What is selfcare (self care or self-care)?
Selfcare is the practice of taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health through activities that help you manage stress. Without the practice of selfcare, you can experience negative physical and mental/emotional consequences such as getting physically sick or burnout.
Selfcare is not self-indulgence or self-pampering. While selfcare activities do allow you to indulge and pamper yourself, you’re not spoiling yourself. These are activities you regularly take part in to allow you to step away from life’s stressors in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
What does it have to do with faith?
Christians say all the time that being a child of God doesn’t exclude you from problems and troubles. They even refer to Bible verses that tell us we will have tribulation (John 16:33), the world will hate us (John 17:14), and we’ll have many trials (James 1:2) and afflictions (Psalm 34:19).
Yet there is a misconception in the Church about mental health. There is still a taboo when it comes to Christians and burnout, depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems. As if they don’t count as tribulations, trials, and afflictions. As if mental health sufferers aren’t marginalized, isolated, and hated by the world and even in the Church.
You can pray all day everyday and still have financial problems. You can fast every week and still face troubles at work. You can be the next Mother Theresa and there will still be people who hate you. It’s the same with mental health problems. You can pray all day everyday and still suffer from depression. You can fast every week and still burnout. You can be the most generous person on Earth and still go through anxiety. If you don’t practice selfcare.
Because faith isn’t a Sunday thing (at least it shouldn’t be). Faith touches every part of our lives. It is the substance of our hope (Hebrews 11:1). It is how we walk (2 Corinthians 5:7). Faith is power (Matthew 21:21-22, Philippians 4:13, Hebrews 10:32-39).
Having faith in God doesn’t exclude us from troubles and trials. Rather, it exposes us to them because having faith in God means a call on our lives to live as Christ did. To love the unlovable. To heal the sick. To give food to the hungry. To minister to the broken even as we are broken ourselves. Even as we are sinful and imperfect. Even as we have not mastered the Word of God with a doctoral certificate to prove it.
We’re not perfect and we don’t need to be to live out our faith. It is that imperfection – our humanity – that makes us vulnerable to physical, mental, and emotional issues.
Practicing selfcare is part of a healthy faith-filled lifestyle.
Our bodies matter to God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). Our health and our souls matter (3 John 1:2). Rest matters to God (Hebrews 4:9-11, Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 127:2). Jesus went away for prayer, rest, and solitude (Mark 1:35, Matthew 14:13, Matthew 15:29), and called His disciples to do the same (Mark 6:31).
God knows the importance of staying healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally on top of spiritually. He set for us the example of the Sabbath not to bully us into not doing any work (Mark 2:27), but to call us into His arms where we find rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30).
The soul is the mental and emotional part of ourselves. That part that gives us self-consciousness and awareness. That takes in and processes all that we experience. The soul needs rest, too, and we can give that rest through selfcare.