Ask a Counselor: Annual Self-Care Check-Up Edition

It’s become my tradition to kick off every year with a post encouraging self-care for the year ahead.

Last year, I talked about using the biopsychosocial model as a basis for a well-rounded self-care plan.  I even created a fun, handy-dandy animation about it.

I still think that’s a great model to use, and I hope it’s useful to you well-organized, well-adjusted types who just make a plan and go with it all year long.

But for the rest of us–those of us who had good intentions that fell by the wayside, or who thought we didn’t need a self-care plan and are dragging ourselves out of 2017 like we were hit by a train–I want to ask you just one question for the year ahead:

What do you need?

That’s it: what do you need?

Sit with that question, and let the answer be the basis of your self-care for this year.

Whatever you need, accept it as the free gift from your Father who loves you with an everlasting Love, who has your name written in the palms of his hands, who can never forget you any more than a nursing mother could forget her beloved child.

What do you need?

Whatever it is, receive.

Many of us are experts at assessing and providing for the needs of others.

  • We’re great at understanding what the ministry needs.
  • We comprehend our friends’ emotions and desires and step up whenever we can.
  • We know what our kids want before they do.
  • We love and support our spouses in their needs and wants.

But when we turn the attention to ourselves, what happens?

When I ask you, what do you need?

What happens for you?

Do the tears well up?

Does your radar suddenly fail?

Are you the one and only person on earth whose needs you cannot comprehend?

If that describes you, then sit with that question until the answers start to come.

Sit with those tears and listen to what they have to teach you.

Accept your own needs, your own wants, your own desires.

Respond to yourself with kindness, just as you would to a friend.

Release the compulsion to shove all the blessing down the line to the next person.

Comprehend that YOU are included, accepted, loved, safe, chosen.

Your heavenly Father has gifts for YOU, rest for YOU, compassion for YOU.

Accept, accept, accept.

Receive, receive, receive.

You won’t exhaust the storehouses of heaven, I promise. There is plenty for all.

As you receive, every day, whatever it is that you need, may this be a New Year that brings rest to your soul.


The Inner Voice of Love, Henri Nouwen

Abba’s Child, Brennan Manning

Tired of Trying to Measure Up, Jeff Van Vonderen

The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown

Yoga with Adriene on YouTube

Don’t forget to check our Resource Tab for a listing of counseling and retreat centers around the world.

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Kay Bruner

Kay Bruner was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in Brazil, Nigeria, and the wilds of Kentucky. She and her husband have raised their four children in Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and currently reside in the great state of Texas. Kay is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and divides her work days between counseling and writing. She is the author of As Soon As I Fell and blogs at She is available for counseling at her office in Dallas or via skype for a reduced rate to clients overseas. For more information go to:

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