We've all experienced pain. From the common cold or strained muscle, to chronic illness. While pain varies in severity and frequency, one thing we can agree on is that physical pain takes a toll on our emotional health. The challenge is, this toll can easily create a dangerous cycle of physical pain, anxiety/depression/stress, and more physical pain associated with those emotional stressors. So, how do we interrupt the cycle in simple ways that have lasting benefits?
feed your spirit.
1. Pray. Prayer is simply communication with God. Jesus gave us an example as to how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13 [NIV]
“This, then, is how you should pray:
God's Word also reveals in Romans 8:26&27 that the Holy Spirit helps us when we aren't sure what to pray:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
2. Read or listen to God's Word. As often as you can, get God's truth inside of you! Stream the Bible from Biblegateway.com, read a Psalm or Proverb first thing in the morning, place verses around your home or bed to read throughout the day, ask a loved one to read to you, have your child practice reading the Bible out loud.
3. Connect with others. In person is wonderful - and often refreshing - but I realize this isn't always possible. Connect in whatever way you can in the season you are in - via text message, phone call, or social media. Don't isolate yourself in your pain, but be intentional about connecting with others.
nourish your body.
4. Rest. I fully realize some seasons make resting difficult. Newborns, foster or adoption placements, hospital stays - all make resting a challenge. But as someone who has experienced all of the above, I can say with certainty the seasons which make resting most challenging are the seasons in which we need it most! Whether it's a couple moments in the middle of the afternoon, implementing a Sabbath day into your week, or asking for help with a particular task - do not underestimate the need to rest and get proper sleep!
5. Focus on your gut. Not shrinking it, not criticizing it, but healing it. In my previous post, I addressed the beginning of my journey to wellness. It is absolutely amazing how many other physical symptoms and conditions are directly connected to the health of our gut! From the mircobiome to the absorption of critical nutrients, our gut plays a major role in our overall health. This video does a fabulous job explaining the microbiome and it's importance to our overall well-being!
6. Soak up some sunshine! Get your vitamin D the old fashioned way! Lack of sunshine is clinically proven to increase the likelihood of depression. And vitamin D deficiency is a very common issue for Americans. Spend some time outdoors - or at least near an open window! - every day! (Note: some medicines may require you to be careful about sun exposure.)
7. Move around! As much as possible, move around. Use wisdom, and heed doctor's instructions, but know that in general, the more you move, the better you'll feel! Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park a little further out, take a family walk, do some light stretching, or have a dance party with the kids! Listen to your body, and don't push yourself to the point of pain or exhaustion, but be intentional about getting more movement into your day!
encourage your emotions.
8. Be intentional about choosing joy. I have an entire post on this, and truly it's something I am passionate about. Circumstances can make choosing joy a challenge, but it is beneficial for our mind, body, and spirit! The JOY of the Lord is our strength, and in times of weakness, remembering this can empower us to choose joy!
9. Practice an attitude of gratitude. Make a list of what you are grateful for today. This might be easier said than done, but I challenge you, that if you woke up this morning, living in an area with the ability to get on the internet and read this post, there is something to be grateful for!
10. Enjoy your people. Turn off your screens and devices, let the housework wait - and give your full attention to your loved ones. Sit and read with your children. Have a cup of tea with your husband. Ask a friend to come over for a chat. Physical pain can be exhausting and leave all your waking moments to managing the things around you --- which means in these times, we have to be intentional about prioritizing our priorities.
why you're worth it.
As a homeschooling, work-from-home, special needs mom of 6, I understand busy. I know how exhausting waking up tired and collapsing in bed completely drained can be. I have battled health issues, and dealt with chronic shoulder pain while juggling the demands of life. All too often I have NOT incorporated the 10 tips above, and seen the negative effects it has on not only me, but on my family.
Because of God's Word, I know that:
I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14)
God knows my needs even before I ask (Matthew 6:8)
Jesus came to give us life, and life abundantly (John 10:10)
I am a joint heir with Christ (Romans 8:17)
He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)
Because of these truths, I can rest assured that I am worth taking the time to break the physical-emotional pain cycle --- and so can you!
Is there anything you would add to these tips? How do you break the cycle? Is there anything I can lift up in prayer for you this week?
Here you will find the musings of a homeschooling, work from home, adoptive Momma of 7! Adventures in faith, family, adoption, and training up a tribe to follow hard after Jesus are spilled into these posts --- most often written with a cup of coffee in hand. I hope you'll stick around a while and find something - more likely SOMEONE! - that brings you hope!
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