Self-care vs. Soul-care: The Difference and Importance of Each

Posted by: DVULI | November 2, 2021

DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative

by Archie Honrado (Los Angeles 2010)

The ongoing pandemic has exposed existential angst in many of us. The body and mind have discovered the will to survive through self-care, which many refer to as “me time.” Self-care can be life-giving, and when regularly practiced, it can prevent certain mental health issues such as burnout. In times like this, give yourself permission to do self-care, refusing to let any voice guilt-trip you. Also, learn to under- stand the difference between self-care and soul-care.

Self-care is exclusively leisure and pleasure for the body or mind. Soul-care is all that plus feeding our spirit the bread of life. Self-care can be a holy leisure that turns into soul- care when it is more than intentional me time. Soul-care is a variety of spiritual practices that pursues intimacy with Christ.

Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.
—John 6:32 NIV

Our self-care initiative becomes the true bread of life when taken with intention and mindful of the presence of the indwelling Christ. Self-care without soul-care is like saying Moses was the one who gave the true bread from heaven, not the Father, as Jesus mentioned. This leads us nowhere near Jesus but only leads us back to ourselves because it lacks soul depth.

While self-care cultivates loving yourself, soul-care cultivates loving your neighbor.

TO ACHIEVE SELF-CARE THAT NURTURES THE SOUL, I SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING:

  • Adopt a permission-giving attitude to allow yourself to practice self-care.
  • Talk about your self-care experience with a spiritual companion like a spiritual director, pastor, or counselor.
  • Give your self-care practice a spiritual power, turning it to soul-care by surrounding and enhancing your activities with prayer, journaling, and reflection.
  • Imagine your self-care activity as a sacred act that draws you closer to Jesus, and in doing so, your self-care will begin to transcend to soul-care.

SPIRITUAL DIRECTION FROM ARCHIE

Archie Honrado (Los Angeles 2010) offers fellow DVULI alumni three complimentary Spiritual Direction sessions. To learn more, contact him at archiehonrado@gmail.com. For more soul-care guidance, visit his Facebook page: facebook.com/soultrellis.

This article was published in the Fall 2021 issue of DVULI's On the Level print newsletter.