Saturday, October 26, 2013

Self Care is not Selfish

Do you find it difficult to address your own needs? I know a woman who is a wonderful mother and homemaker, but she seldom takes time for herself. An executive I know works long hours during the week yet spends most of the weekend arranging meetings for the following week – evidenced by the deluge of emails received by her subordinates on Monday morning.

I’m not sure if we neglect our own needs from time-to-time because we live in a society that is constantly busy or if perhaps it might have something to do with the ideal of Christian martyrdom being a quality for which we should strive. The reason, in actuality, is irrelevant since constantly doing for others and neglecting ourselves is unhealthy.

As with so many other issues in life this situation requires that we find balance. I’ve recently returned to the practice of tithing my time and talent, in addition to the regular financial tithing that has been a part of life for almost three decades. Tithing of your time is giving back to … wait for it … take deep breath … ready? … YOU!

When we tithe our time it means we slice out a regular amount of time to renew ourselves. It includes taking care of our own needs through study, meditation, prayer treatment work, exercise and play, to name just a few ways. If you’re anything like me you might find yourself so enjoying playing at your work that it somehow gets to be midday or early afternoon when you discover you forgot to eat breakfast. When you are living your bliss that can happen, but it still isn’t in our best interest to forget to eat!

Here’s another example. I’m the only one in my family who enjoys a strong cup of coffee. Half-caf and weak coffee just doesn’t cut it. So instead of bowing to the majority or forcing them to water down the pot I’d like, I’ve started using the French press my friend, Bobbie, gave me years ago. It takes more time, but it’s time for ME that I’m spending doing something special for myself. Get the picture?

We must take care of ourselves. What that means for each if us individually is unique to our lifestyle and needs. Whatever it is we need to do doesn’t translate into selfishness. I can remember working hard all day long – not a tedious thing since I enjoy my work – and deciding about four o’clock in the afternoon to have a cup of tea and watch a program I’d recorded. I’d just sat down when a family member came home, saw me with my feet up and the TV on and exclaimed, “WOW! I wish I could stay home all day, watch TV and eat bon bons!”

My answer, which wasn’t at all appreciated was, “And, my love, when you decide to set your life up to do that you’ll enjoy it just as much as I do!” You can’t let guilt prodders ruin your “me” time. Do yourself a favor this week and carve out at least a half hour every day to practice and enjoy some self care. You return rejuvenated and even more available to care for others.

In Spirit, Truth and Playfulness,


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