EP 119: Coping Strategies

Diana WinklerHealth

We are talking about healthy coping strategies (that are not binge shopping, overeating or drinking too much) for when you are healing. I talk about several different ideas that you can try that will soothe your nervous system and raise your happy hormones. Give one of these a try!

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Transcript Healthy Coping Strategies

[00:00:00] Welcome to the Wounds of the Faithful Podcast. Brought to you by DSW Ministries. Your host is singer songwriter, speaker and domestic violence advocate, Diana Winkler. She is passionate about helping survivors in the church heal from domestic violence and abuse and trauma. This podcast is not a substitute for professional counseling or qualified medical help.

[00:00:26] Now here is Diana.

[00:00:27] Hey everybody. Welcome to new friends to the podcast and my existing friends. I like hanging out with you guys and providing you some tools, some resources, some interviews, experiences to help you to heal.

[00:00:47] Now we have this week I’m going to go over healthy coping strategies when you’re trying to get through a difficult time [00:01:00] in your life, whether it’s a transition or you’re still with your abuser, you’re in the process of that healing journey and you’re having a tough day.

[00:01:11] And this list I compiled is a list that I use in my Mending, the Soul groups. In fact, I just started my new Mending the Soul Group with three beautiful ladies from all over the world with my facilitator, Jodeen, and we’re very excited to go through this journey with them and healing. So if you want me to, Connect you with a facilitator who’s starting a group in your area or even on Zoom, cuz that’s what I do.

[00:01:47] Please email me diana@dswministries.org and I will find you a group amongst my facilitator friends. And it is free. The [00:02:00] only cost is the books and if you can’t afford the books, we’ll find a way to get you some. Okay? So if you wanna learn more about Mending the Soul,

[00:02:09] go to Mending thesoul.org and find out about this wonderful organization that I’m a part of.

[00:02:17] Before we get started, last two weeks, I’ve had a survey for the podcast. If you guys could please fill it out. If you’ve been a regular listener to the show, help a girl out. It’s just 10 questions. The link is in the show notes.

[00:02:36] It’s stuff how to improve the podcast. What you would improve about the podcast, what would you like me to do this year for you? So fill that out for me please. I appreciate it.

[00:02:51] I also appreciate you guys praying for my husband Brian.

[00:02:57] He had pneumonia after Covid [00:03:00] and it was a rough ride. But he is feeling better. He was doing some light chores around the house and so he’s on the road to recovery. I appreciate those prayers.

[00:03:17] My new job is going great. We went through some training this week.

[00:03:25] They had this excellent training on abuse, neglect, and suicide. How to recognize a patient that is being abused. What are the procedures of reporting this abuse, how to get help for the victim. They actually had training.

[00:03:46] So I’m very grateful for that. It is a hospital and so that is something that needs to be in place. Because half the time, that is the only [00:04:00] way that they get any help that anybody discovers they’ve been abused, is that a medical professional recognizes it.

[00:04:10] So hats off to them. So anyhow, we’re gonna get started with our list.

[00:04:15] Notice none of these things involve shopping, food, alcohol or drugs. Don’t resort to those things to cope because it will not help you in the long run. There’s nothing wrong with shopping. There’s nothing wrong with eating. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink.

[00:04:34] Some drugs or medically prescribed or something that you need. But we don’t want to abuse those things, and that’s what happens when we are in a bad place. We try and look for things to soothe our pain, to numb the pain. And so we want to avoid reacting that way. We want to have healthy things [00:05:00] to get us through our pain in a difficult time in our life.

[00:05:04] Now, some of these suggestions in this list may sound trite or simplistic, but please pick something off of the list and give it a chance. Okay? These have worked for me many times and they have worked for the ladies in my groups. There are a lot here. You don’t have to do everything. I don’t do everything in this list.

[00:05:26] These are in no particular order.

