In my last blog I talked about the need to care for ourselves, body and soul.
So get ready, put down the pop tart, and listen up because I am serious about this – it's important!
If you're anything like me, sometimes caring for yourself is easier said than done. How do we care for ourselves in the midst of our busy schedules? And What does that even mean?
Part of learning how to take care of your mind, body, and soul is learning how to understand what you need. Your body and soul will speak to you if you are listening. We have to learn how to discern what the body and soul are saying.
For example, I forget to eat a lot . . . (it’s weird, I know) and I will get super angry and irritable and I won’t even realize it is because I am hungry. Our body is so connected to our emotions and soul.
Each of us have :
- Emotional needs: Nurturing relationships, connection, expression, intimacy, laughter, play
- Physical needs: Affection, exercise, self-care, sleep, eating, rest
- Spiritual needs: Prayer, communion with God, silence, scripture
So begin by listening.
When I'm not feeling myself, I'm learning to use the acronym H.A.L.T. (Am I: Hungry? Angry? Lonely? or Tired?). If I can identify what my body and/or soul needs, I can take action to fulfill that need and prevent myself from continuing to feel bad, or hurting others with my bad attitude.
But . . . sometimes it's not an easy fix and you may need to examine a bigger area of your life. Ask yourself these questions.
- How is my sleep?
- Do I exercise on a regular basis?
- Do I eat healthy and regularly?
- Do I carry stress or tension in specific parts of my body, where?
- Do I have a consistent prayer life?
- Am I connecting emotionally to 'good friends' that nourishes my heart?
- Do I have regular time for silence and rest?
- Do I engage in life-giving activities, creativity, or play?
- Am I overcommitted? Am I spiritually lazy?
Taking care of your body and soul will affect your mood, productivity, prayer, relationships, and overall health.
Sometimes it takes peeling back the curtain to see where you need to put your focus. Pick one area and try to stay consistent with it. Make a simple plan. This is where having people to help you is most important.
GATEWAY TO HEALTH
God wants us to be good stewards of our bodies and souls. We are responsible to care for our spiritual and physical health. To do this well, you need to create a spiritual 'gate' around yourself. A gate is a boundary to keep the good in and the bad out.
For me, I had to start looking at what negative things I was letting into my soul. Scripture says your eyes are the window to the soul. So I had to eliminate even TV shows and music that were not life-giving.
Physically, I began to look at how to better care for myself in little ways. I really needed to work on going to bed on time. I used to stay up really late doing work, and I had to learn to stop. There is a time to work . . . and there is a time to rest.
Now every week I record how many hours I sleep, do work, exercise . . . Sounds dumb, I know and I can’t believe I am sharing it. But I know that I won’t become balanced unless I take inventory and have my spiritual director help me to stay on track.
Don't be intimidated by the task of getting healthy. It's such a rewarding journey, as I've found out so far this year. Use these four easy steps to start your own journey to a healthy, balanced life!
- Evaluate your life.
- Make a plan.
- Find someone to hold you accountable.
- Jump in!