By Kisha Thomas

By Kisha Thomas

Caring for yourself is a foundational part of caring for others. You can’t give what you don’t have.

Click here to read the entire September 2019 newsletter

In our workaholic world, it is easy to slip into the notion that “I am what I do,” and we can quickly get swept up in ticking off boxes, accomplishing tasks, and forgetting to care for ourselves. When living in poverty, the simple need to survive can quickly exacerbate this need to keep up. This lack of self-care and attention can drain emotional, physical, spiritual and mental storehouses quickly, thereby worsening symptoms of chronic anxiety, depression and other mental illness. This, in turn, only perpetuates the seemingly endless cycle of poverty.

At Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, we see this often, as families scramble to make ends meet, put food on the table, keep up with the bills, and navigate the many hurdles life throws. When this disarray comes about, the first thing to leave is self-care. Parents feel forced to abandon their own needs in order to care for their children. However, we know it is in the best interest of everyone if each person allows time for self-care. Why? Well, we’ve all heard the age-old adage “you can’t give what you don’t have.”

When we speak of self-care, what do we mean? Self-care can be described as the actions we take to care for our own mental, emotional, and physical well-being as it refocuses the brain, reduces anxiety and improves your mood. Research shows taking time for yourself can improve your health, boost productivity and reduces the risk of heart disease.

Many times, clients feel guilty for taking time for self-care. However, Welcome Center staff ultimately reminds clients that self-care can free them to better love the people around them. Here are some ways you can practice self-care:

Mental Health Self Care

  • Learn to say “no.”
  • Learn how to make a budget and keep track of your money. We recommend our Financial Literacy classes.
  • Intentionally schedule “me time” on your calendar or planner.
  • Protect your schedule; don’t overwhelm yourself by doing too much at once.

Emotional Health Self Care

  • Do deep breathing for 5-7 minutes.
  • Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.
  • Try some mindful exercises to help bring you into the present moment.
  • Call someone you love.

Physical Health Self-Care

  • Get up out of your chair and dance to your favorite upbeat song.
  • Do some walking or stretching exercises.
  • Declutter your space.

Caring for the self is caring for the other. Clients coming into the Welcome Center are often in the midst of trial, as both self-sufficiency and self-care have been compromised. We provide clients relief from their stresses, allowing them the chance to better care for themselves and their loved ones. By reinforcing the importance of self-care and self-worth, clients view themselves in a different light, gain self-awareness, and ultimately live a happier and healthier life.

To learn more about our Welcome Center services, contact Kisha Thomas at or call 816-659-8237.


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