[00:05:29] First one I’m gonna talk about is music. Music is very powerful. It can invoke a variety of emotions and moods, and as a musician, music has been a huge source of comfort to me in the darkest times. When I didn’t wanna go to church, didn’t wanna read the Bible, didn’t wanna pray, music was there to bridge that gap, and the Lord would speak to me through that [00:06:00] music, all kinds of music.

[00:06:01] Surround yourself with music that is positive, that is powerful, joyful, and relaxing. Listening to the music, how does it make you feel? I’m not gonna talk about the right music and the wrong music.

[00:06:17] Pay attention to how the music makes you feel. Does it make you feel anxious? Does it make you feel sad? Does does it trigger certain events in your life. I would avoid those kind of songs or music. When you watch a movie, that’s a perfect example.

[00:06:36] They have certain kinds of music for a horror movie. Now, I don’t watch horror movies. They don’t have happy go-lucky music in a horror movie, so that’s an example of something you probably shouldn’t listen to. Don’t listen to breakup songs when somebody dumped you, that’s not gonna help you. Now, most [00:07:00] Christians would say, okay, the obvious choice is to listen to Christian either. Yeah, that’s a given. I don’t want to negate the value of other types of music.

[00:07:11] Like instrumental music can be really soothing. And yes, secular music can be uplifting, as long as the music is positive. For example, I mean, Kansas and Journey, those are some of my favorite bands. They’re not considered Christian bands. Some of their members are Christians, but for the most part, their music is very positive, uplifting, feel good music.

[00:07:37] So look through your music collection, your Spotify, and make a playlist of positive, uplifting music that you like. your go-to music on a bad day, it will really help you.

[00:07:53] Along the same lines, we just mentioned movies. Funny movies, right? Laughter is [00:08:00] good medicine. If you need a pick me up, watch your favorite comedy movie or favorite comedian.

[00:08:07] It releases those feel good hormones and really lifts your mood. So like I like Jim Gaffigan and I think he’s very funny. And Whose Line Is It Anyway? They’re just a bunch of crack ups, right?

[00:08:23] It never fails to make me laugh. I like Mr. Bean and Johnny English. So funny. Make a list of your favorite movies to watch when you’re having a bad day or a bad period in your life.

[00:08:40] The next one I’m gonna talk about is something I love. Spend some time in nature. Just spending time in nature has a very soothing, calming effect.

[00:08:52] But you don’t have to go to the forest, or hike a mountain. To experience nature. If you’re in the city, [00:09:00] you can visit a beautiful garden. I know most major cities in the world, they have public gardens you can visit. Taking a walk in a park, some beautiful parks.

[00:09:10] What we do here in Phoenix is we don’t really have a huge change of seasons for us to see the snow, we have to go up north. Sometimes the change of scenery like that can really do some great things for your mood and coping with the reality you’re going through right now.

[00:09:30] I recommend whatever you pick, wherever you live, just focus on the sounds and the smells around you and enjoy it. If it’s summertime, take your shoes off. Feel the ground underneath your feet. That’s the technical term for that is grounding, connecting yourself with the earth around you.

[00:09:53] God created this world for us to enjoy and being connected physically to the [00:10:00] earth. That’s just appreciating what’s around you. That’s tuning you in, pushing your problems away just for the time being so you can get those stress hormones down,

[00:10:15] and get those happy hormones up. Right? And I didn’t mention the beach, sorry to you, beach lovers. I don’t enjoy the beach, I’d rather go into a pool or a lake, but if that’s something you enjoy, walking along the beach, putting your toes in the sand, enjoy that, going in the ocean water with the waves crashing along, your back body surfing.

[00:10:46] Gardening is a great way to get outside. I have a vegetable garden and I’m just getting into planting roses. [00:11:00] I have killed every Rose Bush that I’ve ever had, but I’m going to try this year since I’ve learned a lot from gardening vegetables, so wish me a luck. I love being outside, except in the middle of the 110 degrees summer, I have to get up very early to get outside and play in the dirt.

