I find myself often rolling my eyes on the topic of Self-Care. Are you like me? I mean, we can all give that textbook answer. We can say that it is important and talk about how we practice it. But when it comes down to reality- when it really matters most . . . it can be quite a beast to figure out.

Running, eating well, spending time in nature, journaling, reading a book, practicing mindfulness. Those can all be important and often very beneficial. But what about when things get really hard? Do I just ramp-up those things? Run longer? Eat more veggies? Read more books? Watch more sunsets? Will that increase their benefits and outweigh the effect of the stressor(s) on my mind and body? Will those things in turbo-doses help me to care for others well, when stress is high?

I had a friend in college who kindly pointed out to me, “You could stay in your room and God would still get done what he wants to get done in the world. He doesn’t really need your assistance to do it”. To me that was a huge relief (which is hilarious when I really think about it). And I’m continuing to realize that self-care should involve a recognition that there is someone or something, depending on your belief-system, that is bigger and greater than myself. When mindful of that, I finally rest.

So, take some time this season to run, or read a book, or watch a sunset all while looking toward who/what makes it all possible, or your “True North”, as one friend describes it. With that type of deeper rest, caring for ourselves and caring for others do not have to feel like conflicting goals, especially when it matters most.

-Katie Nees, Director of Child Life Disaster Relief