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Self care isn't the same as soul care

I’m excited to start this journey of caring for my soul, and finding an inner peace that I haven’t been able to attain through self care
2018-05-16 Brianna
Photo provided by Brianna Bell

The concept of self-care has become a popular and trendy point of discussion in the last few years. You can find plenty of books and articles on the concept of caring for yourself, especially when you’re a mother and spend so much time caring for others.

I think self-care is really important. For me, self care is about giving myself little breathers throughout the week to exhale and do something that I want to do. Sometimes that means enjoying an hour long yoga class, or driving to the bookstore and browsing the latest releases. Other times it means getting social and having dessert with a friend, or calling someone to talk for an hour.

I think I’m pretty good at the discipline of self-care, and yes, I do believe it is a discipline. I married someone who happily takes three kids to the park so that I can nap or read. I have no issues with prioritizing myself in the margin of my day, knowing how much more refreshed I am afterwards.

However, there is another type of care that I’m not so great at, and it’s not as trendy to talk about, and that’s soul care.

Some will argue that self care and soul care are one in the same, claiming that our self and our soul are simply interchangeable. I would disagree. I think our “self” is the essence of who we are, and to care for our self means doing the things that bring us joy and rejuvenation. For everyone, that is different, but for most it is a surface level activity; maybe jogging, reading, or cooking an elaborate meal.

It’s fairly simple to come up with things that we like to do, that bring us happiness and contentment.

But soul care, in my opinion, is caring for the deepest part of yourself. According to John Ortberg, our soul is what integrates our will, mind, and body and makes us a whole being. Ortberg says, “A soul without a centre feels constantly vulnerable to people or circumstances.”

That’s what I hope to discover, a centred soul, one that doesn’t easily sway because of a change in circumstance or a strange encounter with a person.

Ever since I became a mother caring for my soul has become a burden that has left me feeling heavy. It’s felt like an insurmountable mountain to climb. I can sip tea for twenty minutes quietly and feel my self energized to tackle my day, but it’s not left my soul feeling centred. I know that my soul is not centred, because daily stress and people encounters leave me easily unmoored.

This is why I want to do better at soul care, and I know that this discipline will be much harder to establish. Because I am a Christian, soul care is a very spiritual role for me, and the care of my soul is rooted in God and my relationship with Jesus. I cannot separate the soul from my faith, but I believe others should search and consider their souls, even if their worldview is different.

I’m excited to start this journey of caring for my soul, and finding an inner peace that I haven’t been able to attain through self care. For me, caring for my soul will start at really examining what my soul is, and sitting quietly with my thoughts and digging deeper into my faith. It will mean reading my bible more, praying, enjoying the peace and quiet of solitude in the outdoors, and maybe even getting uncomfortable and pushing boundaries with myself, and my experience with my soul.

I’m learning that my soul isn’t all about my self, and that’s the biggest difference between self care, and soul care.