What Does the Bible Say About Self-Care? (A Christian Perspective)

🌺  Written by Gina

Christian self-care can be a tricky topic since it’s not a phrase used in the Scriptures. In today’s post, Gina M Poirier and Mary Harp answer the question, “What does the Bible say about self-care?” and explore and what that means for us today.

Girl holding yellow flowers with text: What does the Bible say about Christian self-care?For a long time, I’ve struggled with how to view self-care as a Christian.

It can be a difficult concept to approach if you’re feeling burned out by life’s demands and know you need to take better care of yourself, but you still want to stay true to God’s call for Christians to deny themselves.

On the one hand, there is a lot of secular self-help information out there. Self-care is a sensationalized trend in today’s culture, propelled on social media with manicures, yoga, and fancy coffees with the hashtag #selfcare or #selflove.

On the other hand, Christians can go to the opposite extreme. Sometimes, we are so afraid of being “selfish” that we neglect ourselves entirely. We think that self-care = narcissism and wear exhaustion like it’s a badge of honor.


Is there a middle ground? What does the Bible say about self-care (if anything)? Are there any Bible verses about self-care to help us practice Christian self-care appropriately?

After years of wrestling with this (and still continuing to wrestle!), here is some of the wisdom I’ve discovered about Christian self-care.


Related Reading: How to Practice Christian Mindfulness: 3 Easy Tips for Moms


What Does the Bible Say About Self-Care?


If you do a word search for Bible verses about self-care, you’re going to be disappointed because that phrase comes up exactly zero times. There are no scriptures on “self-care” that you can conveniently add to your phone’s lock screen.

But just because what the Bible says about self-care isn’t evident at first doesn’t mean the Bible doesn’t have truth and wisdom that we can apply to this topic.

Good Bible study goes beyond just finding singular Bible verses about self-care to digging deeper into bigger themes and principles that hold true in every time, place, and culture.

So what does the Bible say about self-care? Nothing directly. But there are many Bible verses on concepts like rest, stewardship, and God’s love for us that can give us the practical wisdom we need.



Understanding Self-Care from a Christian Perspective


While what the Bible says about self-care isn’t explicitly outlined, we can answer the question “What does the Bible say about self-care” by looking at three closely related concepts: Rest, Stewardship, and God’s love for us. Let’s look at each of these individually.


1. God Created Humans to Need Rest


When it comes to exploring what the Bible says about self-care, one way I like to look at it is through the lens of rest because this concept is so prevalent throughout the Scriptures.

From the creation account in Genesis, through the Old Testament, and into the New Testament, rest is part of the rhythm of life. God concludes his creative masterpiece with a day of rest, and invites his image-bearers to do the same.

God crafted humans (and all of creation) with the requirement of rest. This includes eating, sleeping, celebrating, and ultimately being refreshed.

It is a practice, which was codified into law for his chosen people in the Old Covenant. But it is also a posture.

A person at rest is a person who chooses to walk faithfully and obediently with the Lord. We can choose to take a break weekly, but we can also choose other restful activities daily, monthly, or whenever it’s suitable.

While what the Bible says about self-care isn’t explicitly outlined, it’s not difficult to see how you can understand it through this lens of rest.


2. Christian Self-Care is a Form of Stewardship


Closely related to rest is stewardship.

Again, starting in Genesis, we see that God’s plan for humanity is to rule over all of creation—and care for it.

That includes care for our own bodies.


3. We Can Rest in God’s Love for Us


Finally, you can see what the Bible says about self-care if you consider God’s love for all of us.

While there is a call for self-sacrifice as we follow in Christ’s footsteps, that doesn’t nullify the call to care for our dearly loved bodies, minds, and souls, in ourselves and others.


The following Scriptures on self-care illustrate these points further.


Related Reading: Are You at Risk for Christian Burnout?


Scriptures on Self-Care


With the understanding that concepts like rest, stewardship, and God’s love are woven throughout the Scriptures, there are a few self-care Bible verses that can be helpful as you seek to answer the question, “What does the Bible say about self-care?”


1. Genesis 2:2–3


By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.


God set everything in motion with creation, setting up the pattern of work followed by rest. He invites humans, who bear his image and rule over/steward creation, to follow his example in this introduction to what the Bible says about self-care.


2. Exodus 20:8–11


Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.


Keeping the Sabbath was one of the Ten Commandments given at Sinai under the Old Covenant, and you can see here how connected it is to what God set in motion in Genesis. It’s important to note that it wasn’t just about individuals stopping work; the command extended to every person and animal. It was intrinsically linked with stewardship.

The same principles can apply to our observation of rest under the New Covenant.

When we practice self-care, it’s important to recognize that what we do isn’t just for our own benefit. It should serve as a blessing to others and to the creation itself.


3. Mark 12:30-31


Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.


You may have heard these verses a million times, but have you noticed these two important words: As yourself.

These Bible verses about self-care don’t just tell us to love others. They tell us to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

That means you have permission to love yourself, as God loves you.

