Ask A Counselor: What’s your self-care plan for 2016?

Happy New Year, friends!  This time around, I’ve got a question for you!


What’s your self-care plan—body, mind, soul, spirit–for 2016?

At the very beginning of this Ask-a-Counselor series, we talked about the cognitive, emotional, and spiritual challenges to self-care.  We examined those road-blocks to self-care, and we concluded that difficulties shouldn’t stop us from doing what really matters.

Maybe some of you tried new self-care tactics this year, only to find that things didn’t quite go as planned.

Here, our brave and mighty founder, Laura Parker, demonstrates this very point, in a vacation-river-cruise-turned-monkey-horror attack.

If any of your self-care plans turned out as traumatically as the Parkers’ this year, please share in the comments, because nothing’s more motivational than tales of self-care gone horribly awry (sarcasm font).

However!  Here’s my challenge to you at the beginning of this New Year:

Don’t give up on self-care just because the monkeys ruined it that one time! 

Keep trying.

Get creative.

Find things that work in your particular setting, for your particular family, at this particular time of life.

Friends of ours used to holiday-at-home.  For their young kids, an additional transition-to-vacation proved to be more stressful than restful.  So rather than giving up on holidays altogether, they found another way.  They’d gather a pile of favorite board games and movies, bring out a hoard of special food treats, and lock themselves away from the world for a few days.  It worked for their particular family, in that particular setting, at that particular time of life.

Think about what brings rest to you in your particular circumstances.

Think about the health of your whole self:  physically, cognitively, emotionally, spiritually.  

Do you need rest?  An adventure?  Connection?  Solitude?

What makes you laugh?

What makes you relax?

What gives you energy?

What can you look forward to with anticipation?

What will you remember with fondness?

Look into these resources:

Cerny-Smith Adjustment Index

Boundaries, Henry Cloud and John Townsend

Our Resource tab, for a listing of counseling and retreat options

Self-care printable “Everything is awful and I’m not okay:  questions to ask before giving up.”  

Consider your schedule:

What will you do DAILY that refreshes you?

What will you do WEEKLY that recharges you?

What will you do QUARTERLY that renews you?

What will you do ANNUALLY that revives you?

A dear friend of mine, a pastor’s wife, was constantly overscheduled by the demands of others, until she started physically writing her own daily self-care plans into her schedule.  Then, when she was asked to participate in activities, she could easily judge whether or not she had time to join in or not.  I think that is just a genius idea!

So, knowing yourself and your circumstances, think creatively.  Don’t let the monkeys run your life.  And let us know:  what’s your self-care plan for 2016?

Happy New Year, dear friends.

May this year find us receiving, more and more,

the great Peace that passes understanding,

the everlasting Love that springs up in us and overflows into a river of Life,

and the perfect Rest that Jesus offers to our souls.

(That will include good self-care, I’m pretty sure.)

photo credit

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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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