How to Make Sure You are Taking Care of Yourself

It’s been a great time in my life where I have been doing a lot of re-evaluating of where I am and refocusing on where I am want to be. And one thing that I have quickly discovered is that while professionally I am completely fulfilled and have a passion for what I am doing, I have not been taking care of me, personally, at all. I have let “me” slip.

Now, I know that sounds very selfish, but the reality is if I am not taking care of myself, personally, I am no good to anyone else. I am just not! I am not good to my co-workers, my friends and, most importantly, my family. So, I have been taking a hard look at what I am doing and where I am spending my time. Some of those discoveries I have written here (when I gave up my smartphone for a day) and further reflections here.

As I have been going through this process, I have discovered a few things about myself that have really helped me understand “me” again. They are:

  • When I don’t get enough sleep and I don’t exercise I get down. Yeah, I said it, I get down, even depressed sometimes. And it happens regularly when I don’t get enough sleep and I don’t exercise that day. So I have to take care of my body. I have to make sure I’m getting enough sleep every day and some exercise in.
  • When I work too much, I create unhealthy habits. I admit it, I’ve become a bit of a workaholic. I enjoy work so much and all that I am doing that I just like to spend my days working as much as possible. I get up early to work, I work through the day and I’ll even work at night…only to do the same thing over and over again. What I have discovered is that I need to shut my computer, step away from my phone and start investing in some things that I personally enjoy. Someone asked me recently what it is that brings me joy. And honestly, I couldn’t tell them at the time because I couldn’t think about me, personally. That needs to change and has been slowly changing.
  • care When I spend too much on social media, I miss moments in my life. I’m a social media guy. It’s part of my job as an Online Campus Pastor at New Life. Therefore, I HAVE to be on social media. But I have found myself on social media way too much. And when I am on social media checking out others peoples lives, I am failing to do something with my life. I don’t want to miss the time I have with my girls and even the time I have when I am by myself.

Now these are things that I discovered about myself. What you discover about yourself could be something entirely different. But the one thing I believe to be true about all of us is that if we are not taking care of ourselves we are going to lose who we are entirely. God has a plan for YOU and YOUR LIFE. The question is are we opening ourselves us to really discovering who God uniquely created us to be so that we can be the best “me”.

So what I would encourage you to do is a few different things:

  • Step away and be alone. Disengage and make a concerted effort to spend some time alone. I know this may seem like a hard thing to do, especially if you have kids. But, there are opportunities for you to just sit and process…preferably without your phone. That time has become value to me and it can be for others as well.
  • Read a book about being healthy. I am currently reading “Emotionally Healthy Leader” by Peter Scazzero. It has been such a great book for me to read at this stage in my life. It may not be the best book for you, though, so I would encourage you to find a book that fits where you are at and what you are looking at.
  • Find a few friends to help you process and encourage you. This isn’t all your friends, just a few that you can trust and share “you” with…no filters. I have 4 of these guys and without them I would be in real trouble. They don’t judge me or condemn me. They listen to me, encourage me and pray for me. I am so thankful for all of them and their friendship.
  • Go talk to a counselor. I think we are beyond the point where we think going to a counselor is “bad” and only for “messed up people”. At least I hope we are because the reality is we are all messed up, some just choose to admit it. Go talk to a counselor and unload on him/her and let them help you process.
  • Find something that brings you joy. What I have discovered about me was that I couldn’t identify something, non-work related, that brought me joy. However, what I have begun to discover is that I like to watch movies (nice break from the world) and I like to write. So, I have really tried to do those more often. What brings your joy? If you don’t know, start processing and figuring out what you can be doing to get that joy back in your life.
  • Seek the Lord. God created you. He designed  you. He understands and knows you best. Seek His guidance. I love James 1:5 that says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” Seek God and see where He leads you!

Six simple things you can start doing today so that you can be more healthy…not just for your family or your friends or your co-workers…but for YOU! What are you going to choose to do today?

Share your thoughts! What stands out to you from this post? Share your experiences below or on social media use my twitter handle @tapounder when you share.

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Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at YMSidekick.com and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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