It doesn’t say love your neighbor and belittle or neglect yourself. Sometimes we mistakenly believe that self-degradation is synonymous with “showing humility.” Jesus wants you to love and value yourself as his beloved child and a part of creation.


4. Ephesians 5:29


For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church…


God built the mechanism of self-care into us. We have an innate desire to “nourish and cherish” ourselves.

God made us this way because he knows that when we are at our best, we are also equipped to serve in the Kingdom.

You can’t serve others very well when you are lying in bed sick or exhausted. You can’t study and pray effectively when your brain power is shot due to lack of sleep and nourishment. Humans need downtime, food, sleep, and more to function, thrive, and to love God and others well.


5. Matthew 11:28


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.


These are Jesus’ well-known words: an invitation to rest. This Bible verse about taking care of yourself is a reminder that true rest comes through knowing Christ and walking with him. All other self-care practices build from there.


There are many other Bible verses and stories that are relevant when studying what the Bible says about self-care, but these are a great starting point.


How to Practice Christian Self-Care


With a better grasp on what the Bible says about self-care, let’s turn to the more practical questions, like:

  • Is it okay for me to be on my phone when I’m with my kids?
  • Do I have to get up early to read my Bible?
  • Whose needs come first: Mine, my husband’s, or my kids’?
  • Do I really need to suck it up and go to church when I’m feeling so exhausted I can barely move?
  • Is it okay to set Christian boundaries when someone asks for my help? (Really, not just in theory?)
  • Can I spend money on something frivolous or indulgent and not feel guilty?


These types of questions are deeply personal, and you can explore them using some of the principles already discussed.

Remember Philippians 2:4: “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

But also realize that as you put this plan into practice, you will have more energy to spend on others because your own cup is full!


While it may not be practical for you to set aside hours out of your day to focus on only yourself, there are a lot of small steps you can start taking as you have the time as you implement what the Bible says about self-care.

Remember, you can’t keep pouring out all your energy and resources without taking the time to refill them!


For you, this may mean:

  • Getting enough sleep every night. If this feels like a chore, remember the rewards. You’ll be more productive (not to mention happier) the next day!
  • Eating a good balance of protein, complex carbs, fiber, and healthy fats at each meal. Fad diets aren’t sustainable long-term, so focus on eating real food in a balanced way.
  • Moving your body in some way on a daily basis, even if it’s just walking a few blocks or taking the stairs.
  • Making alone time non-negotiable each day. Block out a period of uninterrupted time to recharge. Do your favorite things, no guilt allowed. Remember, this time is crucial for your mental health.
  • Getting regular checkups with your doctor, even if you think you “can’t afford it.” Don’t allow health issues to fester and get worse. Investing in your health is investing in your energy, your future, your family, and your service to God!
  • Spending time in daily prayer, Bible study, and other spiritual disciplines.
  • Making time to fellowship with Christian friends who encourage you.


While it can be helpful to search for Bible verses about self-care or related concepts, we aren’t limited to only the Bible. God also gave us common sense. Sometimes the best way to practice Christian self-care is simply to do the things we know are good for us – whether physically, mentally, spiritually, or socially. 


Related Reading: How to Set Biblical Boundaries as a Christian


What Christian Self-Care is NOT


When exploring what the Bible says about self-care and how to practice it, it’s important to differentiate Christian self-care from other approaches to self-care.

There are a few practices that people turn to when they desperately need a break, which are important to recognize because they can be sinful and selfish:

  • Escape: Running from or avoiding stressors in your life rather than confronting them. Getting away isn’t bad in itself, but if your only objective is to escape, rather than purposefully recharge yourself, then you’re only going to want more escape.
  • Self-medicating: Finding healing from sources that will never fill you up. This is taking escape to the next level, trying to find joy in whatever your weakness is—your phone, shopping, food, or other substances.
  • Addiction: What happens when you get short highs from escaping and self-medicating. You keep coming back for more…and more…and more…and you keep coming out empty.


We’re all susceptible to these things.

Personally, when I’m not mindful, I drift into selfish ambition, jealousy, and idolatry. We all have our weaknesses and should be mindful of them when exploring our Christian self-care practices and what the Bible says about self-care.

In addition to asking yourself, “What does the bible say about self-care?” it can also be helpful to ask the advice of friends and family who know you well, who can help you decide when you’re practicing healthy Christian self-care and when you’re sliding into laziness, apathy, or even idolatry. (All of which can be real risks of Christian self-care when we get off balance!)


Related Reading: 10 Bible Verses About Anger and How to Deal with It


Dig Deeper into What the Bible Says About Self-Care and More


We’ve really just scratched the surface about Christian self-care and all the angles that can be explored. If you’re serious about putting into practice the Scriptures on self-care, I hope you study the Bible for yourself and come up with a self-care plan that works for you.

The Take a Deep Breath Toolkit is also a great free resource that can help you identify and implement the Christian self-care practices you need most.



