Welcome In yesterday’s post, I shared how I read in a recent book about “soul care.” I love this idea because it goes even a step further than the popular and important “self care.” I’m a big supporter of doing things that improve our mental, emotional, and physical health. But it is important that we do not neglect our spiritual health in the process. I would love to share how I’ve started applying a system of “soul care” to my life. Thanks for joining me today.
Food For Thought I’ve written about the importance of self-care in other posts, but I love this idea of taking it a step further with some spiritual care, as well. As I worked through my book study, I embraced the challenge of application. If you’ve read some of my other posts, you know that I keep a Spiritual and Mental Health Notebook. This notebook is where I keep Bible study notes, self-help book notes, prayer requests, articles I’ve printed about depression and anxiety, and some journaling. When I do my little “challenges,” like my Gratitude challenge from December or Self-Love challenge from March, I keep notes and references in this notebook. It keeps my self care and soul care all in one spot. I just had no idea there was a name for it, and I just love saying that term, “soul care.”
For April and May, I decided to set a daily goal in each area: spiritual health, physical health, and mental health. I made an old-school table in my notebook so I could track my progress each day. My spiritual goal was to read and meditate on at least one Bible verse each day. For my physical health, I set a goal to drink at least 100 ounces of water each day. This was attached to the goal that I would drink nothing else until I had at least half of my water ounces for the day. I need to work on this to kick my soda habit. For mental health, I set a goal to do a “happy activity” each day. This is an activity I do just for fun and just for me. This does not include all the fun stuff I do with my family or cooking or Bible study for the blog. On my table, along with the date, I included the verse or verses I chose to meditate on, how many ounces of water I drank for the day, and what happy activity I did. Tracking the activities for a couple of months begins to set these behaviors as good habits. Toward the beginning, I had to be conscientious about meditating on verses every day, tracking my water consumption, and doing an activity just for myself. But now, these things are part of my daily routine, especially the water consumption, I’m happy to say! Now that we’re in June, I’m not tracking every day, but my mind is aware of these things I need to do to keep my body, mind, and soul in best condition. I started with these three goals, so now may be the time to expand to even more goals. With baby steps, I can begin to see improvements to my overall health and well-being.
There is nothing magical or mandatory about the notebook I keep. It is a simple way that helps keep all my self-and soul-care together. My notebook is divided into five sections: Bible Study, Book Study, Prayer Requests, Journaling, and Mental Health. I’m going to share a few pictures from my notebook today, so you can have an idea of what I’m talking about, but do what works for you! You may be more of an electronic tracker-kind-of-person or you may have latched on to the bullet journal trend to organize these areas of your life. Whatever you choose to use, I recommend having some way to track and organize your care system. Many people, whether organized or not, will not make taking care of themselves or their spiritual lives a priority unless they are accountable in some form. Bonuses for using the uncomplicated notebook method: inexpensive and convenient. All I really need to make this notebook functional is a binder, some filler notebook paper, and some good pens. You can always decorate your binder according to your taste and page protectors are optional. Make it work for you! Also, the convenience of my notebook doesn’t keep me attached to my computer, phone, or internet access when I’m tracking progress, journaling, or doing a Bible study. This is important to me, since I work on the computer every day, I want my down time to be as device-free as possible.
Don’t be overwhelmed. If you are new to self-care or soul-care, take baby steps. I started this notebook 2 1/2 years ago when my mental health was at its worst and I had to make some changes for myself or look into stronger solutions. I was still working full time. It’s intended to be a tool for help, not a source of stress. Are you ready to try some soul-care, now? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Today’s Scripture Deuteronomy 4:29
Today’s Recipe Everyone loves to find new quick and easy meals for the family. It’s even better if they are filled with healthy vegetables and maybe a whole grain or two. I took the delicious filling of pork egg roll and turned it into a healthier version rice bowl. It’s a convenient dinner, too, because of the pre-shredded pork, pre-shredded cabbage, and pre-cut vegetables. Instant brown rice is another time saver. You can adjust the spices as you like, but to keep it low-sodium and flavorful, we like a lot of spice and very little salt.
Pork Egg Roll Bowl (makes 4 servings)
- 1 12-oz pkg pre-cooked shredded pork (I use the un-sauced shredded pork from Appleton Farms, available at Aldi stores)
- 1 1/2 TBS olive oil
- 1 1/2 TBS sesame oil
- 1 12-oz pkg fresh, pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower florets (like Eat Smart brand, found in grocery produce sections)
- 1 14-oz pkg shredded cabbage (classic coleslaw blend with shredded carrot works perfectly)
- 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
- 5 green onions, sliced
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt and pepper
- 2 tsp red pepper flakes, more or less to taste (we like spicy here!)
- 1/4 tsp EACH ginger, allspice, cinnamon, paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder
- 2 cups brown rice, prepared according to package directions
- reduced-sodium soy sauce, for serving, if desired
In LARGE non-stick skillet or wok, heat one tablespoon each of olive oil and sesame oil over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add broccoli and cauliflower. Stir-fry these large vegetables for four or five minutes; then add carrots and green onions. Cook an additional minute or two before adding shredded cabbage to the pan. Add the remaining half tablespoon each of olive and sesame oils to the cabbage, along with the salt and pepper. Stir fry all the vegetables another two to four minutes, until cabbage begins to wilt. Push all the vegetables to the outer edge of the pan, leaving a well in the center of the skillet. Add shredded pork to this opening. Add all of the remaining spices to the pork. As the pork begins to heat through, slowly incorporate the vegetables into the pork mixture and continue to stir-fry until everything is well mixed well and cooked fully. To serve, place a half-cup of brown rice in a bowl and top with a hearty portion of pork and vegetable mixture. Serve with soy sauce, if desired. (We don’t add soy sauce to ours, to save on sodium.)