One of my friends lives in another town about an hour’s drive away, and at least once a year, she makes the trek out on a Sunday morning to hear me preach. After worship, we usually have a long, leisurely lunch followed by a not-so-leisurely walk in a nearby park so we can burn off some calories before we settle down somewhere else for dessert.
The last time she came for a visit, we talked about her recent trip to Tanzania and my stay-cation, her volunteer work and my church ministry, how we’re both managing to find time for family, friends, and everything else even when the days seem to go by so fast.
I savour our friendship and visits together. I want to hear about her latest project researching her family’s genealogy and about the summer coffee party she planned with a few friends. I want to groan over the bad news of illness in her family and celebrate the successes. That’s what friends are for, to share our lives together and to care for one another.
Spending time with friends can also be an important part of self-care.
I once thought of self-care as caring only for myself. Like taking an afternoon nap, or buying myself a new scarf, or snuggling on the sofa to read a novel. And certainly when life gets too busy and filled with multiple people and multiple expectations, withdrawing for some much-needed alone time can be a precious form of self-care.
But more and more I’m discovering that definition of self-care is overly narrow. As human beings, we are created for relationship—relationship with God and relationship with one another. So to be fully alive and fully human, we need relationships–and I believe that extends to a healthy understanding of self-care too.
Instead of narrowly defining self-care as caring only for myself, I now realize that sometimes self-care takes place in relationship with other people.
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