"God wants what is best for us and has been generous in giving us our bodies," writes Youth Speak News' Rebecca Atkinson Photo courtesy of Tim Gouw, Pexels

Speaking Out: A little ‘me’ time will do wonders

By  Rebecca Atkinson, Youth Speak News
  • May 26, 2017

It was mid-April when I had my first Friday night off work since the beginning of September.

Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, it was an arduous school year. I allowed myself to reflect on these months and how I’d gotten to the point where simply getting through a week seemed impossible. I had heard of this infamous thing called burnout for a long time. In fact, it has loomed over my head so much that the very thought of it made me nervous for the better part of this year.

When it started to hit me though, I felt helpless. Working a part-time job in youth ministry, going to school full-time, managing a newspaper, dealing with household responsibilities, paying bills, balancing finances, visiting family, cooking, running errands and attempting to get enough sleep did not burn me out. It wasn’t what I’ve been doing that burnt me out — it was what I hadn’t been doing.

With the busyness of my life, I forgot how to live. It wasn’t until that Friday night that I realized I didn’t even know how to take care of myself anymore.

Self-care was not a priority for me, mostly because I didn’t realize how genuinely important it is. Whether I totally burned out, or was slowly making my way there, is beside the point. I felt worn. I hit a point where getting out of bed in the morning became more difficult than I thought imaginable.

Self-care is important. I can’t emphasize this enough. This is true not only for a person’s physical and mental wellbeing, but also spiritual. St. Paul made it very clear when he said that our bodies are given to us by God.

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

If I am neglecting the gift God has given me, then what merit do I have for myself or anyone around me? It is important to remember from whom we came and how blessed we are.

We cannot take care of others and love others if we do not first take care of ourselves and the body God has given us. Neglecting ourselves simply cannot be an option.

As Catholics, we are called to holiness. To help us get to that point, we can set goals to become the best versions of ourselves, according to God’s call for our lives.

I propose that each of us take time each day to do something that’s important to us. Time for prayer, time to cook a meal, time for exercise, time for playing music — whatever it is that will help you to take better care of yourself.

God wants what is best for us and has been generous in giving us our bodies. If we love the body God has given us, then we can glorify Him and become the best version of ourselves that we can be.

(Rebecca Atkinson, 21, is a first-year journalism student at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ont.)

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