[00:11:28] Even if you wanna grow like herbs, like parsley, or chives or dill, those are very easy to grow. Start there.

[00:11:41] We’re going to the next one on my list, exercise. Now some might be all cringing. It’s just participating in some physical activity. That’s very important to handle stress and exercise gets those endorphins and the [00:12:00] serotonin levels up. That is my go-to on this list is usually exercise because it clears your head.

[00:12:07] The key is finding something that you enjoy doing. It doesn’t have to be as strenuous workout like CrossFit. Okay? It’s something simple. Taking a 30 minute walk, riding a bicycle with your kids, going swimming. Roller skating, playing ball and catch with your kids. Maybe it’s a sport that you enjoy.

[00:12:29] Try a group class. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to do exercise when you’re doing with somebody else that is going to hold you accountable. Dancing to music in your living room. You got a two-fold benefit there. You got the music and you’ve got the exercise. You can close the drapes.

[00:12:49] My choice of exercise is usually martial arts once a week. I got a cheap elliptical off [00:13:00] of Craigslist, it was maybe a hundred bucks.

[00:13:04] And so I can get a little exercise when the weather’s bad and not worry about the pain in my feet. I also do stretching on my yoga mat and I have some free weights. Hey, you can get some dumbbells and while you’re watching tv, just do some squats with your dumbbells or bicep curls.

[00:13:28] Be sure to like watch YouTube or something to get the proper form for lifting weights so you don’t hurt yourself. And that’s an easy way to get some exercise in.

[00:13:40] It’s just getting into the habit of exercise, getting into the habit of moving. Just get started 15 minutes and you can increase the time by five minutes as you get stronger. So just get started. Okay?

[00:13:59] [00:14:00] And the next one on my list is pretty obvious. Call your friends and I mean, call them on the phone and have a conversation with them. Not texting or Facebook, but if that’s all you have, that’s better than nothing. It’s totally different hearing somebody’s voice on the phone. And I remember losing my job the day that happened and I needed to talk to somebody.

[00:14:25] Yes, my husband was in the house with me, but first person I told was my mom. And then I told my Bible study leader Kelly. And it was so soothing to have them on the phone and I could hear their voice and it was so, so comforting to be able to talk to somebody and get that out. And you’re, maybe you’re saying, oh, I don’t have any friends, I don’t have anybody to talk to.

[00:14:51] I know you’re probably not gonna like my answer, you need to make some friends, show yourself friendly. And I know it’s hard to trust people and spill [00:15:00] your guts, but there are a lot of groups out there that are for people just like you, that have gone through abuse and trauma.

[00:15:08] And you can make friends with them, exchange phone numbers. I tell this to my Mending Soul group. Call the other people in your group. You guys know what you’re all going through and be a support to each other. You are all invited to contact me if you need somebody to talk to. I’m not gonna charge you any money.

[00:15:28] This isn’t a sales pitch, but if you want, we can do a Zoom or talk on the phone. If you don’t have any friends that you can call. But usually most of you probably have somebody that you can chat with. Somebody’s safe, pick somebody safe that you can trust. Don’t just pick anybody.

[00:15:48] Let’s move on to the next one. Get some pampering, and we’re the last people to take care of ourselves, especially if you’re a woman. Your tendency is to take care [00:16:00] of everybody else’s needs instead of, giving yourself some kind of care, some kind of self care. That is taking a bubble bath, getting a massage, a new hairstyle, a manicure, a pedicure. Groupon has some great coupons.

[00:16:18] You need to take care of yourself. You are worth it. You do deserve it. And you’re telling me, well, I have kids or I don’t have money to pay for any of those things. Here’s what I suggest. Finding those friends, finding those other mothers do this for each other.

[00:16:38] Maybe your your friend will babysit your kids while you go and get a massage. You can have each other over, give each other manicures and pedicures. Doing each other’s makeup that’s fun.

