Lindsay Wright believes too many parents fail to practise the self care that can enable them to thrive and suggests a month of practices to redress the balance.


Jesus answered, The most important is, Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.The second is this: You shall love your neighbour as yourself.There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mark 12:29-31

 You cannot really deny that love is a big thing in the Bible, it is mentioned over 300 times and a core of our calling as Christians is to love others. Time and time again in the Bible, and in our lives, we see Christians loving others so much they put needs of the community and loved ones before themselves, and when we become parents our needs definitely slip down the pecking order as we have little human creations that need looking after and nurturing. Granted, they are easier to keep alive than a Tamagotchi, but the demands that come with children mean that it doesn’t even cross our mind to put our needs close to the top. What starts off as sacrificing your warm brew and having to survive the cold, dissatisfying liquid leads to not having a clue who you are, and what even brings you joy these days. Now it is true that Jesus teaches that we are to ‘deny ourselves and take up our cross’, it is important to learn how to do this, however there is balance. When we reach a stage where we begin to believe showing yourself some love is selfish I believe we have an issue and that balance has shifted.

Not selfish

Loving yourself is not selfish, firstly we see Jesus looking after his own wellbeing, regularly taking himself away to be alone and taking the disciples on breaks to recuperate which is a wonderful example of showing yourself some love. It is also not selfish because it allows us to create a positive attitude towards ourselves and in doing that we begin to share that attitude towards others. It also gets rid of fears, so goodbye imposter syndrome and hello daring to step out in faith, and finally it allows to be ourselves striding out in confidence and grace. You see, by taking time to love ourselves and prioritising our wellbeing we can accept who God has created us to be, without needing to seek validation from things that aren’t of Him.

Research shows that our relationship with other people is linked to how we think about ourselves, so if we are nasty to ourselves, if our inner critic has the loudest voice, then that will eventually rub off in all our interactions. In Mark 12:29-31 it says the second commandment is to love your neighbour as yourself. Well, what if you aren’t loving yourself? The famous 1 Corinthians 13 chapter incudes love as being patient and kind, it doesn’t envy, it doesn’t boast, it isn’t arrogant or rude, it doesn’t rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth (vv 4-6). Can we honestly say we show that sort of love to ourselves, or are we too busy kicking ourselves for our mistakes? Are we looking in the mirror and believing ourselves to be too fat, or too skinny? Are we saying we can’t go out for that coffee on our own because we don’t deserve it and the house needs cleaning?

I know I certainly can’t be the only one.

So what do we do about it? Through Jesus our lives can be transformed, and through small, daily changes in our lives we can grow and learn to love ourselves, to see ourselves through kinder more patient eyes so then we can properly love others. I’ve created a Self-Love Month challenge, with 30 small self love activities so you can complete one a day, plus a bonus day if you’re doing this on a month with 31 days in it.

 The activities:

1. Speak to yourself as you would a loved one. You wouldn’t be as harsh on them as you are to yourself. Pray that God may help you see yourself through kind eyes.

2. Don’t have lunch at your desk.

3. Stretch for 10 minutes before bed. Thank God for the day that has passed.

4. Take four “mini breaks” throughout the day. Breathe deeply and pray for two minutes. What is your body feeling like? Is it tired? Are there areas of stress?

5. Write down five things your are grateful for.

6. Look in the mirror. You are more than your body shape, say five things your fearfully and wonderfully made body can do for you.

7. Wear your favourite outfit.

8. Clear clutter from one area of your work/home.

9. Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes and that’s okay. Write down three mistakes you’ve made recently and what you’ve learnt from them. Pray that you may forgive yourself.

10. Name three things you will do today that are fun.

11. Name one thing you’re most proud of.

12.  Set yourself three care goals. These could be doing a hobby, watching a movie, visiting a loved one, having a brew whilst it’s warm. Schedule them in so you don’t forget.

13. Go for a walk in nature.

14. Turn off your phone. Have a digital and social media break for a while.

15. Call or visit a friend for a chat.

16. Make a nourishing meal.

17. Do an act of kindness.

18. Write yourself a love note.

19. Write down three hard things you did today. You put the work in, you conquered it, let’s celebrate and thank God for giving you the strength to get through it.

 20. Try a new hobby.

 21.Go to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. Read a book, the bible, or rest in a bath/shower.

22. Do what makes you happy. Write these down then figure out times to get these into your life.

23. Create a Sunday self care routine. Sunday is a great day to recharge and reconnect with what’s important. Activities could include, going to church, reading the bible, having a relaxing brew, baking something, have some cuddle time with a pet or loved one.

24. Track how you spend every hour for one day. What do you fill it with? How are you feeling in those moments?

25. Do something you loved as a child.

26. Reflect on how far youve come and what youre capable of. Thank God for your skills and abilities.

27. Change your environment in one way. You could add a plant, light a candle, hang up a new picture.

28. Doodle or make something. 

29. Do something you’re really good at.

30. Reframe a negative into a positive. This is a really hard one, but you’ve done so well over this month you can do it, and you will find it is worth it.

 BONUS Day 31 Activity

31. Put some music on and do what feels right. Dancing, lying down with your eyes closed or singing along, it’s your choice.