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Welcome to day 2 of the 2020 Love Blog Challenge! Today’s prompt is self-care. You can check out more information about the blog challenge over at Belle Brita’s blog.
So, self-care. If you spend any time at all in the lifestyle section of the internet you are very likely to have come across a plethora of articles telling you why is important to practice “self-care”. You might also have watched youtubers showing their weekly routines of putting on face-masks, painting their nails and journaling.
I am a big fan of all of these things. Throw in some wine and chocolate and I think you just created the perfect night in. However, I have struggled a bit with the whole idea of self-care.
Why I struggle with the concept of self-care
It’s not that I think that it is selfish to take some time to rest and relax.
But I think the term self-care can be misleading. It does not only imply taking care of one self but also a level of self-sufficiency. That I can take care of myself. That I don’t need others.
As an introvert, and a ‘strong independent woman’ this idea seems quite attractive to me. If I just take a day every week where I cycle through some sort of routine, involving a mud bath, meal-prepping and meditation I can somehow make myself okay. That I can detox not only my physical but also my mental and spiritual self. All by myself.
But I can’t.
Self-sufficiency is an illusion
Self-sufficiency is a lie. I have not met one person in my life so far, who is completely self-sufficient. We all rely on other people to some extent. Even if we never talk to these people. Our whole economy is based on individuals working together. If for some reason I was suddenly all alone on earth, I would probably die from starvation fairly quickly (okay, maybe not that quickly) because even though I love the idea of it, so far growing my own vegetables has not been a very successful endeavour. I don’t even want to imagine how lost I would be if I had to mill corn. But I digress. My point is – we are not self-sufficient.
Sabbath vs. self-care
One of my goals for this year is to keep a Sabbath. My word for 2020 is rhythm, which was largely influenced by my desire to establish healthy routines and and rhythms into my life because I have tendencies (like most of us) to lose myself is a frenzy of productivity.
Sabbath is the word the Bible uses for ‘a day of complete rest’ (for example in Exodus 16:23). The Hebrew verb sabat means to stop or to cease.
Why should we have a Sabbath?
To remember the Sabbath day and “to keep it holy” is actually one of the 10 commandments. Taking a day of rest each week where we stop our work, our hustle and striving is therefore simple obedience to what God has commanded.
Resting for a day each week helps us to remember that the world does not fall apart when we stop. We don’t hold the universe together. Resting helps me to acknowledge that I need rest. As a human being I have finite amounts of energy, of ideas, of capacity. I might like to tell myself that I can do anything but the truth is that my body, soul and mind work so much better when I have regular times of resting and recharging.
What should this day look like?
The Bible does not expand a whole lot what ought to happen on this Sabbath-day. In the 10 commandments we are simply reminded to not do any work. In other passages of the Bible the Sabbath day may also include corporate worship (Ezekiel 46,3). Otherwise, it seems, what we do instead of work is pretty much up to us.
I think this is because ‘complete rest’ looks differently for different people.
You might replenish by lying on the sofa all day reading books or watching films. Or in contrast, you prefer to be in nature. Maybe you recharge best around people or maybe you want to be on your own. I think that is up to you.
If you are stuck for ideas maybe ask yourself what activities (or non-activities) help you to recharge physically, mentally and spiritually and then implement those.
What my Sabbath looks like
For me, I try to sleep in on my Sabbath. On a normal day, I usually get up pretty early (mainly because I have the constant drive to make the most of each day and not miss out on anything). So it is really good for me to learn that it is okay to rest, to sleep, to not put any pressure or expectation on myself what I need to accomplish.
Other than sleep, sabat-ing for me involves a longer time reading the Bible, worshipping and praying. I then often take myself to a café, buy myself a hot drink or a beer and read a book. In the evening I hang out with Edd, either we stay at home, go out or see some friends. Pretty chill. No to-do lists. If I feel like it, I might go for a run or work on a creative project, but if not, I don’t.
So what’s the difference between Sabbath and a self-care Day?
So you might think, well that Sabbath thing you’re doing sounds pretty similar to a ‘self-care day’. And yes, from the outside it might look the same. But the motivation behind it is not to demonstrate self-sufficiency and independence. The heart of sabat-ing is to denounce dominion over my own time and recognising God’s dominion over it and therefore over myself. By having a Sabbath I demonstrate my dependence on God and my need for him. I recognise that he is king and that he is sovereign. That he holds my world in his hand – not me.
This whole Sabbath thing is still a fairly new to me and I am very much in the learning process. But what I can say so far, is that it is both humbling and freeing. Realising that I don’t have to depend on myself but that I can rest in the knowledge that God is king, is more replenishing than any self-care routine I can think of.
Do you have a weekly self-care or Sabbath day? Why or why not? And what does it look like? I’d love to hear about it!