Practicing Radical [Self] Reliance: Self care for former Christian Scientists (and for life in general)

With the holiday season upon us, we are sharing some of our favorite self-care techniques. Self-care is often a difficult concept for former Christian Scientists, and it is an on-going process.

If you feel things are really bad:

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Lifeline Crisis Chat:

Please. Use them. We need you.


  • Understand your body. Get enough sleep and drink plenty of water.
  • Be comfortable: don’t overeat, eat healthy, balanced meals.
  • Wear clothes that feel good, especially underwear. Go braless if it makes you feel better in your own skin, or find the best fitting bra that you can – a good bra is worth its weight in gold.
  • Medicate appropriately. Address pain with medical professionals and be kind to your body.
  • Know what your “baseline” feeling/mood is. Notice when it changes, by be patient and kind with yourself.
  • Knowing when to ask for help. Knowing when to seek professional help i.e. a doctor, therapist, psychologist, friend, family member, etc.
  • Therapy and counseling options may be helpful. When in doubt, “treat yourself like you are someone you love.”
  • Accept that you are human and mistakes will happen.
  • Accept emotions rather than fighting them, even if you don’t know where the emotions are coming from.
  • Know that it is OK to be sad, angry, depressed. These are real human emotions. You are a real human. Don’t beat yourself up for having them.
  • Accept that you are human and you have a physical, material body. Embracing sensuality is neither gendered nor an indulgence, it is part of the human experience. Touch is one of the most powerful sensations that we have: explore it and own it.
  • Do something that stimulates your body and/or brain:
  • Exercise: biking, pilates, walking, yoga, meditation, journaling, writing.
  • Do something that grounds you:
  • Keep track of your moods, pet your cat/dog/horse/chicken. Craft, garden, paint.

Be in control:

  • Have your own bank account.
  • Know how much money you have, where it comes from, where it goes.
  • Use a budgeting tool to understand your spending habits (
  • Say “no” when you need to. You don’t need an excuse.
  • Enforce your boundaries.
  • Reserve one or two nights a week for yourself, adjust as needed.

Know that when you start establishing boundaries, you may initially get some “backlash” from those who are used to running over you. Hold your ground, boundaries are very important for your well being. The more you say “no” to things, the better you will get at it. It’s ok to say “yes” to things that you do have time and energy for, and saying “no” to the rest will help you find that balance!

Be patient with yourself and others as your perspectives change: the morals you were brought up with may be arbitrary and others may have different values, so try to keep an open mind and not be critical of others. If it doesn’t affect you/others, don’t make it your drama. Own your feelings and examine what makes you uncomfortable. Don’t be afraid to change your views based on your new understanding of life.


Links some people have found helpful:

PLEASE: You can google “DBT Please” for more. These are for regular maintenance.

Distress Tolerance: These are for when you are overwhelmed in the moment. Different things you can do when in an emergency. Google “DBT Distress Tolerance” for more.


What do you find helpful? Let us know in the comments! 

6 Replies to “Practicing Radical [Self] Reliance: Self care for former Christian Scientists (and for life in general)”

  1. Thank you so much for these!! Wow! Great tips! I hope that a lot of people find resource, and that it helps a lot of people!

  2. I got the crabby, critical kind of CS mother. I’m sure there are sweet, loving ones out there. We didn’t have those at our church. Anyway, I keep a tote bag, ever at the ready, that contains books, and magazine articles about how to care for and comfort yourself when you have to deal with a really difficult mother. I have a copy of God’s Perfect Child and FatherMotherGod in there, too. The reading materials make me feel less alone, and have practical advice in them, too.

  3. Some of the articles are not available online anymore, but here are some that are:
    I have Out Came the Sun by Mariel Hemingway, because in my family there is a link between CS and mental illness, and Understanding the Borderline Mother by Christine Ann Lawson, which contains this quote from page 281, “The antidote for the exposure to malignant denigration is to surround oneself with goodness, light, and love. Adult children must counteract the effect of the Witch’s verbal venom by self-soothing, caressing the spirit, holding the self gently in the light, bathing the self in the friendship of those who love the real self, with the response of a loving dog or cat, by the warmth of one’s own fireplace, a cup of tea, or a warm bath.”

  4. Jane:

    Thank you for your post. I, too, had a very difficult life with an overbearing, dominating, Christian Science-spouting mother. In a unique kind of twist, because she resented me, she feigned concern, while at the same time subtly using C.S. as cover to work against me. Talk about a nightmare. I actually made a two part posting about it several months ago over at the Emerging Gently site, so I’ll leave it at that. But I now realize that my mother had serious mental issues, and that the religion just made her more unhinged.

    Thank you for reminding me of the book I had really wanted to get…”Understanding the Borderline Mother” by Christine Ann Lawson. I had been planning to purchase it, and then was distracted by other things, apparently…

    I remember when “God’s Perfect Child” came out. I first read about it in the book review section of the Los Angeles Sunday Times. I was so intrigued by the review, I bought the book that evening. And then I just drank it in, you might say. So therapeutic. So thoroughly well written, as well as researched. Just the perfect book for anyone who was either in C.S, or thinking about leaving it, or already out. Like you, I have always kept “God’s Perfect Child” nearby.

    And “fathermothergod” was a good read, as well. What that family went through, because of their father’s stubbornly refusing to get help for the mother, until it was too late. So sad.

    Again, thank you for reminding me of the book. All the best.

  5. Thanks, Chris. I’ve read your posts. Thank you for sharing your story, and contributing to the healing that goes on here.

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