Self-Care: Have a Regular Time to Reflect.

In the discussion on self-care, I’ve shared the importance of setting time aside from your daily life to focus on your own mental and emotional health.  This is critically important if you spend time caring for others.  As  a person in a helping profession, I get satisfaction in assisting others to make progress in their relationships.  This satisfaction can be a trap however, if I begin to work as a means of fulfillment.

True fulfillment comes from fulfilling my God-given purpose.  I need a regular time to slow down, reflect on my purpose and consider if I am still on track.  This requires time alone, in silence to meditate on my life.

In the past two posts I’ve shared about relaxation and using imagination as tools for self-care.  Today I would like to share my personal way to do this.

For the past 6 years I have been going to Big Bend National Park in December for an extended time away.  As an introvert in a helping profession I spend most of my working day in conversation with people.  This is very draining, but has a certain joy.  A dilemma arises for me in trying to balance my personal self and my professional self.  I have discovered, however, if I do not take care of myself I can get into a dark place very quickly.

Each day I begin by taking time for prayer and meditation.  I reflect on my life in the previous day and repent or affirm based on the evaluation of the events.  I have written my life purpose and each day for a short time I reflect on this and do a brief comparison of my purpose and my actual life.  If I am off track, I make plans to correct my life.  If I am on track, I affirm myself.  All of this is shared with my sponsor each Tuesday morning.

Once every three months I take a longer time, from 1 to 8 hours for reflection.  This can be hiking in to a local park, where I sit and reflect, or I may go away for a day to help me to focus.  Again, during this time away I reflect on my life purpose and check to see if I am on or off track.

Then once a year I take two weeks for a full-scale evaluation.  This time is spent alone, in silence with the purpose of staying connected to my purpose.  I hike out into the desert or mountains at Big Bend and live in nature.  After about day three I reach a clarity of mind that is truly remarkable.  I’ll share resources with you if you are interested.  You may reach me through the comment section.

I realize that not everyone will be attracted to silence or solitude, especially extroverts! However, the process of setting time for yourself daily, weekly, quarterly and annually is necessary for anyone who wants to stay connected to her or his life purpose.

I’ll share more on self-care in tomorrow’s post.  As always, I welcome your comments.

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