A note from Kelly King: If you are struggling with stress or in a season where you are struggling, how are you taking care of yourself? In today’s article, Kaye Hurta provides some basic and necessary steps toward building a healthier you—emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
The past two years for our family have been marked by pain, struggle, and grieving. The struggle has been within the walls of both our home and our church. At times it has felt like there was no place to go to get a reprieve from the difficulty. Have you ever felt like that? Are you experiencing a similar season in your own life? Are you walking with someone who is experiencing the same? If so, certainly your counsel to yourself or others has included the necessity for community, for time in the Word, and for time discerning the voice of God and receiving the comfort of the Holy Spirit through prayer. Each of those spiritual practices have been life-lines for us. Equally important has been the intentional care of our whole selves.
We do not experience pain or trauma as an isolated incident. Whatever we are experiencing affects every aspect of our being—our bodies, our souls, and our spirits. Caring for our whole selves is essential for making it through a stormy season. Caring for our whole selves must be intentional; we will never drift into self-care.
With that in mind, here are seven suggestions to help you care for your whole self:
1. Protect your thoughts. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (ESV). This is more than just the power of positive thinking; it is an intentional capturing of the story we tell ourselves about ourselves and our situation and shining the light of God’s truth on them. It involves reframing what you are thinking about and refocusing on what you know to be true. Rehearsing negativity in your mind will not serve you; it will simply open the door for the enemy to attack.
2. Take ownership. Part of caring for yourself is to first tell yourself the truth and own what is yours to own. If there is an action of any kind that needs to be taken from a place of ownership, do not delay. Ask the Lord for courage and direction. He will lead you, and the result will be His peace internally.
3. Lean into healthy friendships. Who are your people? Part of taking care of yourself is allowing those who love you to help you bear your burdens. In need of self-care? Phone a friend.
4. Get some exercise. Detach the act of exercise from any weight loss triggers and simply enjoy a stress-reducing, sweat-producing walk, bike, run, or whatever you love to do!
5. Eat clean. Feed your system whole, healthy foods. If that’s not your pattern, perhaps you could try a three-day whole food challenge. Note how you feel after three days of eating real (not processed) foods.
6. Take a nap. Sleep and rest are critical to our systems. Maybe the first step in caring for yourself is to stop reading this article and go take a nap!
7. Do whatever is life-affirming to you. Finally, a good rule of thumb for self-care is to ask yourself, “Is this activity life-affirming?” If so, do it and if not, don’t!
These seven suggestions are just that—suggestions. In seasons of pain it is essential to care for yourself. Whatever you choose to do—do it!
Kaye Hurta has a Masters Degree in counseling from Liberty University and is a crisis counselor for Women’s Events through LifeWay Christian Resources. Whether speaking, singing, or listening, Kaye’s passion is to help others find intimacy with Christ and soul transformation through the living pages of His Word. Kaye met and married her husband Chris in Austin, Texas in 1987. They have two daughters through the miracle of adoption, Madison and Cami. They live in the Chicago burbs where they are both on staff at Willow Creek Community Church. Kaye is also a contributing author for the LifeWay resource, Women Reaching Women in Crisis.