The journey toward healing, integration and growth takes everything we’ve got. The journey is often frustrating. We can see the changes we want to make, yet repeatedly find ourselves in old patterns. When I’m in that frustrating place, one of the questions I ask myself is, “How are you doing with taking care of yourself?” Usually, the answer is, “Not very good.”
Our needs never go away. In order for us to be more effective at living and relating in healthy ways, we must take in good stuff to give us the fuel we need to stay on the journey. Taking care of ourselves means meeting our needs in four areas: spiritual, physical, mental and relational. What do these look like in real life?
Meeting our spiritual needs includes meditation, prayer, studying what you believe and understanding why you believe it, and participating in the various ways you connect within your type of spiritual beliefs.
Our bodies need movement. Exercising and stretching our muscles keeps our various body systems functioning well. Eating a diet consisting of a variety of real, minimally processed food is key to fueling our bodies and providing key nutrients for growth, renewal and optimal health. Getting enough sleep each night is crucial for our entire being to get recharged.
Our brains, which include the intellectual and emotional systems need both fuel and exercise. As it is not good for our bodies to be sedentary, our minds need regular stimulation. We learn through reading, hearing and doing. Stretch your brain by taking in knowledge and playing brain games. Our emotions are equally important, not just the intellectual/data/information side of our brain. Take time to pause and reflect, noticing your emotions. Allow space for integrating your emotions and intellect by being aware of what you are thinking and how that connects with what you are feeling.
We take care of the relational part of ourselves by connecting with others. This type of connection needs to be positive, encouraging, and filling. You walk away from your time having been recharged, not drained.
Look back over the last week. How have you done with carving out time to take care of yourself spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally? Do you notice the impact this had on your journey?