this is a skill that needs to be practiced.
  4. Journal your thoughts. Find a journal and write. If you are going through a stressful time, how are you coping, what is helping you? Looking back at a journal, especially one in which you incorporated Scripture, can build resiliency. And writing  your thoughts can help organize them and put you in touch with how you feel.
  5. Exercise in nature. Get out and walk a trail or path. Ride a bike or participate in a sport like tennis or golf. It will refresh you. Exercise is good to do anytime, but doing it in nature can bring more stress reduction.
  6. If you can afford it, take a short retreat to a quiet, calming place. A short weekend get-away or even a night away can be recharging. Getting out of familiar surroundings helps you reflect on your life in a way you don’t do when you are caught up in daily hassles.

Most likely, no one but you is going to push self-care. So this is an area of your life in which you have to be intentional. Remember, it isn’t selfish. Rather, it is a chance to recharge and reboot. And when you do, it will be better for those you love as well.

 

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