Ask an Expert: Self-Care

Today, I’m interviewing one of the wisest women I know to kick off our series! Megan Moore is a close friend of mine finishing up a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy degree, and today she’s going to chat with us about the term “self-care.” Self-care is a fairly broad term that essentially means taking time to nurture and care for yourself in order to be a healthy, well-balanced person. Megan is going to share the heart behind this idea today as well as how to put it into practice.

Amanda: Why is self-care important?

Megan: Self-care is incredibly important because not only does it boost our overall sense of well-being, but it also directly affects our ability to show up, perform well, and care for those around us. When we’re tired, and when we’re stressed out, we perform tasks at a lower quality level. The opposite is true when we feel rejuvenated, filled-up and well rested. We are more energized, we work with clear heads, our job output is better quality, our friendships are more lively, and we are more likely to be positive and thankful. All of this fuels our positive mood which cycles back around into feeling well-rested and energized.

Amanda: So often I get the idea that I’m being unproductive or selfish when I take time for myself, but you’re so right that it actually improves everything we do. Not selfish at all! How often should you practice self-care, and for how long?

Megan: The amount of self-care needed depends on the person and the season. I’d say that as demands for time, energy and resources increase in a person’s life, the more that person should fight for moments of self-care. Also, the required amount of self-care depends on a person’s threshold for stress. Each person reacts differently to certain stressors in different ways (what I perceive to be stressful and taxing might not register as being stressful to someone else). It’s best to frequently take the time assess your own levels of stress and determine the amount of self-care needed to get yourself back to a place of peace.

Amanda: That’s really interesting. I get that it varies for different people, but I like the idea that the more energy and care for others we expend, the more we need to care for ourselves. Really demanding seasons also really demand self-care. How do you find the best self-care for you, since everyone is different?

Megan: Self-care might look extremely different from one person to the next. Of course, as believers, we know and believe that we receive rest and peace from spending time with God. But even this can look different at each point of interaction. One can worship God by singing, praying, reading scripture, painting, creating art, fellowshipping, etc.
Outside of direct worship to God (even though I believe all rest is God-breathed and spiritual in nature), exercise, painting, cleaning, hiking, biking, sitting alone, reading books, photography, painting, talking with friends, camping, eating lunch outside in the sun, taking a nap, being spontaneous and adventurous, shopping, putting on makeup, editing photos or videos, dressing up, going to dinner– these are just a few things one can do to self-care.

Amanda: I try to ask myself when, where, and how do I feel the most joyful and at at peace? Then create an environment for that. Last question: I have met so many women who struggle with guilt when they take time for themselves. As a Christian, how do you know the balance in between serving others and self-care?

Megan: Obviously, serving others is a biblical principle that every Christian should be seeking to follow. Out of an overflow of love from God, we should be actively loving others through our works and deeds. However, when that overflow dries up, and when we’re pulling from our own reserves to serve, our actions no longer fall under the category of serving. They become a form of striving, and no longer are a means to glorify God. When we feel overburdened, burned out, stretched and stressed, it’s a major indicator that we need self-care (aka: time with God to refill). Also, I think it’s completely okay to say no to service opportunities when we feel burned-out. Not only does saying no give an opportunity for others to step up and use their gifts, but it also eliminates pride that might be masquerading as servanthood. When we strive to serve instead of serving out of an overflow, we’re operating out of an assumption that says the world needs us to restore its problems back to health.

The world does not need us to restore its brokenness – they need a Savior for that. What it does need are people who are willing to act as the hands and feet of Jesus, operating out of an abundance of love so that God can get glory from the testimonies. -Megan Moore

Amanda: Wow! That is so true. I find myself trying to be a savior instead of a servant so often, but to serve well we absolutely have to find time to love ourselves too. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing your wisdom, Megan. Tune in Thursday to hear the theology behind God’s provision and self-care, and don’t forget to subscribe to our email list on the righthand side!

Questions (feel free to comment below):

  1. Do you already practice self-care? If so, how?
  2. Do you feel guilty when you take time for yourself, or do you have a healthy idea of when and how to rest?

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