[00:16:50] Just sitting and having a cup of tea. Give somebody a shoulder rub or a basic back rub if you’re comfortable with that sort of thing. You don’t have to [00:17:00] be a professional masseuse to do that or to do somebody’s hair. Hey, let’s do each other’s hair, just like

[00:17:06] slumber parties.

[00:17:07] One thing that’s fun is those painting and and snack. We painted our portrait of our dogs and I have some basic painting skills, but I’m not a painter.

[00:17:19] But that was so much fun to create something like that off of a picture of our pet. And we had snacks and we laughed and giggled and we have fun. So get some something that would pamper you. Find somebody to watch your kids. Take turns so you guys can take care of your physical needs.

[00:17:40] And that transitions into taking a nap.

[00:17:44] it sounds so selfish, doesn’t it? But it’s not. I am a very much a type A personality and I have a very tight, crazy schedule and I have learned the hard way, especially after I had covid. I have to give [00:18:00] myself permission to take a nap when I need it. I’m sitting there on the couch at seven o’clock at night and I’m dozing off on the couch, and the old me would say, no, I have to wake up and have all this stuff to do.

[00:18:13] And your body’s trying to tell you something. You need a nap. Whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour, whatever, just take the nap. Your body requires a certain amount of sleep. For most of us, we need eight hours of sleep. If you’re like me, if you don’t get that full night’s sleep, then I’m cranky. I can’t think clearly when I’m tired, so just lay down for a few minutes.

[00:18:39] For me, it means doing this during my lunch break. For me, it means doing this during my lunch. It might mean going into your car for some peace and quiet. The only quiet place is in their car. Gonna go sit in the car and rest.

[00:18:56] The next thing on my list is: do a [00:19:00] news and social media fast. This sounds pretty radical because our society revolves around this stuff. Negative news on TV and the snarky, toxic comments from Facebook are enough to put anyone over the edge, really puts you in a bad mood. Sometimes what goes on with social media fuels the problems that we have.

[00:19:27] Clean up your friend’s list on there. If they’re not a positive poster on Facebook, take them outta your newsfeed and they’re settings on Facebook for that. No one will know that you can’t see their posts on your page.

[00:19:45] Turn off the notifications on your phone so you don’t see every single post that somebody replies to. Just answer your social media once or twice a day.[00:20:00] [00:20:00] You don’t have to see everything. You don’t have to read everything on your newsfeed or Twitter feed. Twitter, I think is just as bad as Facebook, if not worse.

[00:20:17] No, you don’t need to see everything that your toxic friend or relative does and says. So I encourage you, I challenge you to try it because it is liberating when that phone is not the center of your life. I’m not saying throw the phone away, just there are settings on your phone that will give you more control over social media.

[00:20:43] You don’t have to be on it every moment of the day cuz that will affect your moods and your mental health. Try it.

[00:20:52] So the activities I’m gonna talk about next get a lot of negative talk in the church [00:21:00] as a non-Christian religion. I’m talking about yoga and meditation and it is true that its origins are from an Eastern religion, but we don’t have to practice the religious part in order to receive the benefits from yoga or meditation.

[00:21:19] Hatha Yoga teaches you to focus on stretching, breathing, and relaxation, which has been proven to reduce stress and anxiety. So all of the yoga poses, if you take away the fancy names of the yoga poses, are things that you did in physical education class, in grade school and high school.

[00:21:45] Okay? So, they have one touching your toes. That’s a yoga pose. You sitting on the ground with your legs spread out to the sides, that’s a yoga pose. They have it with you sitting on the floor with your feet [00:22:00] together in front of you. That’s a yoga pose, touching your toes. You laying on your back with your hands up, pretending like you’re asleep.

[00:22:07] That’s corpse pose. So it’s not that big of a deal to do those poses.

[00:22:13] It’s the same thing with martial arts. I have friends that are like, well, martial arts, is Middle Eastern religion. Well, it’s a hundred percent possible to do the martial arts without the religion. I can testify to that. Now my instructors, most of them were Christians, so that really helps.

