Self-care is one of those buzz words that moms hear often. We’re encouraged to take time for ourselves by “napping when the baby naps,” going to get a pedicure, or taking a bubble bath. These things are definitely helpful and enjoyable, aren’t they?
But I’ve found that every mom also needs soul-care. It’s not either or, but both. How is soul-care different than self-care?
I love a good metaphor, so let’s imagine ourselves as a car. Self-care is taking care of the external and making sure the gauges and tires are working properly. Soul-care is supporting and maintaining the heart of the car – the engine – which enables everything to keep running. If your engine isn’t maintained well, eventually you won’t get very far.
If we only spend time on self-care, we may find ourselves sputtering along through life and motherhood because our hearts and souls also need tending.
I didn’t realize I needed soul-care until a few years into motherhood. Having children exposed behaviors and patterns in me that weren’t healthy. A nap, pedicure, and a bubble bath weren’t enough to help my heart. I looked up Christian counselors in my area and made an appointment. That was nearly eight years ago, and I still see my counselor regularly. When we engage in self-care, it feels good in that moment and shortly thereafter. But soul-care is longer lasting. It deeply satisfies. It helps answer questions to our deepest longings. It helps heal wounds and birth new fruit. It always points us to Jesus.
Here are a few examples of how to care for our souls as moms:
- Spend time reading the Bible and in prayer
- Attend church
- Make a counseling appointment
- Seek spiritual direction
- Spend time in silence
- Go to a women’s conference
- Join a support group
- Engage in a creative activity
- Spend time in nature
Soul-care may look different to each of us because God made us uniquely. The key is to figure out what helps you receive the rest for your soul that Jesus describes in Matthew 11:28-29 NIV: Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and earn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Mama, remember that you are worth the investment of both self and soul-care. As you care for yourself, you’re also investing in and loving your family. Better moms make a better world.
- How can I care for my soul this week?
- How can I ensure that I make time for soul-care on a regular basis?
Andrea Fortenberry, Executive Leadership Coach (andreafortenberry.com)