In Recovery Part 1, we learned the standard definitions for the word “recovery” along with my made up definition (see below). I promised to share with you why recovery is so critical for a person who falls into my definition category. It’s personal because this is exactly the kind of recovery I am experiencing right now.
“I am in recovery. No, I haven’t had surgery, been a victim of a break-in or lost anything of value, nor have I given up an addiction of any kind recently. Therefore, my situation called for a new definition of the word-recovery.”
“RECOVERY – What happens when your mind, body, and soul have been under a exorbitant amount of stress for extended periods of time with little or no break. Then, life begins to settle down, you decide to take control of the chaos, allowing yourself to say “no”, and claiming time to enter into a state of getting your mind, body, and soul back in balance and healthy.
A person who has been through a lot of turmoil for an extended period of time, experiences physical changes. I know firsthand. During times of extreme stress in my life, I lost weight due to no appetite and thus did not eat. I discovered the putrid smell of stress sweat which also contributed to weight loss. I quit exercising and lost muscle tone but at a higher rate than if I’d only just stopped going to gym. When a body is physically under stress, it runs on a higher level of adrenaline and forgets how to effectively manage the peaks and valleys. The body sweats, burns fat, and eats muscle. Inflammation in the body also increases. Headaches come more often which usually include shoulder and neck pain. Eventually the pain moves into the back and can also extend to arms and legs. My pain usually settled in my shoulders and lower back. It is literally like your body physically deteriorates. Does that sound like someone who may need time to recover in order to “go through a process to restore health”?What about the mental toil a mind goes through when under duress for a long time? The stress requires continued deep thinking while making life-changing decisions. A person filling multiple roles like liaison, mediator, and advocate while being emotionally stable with no break, will eventually cause a mind to break. Confidence is diminished and confusion causes the mind to question everything that it knows to be right. Does that sound like someone who may need time to recover?
Last but not least, a person’s soul perhaps suffers the most when the mind and body are broken, lost, and weary. When my soul became weary, it encompassed everything. The soul is the residence of optimism and pessimism. It houses dreams, wishes, and hopes. When it becomes weary, pessimism takes root, negativity chokes out the positive, and hopelessness begins to reign. Once hope is gone, nothing, and I mean NOTHING else matters. This is the most dangerous state of mind if not treated to a recovery period. When a soul is void of hope, making decisions and future plans becomes an overwhelming task of which feels unnecessary. A weary soul loses motivation and is vulnerable to bad judgement, temptation, and poor choices. Does that sound like someone who may need time to recover?
Hebrews 4: 9-11 “Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
If you or someone you know needs recovery (for whatever reason), encourage them to take the time, get into the process, and allow time to heal the body, mind, and soul. During this “time” there are many things in which a person may turn to for help. Check out my top 7 list:
Before you do anything, call on the name of the Lord. He’s always awake, always listening, and always understands.
Psalm 61:1-4b “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”
- Read. Escaping into a book from your favorite author, allows you body to rest and your mind to focus on something unrelated to the trauma in which you’ve been involved.
- Listen to music. Research shows that music has an effect on our thoughts and mood. Pick uplifting, Christian music or fun, happy songs that make you smile.
- Choose an activity. I didn’t say exercise :). That word often times seems too intimidating with perceived hours of intensive workouts at a gym. I am simply saying – MOVE! Get up and walk, stretch, or even dance. When we are active, our body releases happy juice that helps us feel better physically and improves our mood.
- Establish accountability. If you aren’t strong enough to allow yourself the recovery time, enlist a close family member or friend who will remind you that it’s ok to do the things your body, soul, and mind need in order to recover. It may mean that they have to step in and babysit, grocery shop, or schedule appts. Whatever it takes is what they should be willing to do.
- Nurture your body. It is highly likely that when a person needs recovery, they are either eating too much or too little. Due to the physical demands the stress places on our body, it needs good nutrition now more than ever. Do your best to cut back on junk food, increase your fluid intake, and take supplements to support your body in healing itself.
- Say no. Yes, that’s right. It’s ok. In fact, it is essential to be selfish with your time and extra commitments. Take care of mission critical tasks and close family members. Everything else must take a backseat until recovery is complete.
- Pray. BUT, if you can’t due to overwhelming weariness (and this is a very real thing), just ask others to pray for you. Those who love us and see us suffering want to do what they can to help. Let them.
Have you been there? Are you in recovery now? Do you desperately need to recover from a series of traumatic events in your life? Start today. You will never regret taking the first step to enter the process of getting your life, health, perspective, and motivation back.
Isaiah 40:28-31 “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”