My goal for the rest of Lent is to write, to actually sit down and make the time to do so. I am currently sitting in a wine bar drinking sangria, and listening to two tipsy couples as I work on this. Alex kicked me out of the house, and I feel the creative juices flowing.
As I love writing, I would love for this blog to actually go somewhere. I have a whole list of topics, and my first that I would like to share is on M.E.P.S. I'll explain what this acronym means below.
So years ago, part of our religious education included the Baltimore Catechism. I don't have a copy with me, but there was a part that talked about loving God with one's whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. That struck a cord with a seven or eight year old me, and when I wrote up our family's own morning offering prayer, I included that.
As I've gotten older, I've seen what suffers when imbalance happens. I've seen what happens when avoiding prayer and God does too. I've seen what happens when one lives in extremes, and it's hurtful. That's when I came up with M.E.P.S., the best acronym (in my opinion) to remember how to take care of oneself.
M stands for mental health, E for emotional health, P for physical, and S for spiritual. The health of each must be taken care of, or the health of the others will suffer. I've always tried to live in such a way that balanced all four. I've done a poor job of that lately, and as a result I've been struggling in other areas. I have been forgetting to pray for the health of MEPS, I've felt guilty taking care of one but not the others. I intentionally took care of one, but not another.
It is vital to get to good health in all of these areas. We see what happens to individuals who do not. You have shootings, divorce, abuse, miscommunication, neglect, bad work environments, churches turning people off to church and religion. You've got politicians who don't care about others, slime ball lawyers, and those who should be protecting us choosing not to.
Mental health is so important for me as a mother, because if I am struggling with anxiety or depression, the whole home can or does fall into shambles. If I am thinking poorly of myself, be it my body, or my actions, scrutinizing everything I do and assuming people care about every single action, then I will just go crazy. My husband would not be able to reason with me, and my children will be pushed away. I can delve into various examples, but I will only speak on what is most relevant.
Emotional health. Oh my. Some people are more sensitive, and some have zero empathy. We need both people to use what they have, BUT they must learn how to direct and control what they've got. If one reacts in emotional outbursts to everything happy and sad and stressful, the body is greatly affected. I have seen it in my clients again and again. It is hard to steel your mind, and constantly remind yourself to let your eyebrows relax, your shoulders fall, and your low back to release. But to let your emotions burst out of your body in such a way causes many more problems later. Our body languages and emotions are so tied together that we either do not know or forget we can control the body's response to emotion. There is absolutely no need to put more stress on the body than is necessary.
Physical health is something so many people like to talk about. Do many people have perfect health? No. But feeling good by eating certain foods and avoiding others, that perfect exercise routine, or stretching in the mornings and drinking a good cup of tea can really determine your mental and emotional health. We are physical temples of the Holy Spirit, whether or not you believe that. Our bodies WILL be united with our souls again at the Last Judgement. We don't have to have a six pack, or eat all organic, or use the best of the best of everything, but how we present ourselves physically really does show what we believe of ourselves. Just basic cleanliness and drinking water and a cup of caffeine may be all a mom can handle, but sometimes, that is enough to make it through the day.
Spiritual health is the last bit. To pray, to talk to God, to wish someone well, to elevate ourselves with good company and conversation, to practice virtue and good habits, as well as developing ourselves personally. We would be truly missing something in all three aspects of health above if we did not cultivate and nurture our spiritual health. As a Catholic, I believe and know that we can unite our suffering with that of Christ's, and that suffering has redemptive qualities. When I "pray" to the saints and the Blessed Mother, I am not actually praying TO them, but as they are the closest friends of Christ, I ask them to petition on my behalf to them, as I would as someone to ask their friend for good graces, a good word, or a job connection.
If you try to practice M.E.P.S., please let me know how you do it. Or just share your best self care habits and tricks with me. I don't believe anything is done perfectly, life is always a work in practice and there is always an opportunity to learn. I will probably have a follow up post or two, but this is all I've got for tonight.
I am hoping to finish up another post tomorrow, so wish me luck, and I'll see you on the flip side!