Do you wrestle with understanding what the Bible says about self-care? What’s difficult for you?

Gina Poirier

About the author

Gina Poirier is a happily married mom of five, stress management coach and writer who helps overwhelmed, exhausted moms find peace and purpose in the everyday. You can find her at her website, GinaMPoirier.com.

  1. Hi I just discovered your blog and love it. I’m a mentor for our church’s MOPS group. Would we be allowed to use Mary Harp’s article on self care in our newsletter? It get s sent to our moms and childcare volunteers. Thank you for considering our request. Debby

    1. Hi Debby! I am happy for you to share the article in your newsletter, as long as it’s not being republished online. I hope your ladies are encouraged by it. Please provide credit with my name and a conspicuous link back to the original article. I hope you have a blessed day!

      1. Hi Mary,

        I absolutely love this article as well! Do you mind if I publish it in my start up magazine? I will definitely provide credit to you and a link back to the original article as you requested with Debby.

        Looking forward to hearing from you!

      2. Thank you for your kind words, Natalie! As long as it’s republished in print, that is fine. Unfortunately it can’t be republished online for search engine purposes. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Mary, thank you so much for this. You summed up my issues with self care so well here: “Since society has taken this concept too far, some Christians go to the opposite extreme. Sometimes, we are so afraid of being “selfish” that we neglect ourselves in the process. We think that self-care = narcissism.”

    I will take what you’ve said to heart.

    God bless.

  3. Hello.Please pray for me.I have chronic ptsd from years of abuse and zero selfcare. I have been molested,raped,shot at stalked,a single parent with no child support,gang raped,sexually harraassed by just about every man I have ever come in contact with,andI do read my Bible.I got saved at twelve,and have been taught to just suck it up,life is hard,the world is wicked,and so forth.I have no family or friends to depend on.Every church I go towants service from me,and jesus keeps telling me to be a Martha ina mary world.I could care less about the alcoholic,the prisoner,the addict,the poor,thesick,the abusers,and I have a husband who is gone for three weeks cross country and only home for ten days a month.So the Christian world shoots me for being weak,the psychiatric world puts me next to the abusers.Their little support groups,aa,na,recovery the whole higher power thing isn’t for me.It is all run by secular people.Even my husband has been trained since birth that he is worth nothing and it is wrong to put yourself first.I am in the bed most of the time from exhaustion,nightmares,lack of any selfcare and for decades from being raped,molested,stalked,bullied,spit on,cussed out,shot at,having to be in the presence of an alcoholic or addict,and it is not a disease,it is a choice.I have been tramatised for decades and cant even watch the news or certain tv shows.My daughter has dumped me,and even my husband uses scripture to trigger me.I barely even go to church anymore because they want to make a servant out of someone who has nothing left to give.And you do not forgive unless the other person repents.Repentance means to turn away from and to restore to the person you wronged.Some people are reprobate,they have no conscience and if givenm the opportunity will do it to you again.I would like your book,but am on disabvility and cannot afford it.Self care and integrity is a dirty word in most churches today.There is even a family at my church who teaches children a Bible study but they lie and steal on a regular basis.The pastor doesn’t have enough gumption to correct them and basically needs them as servants.My first ministry is to the word of GOD,to learn it and read it for myself,then in the home,to my husband and to keep my own body and what I have been given stewardship over,then go learn the word at a local body and pay the tithe.It is ALL I can do.I am on guard 24 7 seven days a week.I am extremely anhgry at what unbelievers,not satan has stolen from me.

    1. Hi. I just wanted to let you know that I hear you and if I hear you…how much more does God. My heart is heavy to hear all that you have endured?. I can only imagine.
      Always remember that God has you in the palm of His hand & by the Holy Spirit, He has assigned people to pray for you & push you you through all this crap! You must have quite the call on your life & you Will do much destruction in the kingdom of darkness! Thank you for hanging on! Much love & respect to you my sister♥️

    2. Hi Valerie. I know you don’t know me but I would like to know you if that is alright. I was extremely grieved when I read your story. I don’t really know what to say but I want to help if I can. Please remember that Jesus loves you and I would love to show you his love in real life. You can email me or call me whichever you prefer. My phone number is 580-430-1929.

    3. Hello 🙂 I hate to hear this and i’m going to keep you in my prayers
      Satan likes to throw you problems but it is God who allowed it.
      If God allowed it then it is for your good. This may be a rough season but don’t give up yet I’ve heard God has a great future for you 🙂
      Sometimes have you really leaned in to hear what it was your family has told you or the pastor. It could be God’s word for you. Ask God personally for his wisdom at the end of the day the people around you don’t know what God’s plan is for your life but he could be using them but you have to realize it. You are at the right season at the right time keep honoring God and doing your best. Also I been watching church from home try watching a new church I watch a few they really help elevation church and Joel Osteen Prisilla shier. Yes when you donate God will bless you but you have free will. No one controls you you are running your own race stay strong.

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