Self care doesn’t have to be selfish

“Good stewardship” is probably a familiar concept to many. It refers to the responsibility for and management of a resource to produce maximum gain in a sustainable way. It’s often talked about in relation to money or the environment, and makes good, logical, sense with clear consequences linked to actions taken to manage the resource.

Bank accounts are the easiest to see this illustrated with – a choice to put money in a savings account and forgo a treat at the beginning of the year, for example, can result in enough to make that purchase and also have bit extra at the end of the year. We’re typically encouraged to make these kinds of choices to steward our resources well as we move through the different stages of life.

Have you ever stopped to think about being a good steward of your mental health and wellbeing as well? This is an idea that can typically be ignored or rejected because is often labelled “self care”, and prioritising your self doesn’t always fit with values of putting others first, kindness, love and generosity.

Self care CAN often be an excuse to be selfish, to be pampered and indulged, to be doing something just for you because you deserve it. While these things may be nice and enjoyable, they miss the point. If, however, we think about self care from the perspective of “stewardship” – the wise management of a resource resulting in sustainable gain – then self care may require different actions.

For some, good stewardship MAY be that manicure or holiday or shopping spree – these things aren’t bad in themselves – but the purpose is different. As a good steward, you don’t take some “me time” because you deserve it. You take it because it helps you build up your coping resources so that you can continue on serving and giving.

Good stewardship is more of a marathon than a sprint. What is it going to take for you to be a good steward of your mental health and wellbeing this year? Do you need to plan time with friends who fill your soul, or organise things to enable you to get exercise regularly, or time doing a hobby that gives your mind a break from work?  These things, when done wisely, purposefully and deliberately, are not selfish. They can enable you to be more sustainably and generously selfless long term.

Parents, you have the extra responsibility and challenge of being the stewards of your child’s mental health too. How are you ensuring that you child has a balance of work, play and rest so that they can cope with the challenges of life too?

 Special note:

As some of you are aware, I will be going on maternity leave somewhere towards the end of the term. We plan to have a psychologist filling in for me while I’m away working on being a good steward of my family, so do please still contact Pastoral Care teachers or Primary classroom teachers if your child needs some extra support at school.

 Thanks everyone! Look after yourselves and each other!