By Rev. Patrick Rogers, MDiv.
During the Christian Christmas-time Advent Season we often focus on the gifts of joy, peace, hope, and love. In the midst of the business all around us, do you remember what those emotions are? Between the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, homophobia, transphobia, gun-violence, politics, and everyday concerns regarding the economy, keeping our jobs or getting one, making ends meet, food, shelter, clothing, family, global warming, and world peace … it’s easy to forget!
These days, when do we think about the necessity and concept of self-care? In our busy lives, we often put priority on others’ basic needs, needs of family and friends, and our own needs, and necessity for “self-care” last. We put others’ needs first and think that when we have time “left-over,” it’s then and only then that we will care for OUR necessity of self-care. Then in actuality do we ever have time “left over” for ourselves?
What does the Bible say about self-care regarding mental health?
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
Mental self-care is a huge component of any self-care routine. It involves managing how you think and feel and increasing the positive habits you have that benefit the way you think and feel. Our lives are filled with numerous routines. We maintain our houses/apartments, we maintain our cars, we maintain our personal relationships, and on-and-on. What about a routine for the maintenance of our mental health?
It’s difficult these days with the COVID-19 restrictions, but there are still many options. Personally, I use online guided meditation sessions three or four times a week. When is the last time you have been to the beach? When the beaches are open, a 30-minute visit to a quiet beach is refreshing to sit, relax, and breath. A walk through a garden is always enjoyable and spiritual for me also. I love to visit Morikami Gardens by myself and sit on the bench in their bamboo garden. It’s a soothing and spiritual experience to sit and look out over the water and hear in the wind, the bamboo clicking and clacking together, and it sounds like the Holy Spirit speaking to me.
There are many options for our mental health maintenance plans. It’s time to plan to make a plan! As it says in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?” Our mental health is a very important and vital part of self-care and maintaining God’s temple of which we are! It’s time to get started! I wish you joy, peace, hope, and love all year long!
Rev. Patrick Rogers, MDiv. – Community Activist and Senior Pastor at
United Church of Christ Fort Lauderdale.