Care | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
January 2019


By Tinashe Tembo

By Tinashe Timbo

Youth are valuable in the socioeconomic development of every community. They offer much needed labor and innovation. Their contributions predict the future of the community. As a result, the health of youth is an asset for community development. For development to occur, youth need to be healthy not only physically but also psychologically, socially, and spiritually. This calls for heavy social and spiritual investment by youth which mainly relies on their willingness to participate in community development and their fitness. As youth, we need to maintain the highest degree of self-care if we are to make valuable contributions in our communities and lives.

Self-care refers to actions aimed at maintaining (or improving) the state of our physical, mental, and social well-being. It involves an individual taking care of him or herself through the prevention of risky behaviors and avoiding exposure to harmful practices. As Christians, we are stewards of what God gave us- including our bodies. Thus, we need to be good stewards by taking good care of ourselves. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So, glorify God in your body.” Self-care although not one of the 10 commandments, is a commandment nonetheless.

The physical involves taking care of the body and it includes eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep. Healthy food enables our bodies to have enough nutrients and boost the immune system to fight diseases. Most people no longer focus on the healthy aspect of food but time, cost, and taste. There is a lot to be done in a limited amount of time which forces people to sacrifice eating healthy food. This is detrimental to personal well-being as some of the food we eat results in health problems later. A person needs to take good care of himself or herself for the energy necessary to cause the betterment of communities and families.

Besides eating healthy, getting adequate sleep and exercises is also important. In most cases youth spend the day sitting; be it at work or school, not everyone finds time to exercise. Exercise is of paramount importance because it burns excess calories and keeps our bodies fit. If there is a time we should invest in our health as youth, it is now. Some youth claim that they are exposed to risky behavior because they are idle or bored, that time can be used productively to exercise.

Being aware of one’s emotions is another way to practice self-care as this protects an individual from emotional exploitation. This can also be complemented by spiritual care where by as an individual you practice your spiritual beliefs notably through prayers and meditation. This practice is important when one is emotionally unstable, spiritual activities help people overcome various pressures.

How can you help your friends and family to live a healthy life that honors God’s commandment to take care of our physical bodies?

Tinashe Tembo is a Global Mission Fellow with the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, serving in Kenya. Tinashe is from Norton, in the Mashonaland West Province of Zimbabwe, where he is a member of the United Methodist Norton Circuit of the Zimbabwe West Annual Conference. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree (with honors) in social work from the Bindura University of Science Education in Bindura. He has worked for the Renewed Hope Foundation, Voluntary Services Overseas, and Gershom Ministries International Trust.