Self Care. It’s a word that has been thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? How does one go about taking care of “Self”?
I used to think self-care involved picking out a pretty nail color, talking to friends over brunch, and sitting in a sauna for a little while.
Basically, anything sans kids was good enough for me—those of you with toddlers know the struggle.
Don’t get me wrong spa days, and cute mani’s are a form of self-care, but we often forget that external remedies aren’t effective if our insides are falling apart.
When the world speaks of self-care they are usually speaking about a girlfriends trip to Hawaii, a tanning bed, or a workout session or two. However, what happens when you return home to the same mess and nothing to show for it but a tan, a cute Instagram selfie, and some stolen…ahem, borrowed, hotel soap?
We have to understand that short-term fixes are not a replacement for long-term solutions. Good news is that they can work hand in hand. Matter of fact, I believe it works best in tandem!
1. Short-term Self Care: Tend to Temple Duties
In times of stress the first thing we do is neglect our temples (bodies). You may do just enough to be presentable (like shave your legs to the knee), but the fact that 3 hours of sleep has become a triumph, says otherwise.
Take the time to do your nails, eat well, sleep well, work out (which may include a lap or two around Target—I won’t tell anybody) or find an awesome moisturizer for your skin.
These are what you call temple duties. (1 Cor 6:19-20) They are necessary and dare I say mandatory.
2. Long-term Self Care: Look Deeper
Short term self care is like tending to a surface wound that is actually 3 layers deep. Your internal stress levels may subside briefly with some nail polish and a new hair cut, but ultimately that “high” will fade away within the hour. You have applied a band-aid on your pinky toe but the real issue is your heart.
We spend time nursing a situation that we believe can be fixed with a walk by the lake but may actually originate from a deep seeded animosity for your father, a childhood bully from the 3rd grade, or a dream that was sacrificed for the greater good.
There is only ONE person in the entire universe that knows what the real issue is and how to fix it. He wants us to bring the stresses of life to Him.
He is the only self-care we will ever need. The closer we get to God, the more likely we are to take care of what He’s given us.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-29 ESV
3. Make Room for Grace
As women of faith we can begin to believe the lie that self-care means you will never get angry at your children, you will always have the perfect amount of sleep, your stress level will always be at a minimum, your nails will never be chipped and those jeans from freshman year in college will automatically zip up every time you choose to wear them.
Self care, when done right, is a journey that is fueled by grace.
It’s knowing you serve a God who smiles at your sneak of cake you are currently eating in your closet because, kids.
It’s buying nail polish from CVS because there’s no time for a salon visit.
It’s running up and down the stairs because gym fees don’t grow on trees.
It’s listening to an e-devotional on the way to work because you overslept.
Self-care is our human attempt to find sanity in a crazy world.
Your girls night out is crucial for sanity, but it will someday be a fleeting memory.
Your search for God will never fade. Next time you feel the need for some self-care think Jesus first, nails second.
Sethlina Amakye is a woman of God, wife, mother, business owner, author, and speaker. She is the author of The Little Pink Book: The Modern Girl’s Guide to Christ Centered Femininity and when she is not focused on her business or ministry, The Tribe Gathering, she is watching Fixer Upper, sewing, or repurposing old furniture. You can connect with her on her Instagram and website.