When it comes to self-care, there are a lot of things that people do that are considered relatively standard. Things like taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, praying/meditating, exercising, and reading or listening to music. There are other methods of self-care that often slip under the radar. I’ll give you one example of the way I do self-care that most folks don’t know about.
We clergypersons are in positions where our lives are open books. In the process of bonding with our congregants through things like pastoral care visits, Bible studies, sermons and the like – they get to know us very well. They know what our favorite foods and restaurants are, they know about our views (theological, social, and political), they know our favorite television shows and movies, and they know a lot about the most formative experiences of our lives. In so ways, we are more open and more vulnerable with folks than most others.
So how do we take care of ourselves and carve out space that is uniquely ours?
Each clergy person does it in slightly different ways. Here’s one thing I have done. As much as I love social media – and talking openly about certain things such as politics and sports – I rarely post about those things that are most important to me: the folks in my inner circle.
One of my friends noticed this recently and asked me why I didn’t post more pictures on Facebook and name the people I was spending time with: the way many others do. I told him, “I’m comfortable talking in general terms about the thoughts, feelings, and experiences I have. But the time I spend with specific people in specific places is incredibly personal to me. That’s why I leave out those details.” That’s one subversive way I practice self-care: by carving out pieces of my life that I keep to myself.
My conversation with my friend this morning made me think about those ways that each of us care for ourselves in ways that fly under most peoples’ radar. Since I’ve shared one of my secret self-care methods, I’m wondering if you’ll take the risk and share one of yours. What self-care method do you use that most people don’t realize is a way of taking care of yourself? The more ideas we have to incorporate into our lives regarding self-care, the better we can get at it!