[00:22:37] A front punch or a front kick has nothing to do with any religion. Now, meditation, you have to be careful because you want to meditate on the word of God. I’m gonna suggest that if you try any meditation, they tell you to meditate and focus on different body [00:23:00] parts. Focus on being present in the moment.

[00:23:03] Focus on your breathing. There’s nothing wrong with that. That really calms your nervous system down to do that. Get rid of all the junk outside of the room and focus on your breathing. Focus on how does your body feel your heartbeat. and you can also meditate on your favorite scriptures, like Psalms or Proverbs or Philippians or something that you want to focus on for the day.

[00:23:34] So try a beginner class. If you’re not familiar with it, there are modifications to some of the challenging postures, so anyone can do it. You can look on YouTube for free videos, the public library. Borrow a DVD from a friend. I’ve used Lilias Folan videos from [00:24:00] public television for years. I absolutely loved her.

[00:24:03] I don’t know if she’s still around, but she was very calming in her voice and she did very simple yoga poses and she’d encourage you to listen to your body and don’t push too hard.

[00:24:16] Tai chi is something else that’s really popular. You’ll see people doing the tai chi in the park, and they’re very flowing, graceful moves. They’re usually in public parks or recreational centers and they focus on their breath. Kind of like yoga does. You inhale on this move and you exhale on the other move, and it does look easy and it looks like, okay, this is for grandmas.

[00:24:46] I’ve done Tai Chi, very basic Tai chi. But it’s very low impact, easy on the joints. Join a group or get a D V D or streaming at home. I’ve [00:25:00] done David Caradine from Kung Fu. He had a D V D that he used to do Tai chi routines. And by the time I was done, I felt really good and surprisingly my heart rate was up a little bit because it is considered exercise, but I felt very relaxed.

[00:25:18] And so give that a try if that seems interesting to you.

[00:25:23] Animals, animals are huge. I am such an animal lover that I had wished that I had gone to school for veterinarian medicine instead of pharmacy.

[00:25:39] But I do love animals and there are ways that I can be around animals without going back to school.

[00:25:45] You can of course, adopt a furry friend at your local shelter. Just petting a dog or cat, that, that is so soothing and they just offer unconditional love that animals [00:26:00] are healers.

[00:26:01] We have the neighborhood cat and she’s very attached to us. We feed her on the porch and we pet her, and she purs and it’s really nice. We’re sitting out there and get some fresh air and get some kitty love And right now that’s what we have is our white Siamese.

[00:26:23] But if you can’t have a dog or a cat or another animal, go and volunteer. Babysit your friend’s dogs for the weekend if they’re going out of town.

[00:26:33] It’s an known fact that, being around a pet lowers your blood pressure and does evoke those positive hormones, gets those endorphins going. You just feel better being around pets. Now I understand it takes a lot of work to take care of an animal. If you can’t legitimately take care of an animal don’t adopt animal..

[00:26:57] you don’t have money to buy [00:27:00] the animal food and provide medical care for the animal and spend time with it, exercise and give it affection. Not really fair to the dog or the cat or the hamster or whatever.

[00:27:14] Right after my dog died, I started going and just sitting at the dog park. They probably thought I was from Mars. I’d go to the local dog park and just sit on the bench and I would just watch the dogs play and I would talk to some of the owners. I I just needed to be around animals right now. And they’re like, yeah, I understand that.

[00:27:43] So animals are super valuable. The Lord gave us animals and pets to help us in those trying times. Could be any kind of animal. I love turtles, man. Were turtles in the lake by my work [00:28:00] every time I went out on my break. Or lunch, I’d go and visit the turtles and that was the highlight of my day.

[00:28:06] I work at a hospital and so I passed this woman with a Labradoodle. It was a therapy dog and his name was Huck. And I asked the handler if I could say hi to the dog. Always asked permission. And Hutch sat down and I came up to him and he literally hugged me. He like leaned into my legs, which is what my my former dog used to do. He is looking at me and I’m just talking to him like, oh, what a good dog.

