As the year 2020 came to a close, I found myself extremely anxious and burnt out. Work had taken its toll on me, and I found myself unhappy and unmotivated. Not only was I exhausted from the year’s unexpected challenges, but I also couldn’t remember what truly made me happy. I didn’t know how to solve my inner negativity, and finding any joy proved difficult.
Toward the beginning of January 2021, I wrote a list of things that brought me joy: books, puppies, writing, creating, helping others, and organizing were a few of my favorite ways to relax and enjoy life. After writing this list, I then compared my list to the one I had read previously on self-care; and what I read really opened my eyes.
After comparing both lists, I began to realize a pattern; a pattern of extreme neglect. Whenever I would try to accomplish something, it resulted in me punishing myself if I failed to achieve my expectations. Instead of inward encouragement, I would criticize my appearance and force myself to cope in unhealthy ways. This included dieting to lose weight rapidly, shopping to forget stress, and saying yes to others because I refused to look incapable. While all of these things are not inherently bad, I did not develop the self-awareness and control that I needed to remain happy, healthy, and overall successful. Instead of practicing healthy habits and self-care, I see now that I responded to my needs with harsh ridicule and resentment.
At some point, we all experience stress and forget to love the parts of ourselves that Christ created. While we should be living for something other than ourselves, we mustn’t neglect our own health. In fact, we should practice self-care regularly to ensure healthiness and happiness.
Our Heavenly Father encourages us to take care of our bodies, to show them love and respect as they are the temple. To be a blessing to others, we must first practice self-love and growth. Our failure to do so only results in our own self-destruction and unhappiness. With age, I’ve realized that I’ve primarily focused on my physical health while managing to neglect my emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV).
In the year 2021, I’m focusing on appreciating myself and practicing healthier self-care rituals. And if you feel you’ve neglected yourself, I encourage you to do the same. If we wish to live a well-balanced and happy life, we must take the necessary steps and learn to appreciate and love ourselves; this includes our emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I encourage each of you to find joy in the simple things and practice self-care. Whether you enjoy daily walks, extra devotional time, or a specific hobby. Find your inner joy and appreciate the person God has designed you to be in His image.
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Madeleine Lowe writes from Indiana.© 2002 - 2021, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.