Self-Care Nurtures

Nurturing oneself is self-care and self-care is nurturing. This is a good time of year to keep it in mind with the holidays coming. Self-care is a practice that is good any day and anytime. Ideally, a person wouldn’t want to wait until they feel depleted. In my case, I learned about it before I needed to put it into practice. Becoming a Unity Minister, it was part of the curriculum along with cultivating a prayer life which included spending time centering in daily meditation. Unity’s cofounder, Charles Fillmore would spend hours every day in meditation. He was affectionately called ‘Papa Charlie’ and was always smiling and going on spur of the moment picnics.

Selfcare isn’t age or gender specific nor is it only certain occupations. Many of you reading this may have heard about practicing self-care sooner than in your late 30’s like I did. I am sure I could have used it sooner. All genders are affected from male and female to transgender. Taking time to nurture yourself is important.

If you enjoy having pets like dogs or cats, spending time with them usually makes one smile and petting them increases the hormone Oxytocin that makes you happy and them also. This also reduces stress and anxiety. Also, meditation helps with your breathing and ability to relax more easily. A study was recently published in JAMA Psychiatry on the reduction of anxiety using meditation vs taking a daily dose of 10-20 mg of Lexapro. The results showed that they both reduced anxiety by 20%, NPR article here: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/11/09/1135211525/anxiety-medication-meditation-lexapro

One can take a mental health day and go to a favorite place outside or stay home and not have to go anywhere which includes having fun. Parents and especially women may feel guilty or that it is being selfish to take time out to relax and reenergize oneself.

A few years ago, I did a study on doctors and how they practiced self-care as part of a research project during my chaplain training. I had read in the research literature that they had the highest number of suicides. This was concerning to me, and I asked the 10 I interviewed that question. The average age was 45 and they had learned to take time for traveling, recreational activities with family, reading fiction, and some journaled and danced.

Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith is a mom, medical doctor and researcher who helps “the overstressed deal with their work-rest imbalance and find actionable answers to the thriving lifestyle they desire.”

From her website: https://ichoosemybestlife.com/resources/

She emphasizes rest and what that means. There is even a quiz you can take to assess yourself.  She also says that you can do short daily activities as part of your routine for self-care.

So have it be something fun and relaxing to keep yourself energetically charged for the day.

Rev Airin

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