Self-Care 101: Common Misconceptions Christians Have About Self-Care

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Ah self-care.  What an oddly controversial topic in some Christian circles.


Some of us hear the word “self” and are automatically triggered like:  “Self???  *Alarm Goes Off in Brain* ‘Self’ is anything to do with myself.  And I’m not supposed to think about myself.  I’m supposed to think about God.  And others.  But not myself.  Never myself.”


So if you, like me, grew up believing that anything with the word “self” in it was wrong or bad, then please stick around because before we dive into sharing self-care ideas, there are some misunderstandings around self-care that I’d like to clear up as I think all of us have either believed or encountered some of these thoughts before.


Common Misconceptions Christians Have About Self-Care:

Misconception #1:  Self-care is just pampering yourself.  

Truth:  We often have it in the backs of our minds that “self-care” means taking a bubble bath or getting a massage, and while those are great ideas, self-care is actually much broader and definitely more necessary than we realize.


Misconception #2:  Self-care takes too much time.  

Truth:  Sometimes it only takes a few minutes to give ourselves the boost or care that we need. Just like cleaning our homes, sometimes we clean for a few minutes each day and have a deep clean once a week or month.  It’s the same with self-care; we can take a few minutes each day to give ourselves what we need, and set aside longer periods of time for “deeper” self-care.


Misconception #3:  Self-care is selfish.

Truth:  Taking care of ourselves is NOT selfish.  It’s necessary.  We’re human; we can’t run on empty for too long before we crash and burn.  We need breaks, rest, support, and care, and WE know ourselves well enough to know when we need those things.  We can and should take care of ourselves.


Misconception #4:  Self-care is all about taking care of myself physically.

Truth:  Taking care of ourselves encompasses all aspects of our lives, not just the physical. Spending time in prayer and Bible study can be considered spiritual self-care.  Having a heart-to-heart with a friend can be considered emotional self-care.  Organizing your computer folders or browser bookmarks can be considered mental self-care.


Self-care is about our overall well-being.

It can be as simple as drinking a glass of water or as detailed as planning an extended vacation to rest.  It can be as “silly” as singing and dancing around to let your stress out or as serious as scheduling a doctor’s appointment to check out a concern you’ve been ignoring.


Self-care is essentially asking yourself, "What do I need?" and then giving yourself what you need.


Remember that self-care for the Christian starts with spiritual self-care.  If you’re not taking care of yourself spiritually, then all the exercising, resting, journaling, etc. will only take you so far.  Allow each self-care activity you do to renew your spirit and turn your thoughts to God.


If you’re thinking to yourself, “I’d love to take better care of myself, but I just don’t have time!” Then step right this way, my friend:  I’ve written a post about 20 Self-Care Ideas That Take 5 Minutes or Less... Yes, Really!


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