The words “radical” and “self-care” usually do not go together. Perhaps we might say, “radical sacrifice” or “radical output” or “radical giving”, but radical SELF-CARE? Who thinks like that? It takes a special soul to put those words together, someone who is refreshingly resistant to many of the trappings of this world. Are we willing to join the ranks of the refreshingly resistant? What makes it so hard?
1—We think it’s more altruistic to ignore personal care. We bought in to a myth that God will be really impressed if we run ourselves into the ground.
2—Who was the wise soul who said that denial is more than a river in Egypt? Self-care might mean paying attention to real problems that are difficult or threatening to face.
3—A lot of us don’t want to work that hard. Self-care takes time out of our schedules, money out of our budgets, and sometimes involves physical demands.
So, why do it?
1—So we can sustain the output that gives our lives meaning.
2—It honors our created order as human beings. Self-care helps us recognize our creatureliness.
3—Radical self-care helps us enjoy our fleeting time on this earth.
In the counseling profession, therapist burnout and self-care is something that is talked about in graduate school and internships in preparation for doing the work. It is radical to be preemptive about self-care, and very few of us think like that! How much is radical self-care discussed in preparation for parenting, an intensive training program, a relationship loss, a recession, or for processing tough emotional content? If we can recognize the seasons of life when we are pressed to the limit, we can approach these seasons with a plan for radical self-care and hopefully, prevent the extreme emotional fatigue that can lead to depression, anxiety problems or worse.
What blocks do you face when trying to apply radical self-care during the stressful seasons of life?
Stay tuned next week in “Radical Self-Care, part 2”. I will offer questions to facilitate an honest look at areas of your life where you may benefit from radical self-care.