[00:28:40] You’re so cuddly and sweet. And I said to the owner, I said, thank you for letting me pet Huck. He is just a highlight of my day.

[00:28:50] I suggest.

[00:28:52] Make a list of all of your blessings and this is hard to do, and you know that song, [00:29:00] count your blessings. Name them one by one. It is hard to do.

[00:29:04] This is hard to do when all you notice in your life is negative things. I am really guilty of that myself. I am not a naturally positive thinker. I have to work on it to choose to think about positive things, and I am a realist. and some, sometimes I can get on that negative thinking and the negative mindset and I just recognize it for what it is.

[00:29:33] Okay, I’m in a funk today, but I’m gonna go look for something today that’s positive, that can encourage me. So make a list of blessings. Either put it on your phone, notepad, or carry around a piece of paper, whatever. No matter how small, try and list something good or positive. Oh wow. I thought I was [00:30:00] out of milk for cereal this morning, but I open the refrigerator and look, there’s some milk.

[00:30:07] Yes, that sounds very simple and trite, but when you start looking at small things, Oh, I found some change in the couch cushions today. Who doesn’t love that? The little things lead up to big things, thank you, Lord, that the traffic was good today on the way to work, I found a good parking spot close to the building.

[00:30:29] That’s a big deal for me because I now have to park pretty far away from the building in the employee parking lot. So finding that closer parking space is a great find, a great blessing for me. Yeah, write the blessings down. Big or small. My kid got an A. My husband got a raise. I’m feeling good today. That’s a big deal. Health wise, Brian and I both have health issues, and most of the time [00:31:00] we feel pretty crummy, but there are definitely days when, oh, I feel pretty good today.

[00:31:06] I think I’ll be able to do some things around the house and I’m gonna write that down. And at the end of the month, or end of six months or a year or a bad day, you can come back and read the list and it’s gonna encourage you. It’s gonna get you into that habit of getting outta that funk.

[00:31:30] Acknowledge the funk, acknowledge that this is a crummy day. There’s nothing wrong with that. We’re not gonna do toxic positivity where you’re gonna ignore the bad things that are happening. I’m not like that at all. I’m gonna acknowledge, Hey, I’m having a really crappy day. I’d rather just go back to bed, but I’m gonna choose to get outta bed and I’m gonna choose to find something good about today and dwell on that.

[00:31:59] [00:32:00] So, I don’t know if you guys are big readers, but I love to read biographies of people that I admire. Sometimes in our struggles we forget that someone else has had some major traumatic struggles and they’ve survived, even flourished against all odds. when you read those stories, they really inspire that, Hey, yeah, I’ve got some really bad things going on in my life, if I persevere and I just keep moving forward, then you know something good’s gonna come out of this.

[00:32:39] My favorite people I like to read about, the biographies on my shelf, are Harriet Tubman, William Wilberforce. Now, if you don’t know who he is, he ended the slave trade in the UK. Now Fred Rogers, we know who Mr. Rogers is, right? [00:33:00] John Merrick, if you don’t know him, he is also known as the elephant man.

[00:33:06] You should read his book. It is incredible. Wonderful man. Keith Green, he was a singer and a preacher back in the seventies and eighties. Died in a plane crash, but he had huge influence on me in my Christian walk. I loved reading about Mother Teresa, Abe Lincoln, Jonathan Livingston.

[00:33:27] He was a Protestant missionary . Suffered greatly, but he really was the first evangelist in China for 40 years, and his ideas on mission organization were also very important in the church.

[00:33:41] I’ve read his book, Jeremiah Johnson, I believe he was a missionary to Burma, and this was before Christianity came to those countries. They were one of the first people. Anyway. I’m sure there are people that you admire that you’d like to learn more about, [00:34:00] maybe have been victorious and they have a successful life, but you know that they’ve had some trials growing up.

[00:34:10] Go and read their biography, find somebody, and then you’ll start seeing your problems as either, I need to be thankful for, what I have, be thankful for where I live or my home, or that inspires me to keep going. Or if they can do it, I can do it. We love stories here.

[00:34:32] That’s why I have interviews on the podcast. so you can hear other people’s stories, somebody you can relate to. So this week pick somebody. If you don’t like to read, you’re not a reader. Watch a documentary on the tv. Channel eight or Netflix or Hulu. They got a ton of documentaries on people’s lives.

[00:34:55] So that’s one thing I recommend.

[00:34:58] Next one is journal your [00:35:00] feelings. We do lots of journaling, in Mending the soul, lots of drawing. Of course have a safe place to store the journal either electronic or physical. Kind of a general or diary you wanna make sure that nobody else is reading it if you’re putting private things in there.

[00:35:18] But it’s very powerful to get that stuff out or maybe look back on where you’ve been the last few years. Go back and see, oh, look how far I’ve come.

[00:35:30] Oh, but journaling is just writing down what happened to you today? How are you feeling? What your goals are? Anything you want. I like paper and I like writing utensils. I’m not really big on being on a computer. I have to do it for work and for stuff like the podcast, but I enjoy physically writing something.

[00:35:55] It’s very therapeutic. I like the paper of a [00:36:00] book. I do have probably a couple thousand eBooks, but the ones that I actually read are my paper books because it’s in my hands. It’s on the shelf. I can see it, I can put ’em bookmark in it, I can put it on my nightstand and I’ll see it. That’s just my thing.

[00:36:18] You probably like eBooks. But anyway, get a journal, electronic journal, a paper journal, book journal. Pick something fun that you’re gonna do, start journaling every day before bed or when you get up in the morning before the noise starts. Write some thoughts in your journal.

[00:36:39] I want to talk about doing something creative.

[00:36:43] We kind of already started talking about this a little bit, and you say, I’m not creative. I bet if we sat down and talked that I could find something that you are very creative at. It’s not always painting or[00:37:00] drawing or music. There are so many things that you can be creative at. Some people are very creative with solutions.

[00:37:12] You are fixing a puzzle. You are solving a problem. You are coming up with out of the ordinary box of solutions. That’s creativity. You’ve got poetry, you have drawing, you have painting, woodworking. My husband loves to do woodworking.

[00:37:35] Hasn’t been feeling well enough to do that. But sewing, I love to sew. Quilting. I’ve done a few quilts. That’s fun. If you can stitch a straight line at a quarter inch seam, you can do a quilt. And they have some really cool fabrics that you wouldn’t believe that you could make any kind of quilt you [00:38:00] want.

[00:38:00] I’ve already mentioned gardening. Get a pot with some potting soil and grow a flower, grow some herbs, a cactus, something.

[00:38:11] Now. Visualization is a tool that I’d like to talk about. I use this technique when I get those racing crazy thoughts in the middle of the night. It’s usually three o’clock in the morning. I wake up and, it’s like the darkness is closing in on me, or all those negative thoughts that I push down during the day, they’re coming back up and it’s really hard to go back to sleep.

[00:38:39] And what I’ve learned is one of the tools in my toolbox is I have to replace the negative, the fearful with something joyful and happy and positive.

[00:38:54] So what I do with the visualization is go to [00:39:00] a place that I enjoy. It could be a real place that you’ve been to or a place you’d like to go. I’m sure you’ve seen TV shows or travel places that you would like to go.

[00:39:14] It can even be a fictional place,

[00:39:17] like a cartoon or a children’s movie.

[00:39:21] The point is that the place evokes happy, joyful thoughts, the place where you want to be. So to do the visit, get something to drink here.

[00:39:33] So to do the visualization, you’re gonna close your eyes and observe around you the place where you are. What is the weather like? What does it smell like? What kind of sounds do you hear? Look down. What are you wearing on the ground? What does it feel like? If you are eating something, what does it taste like?

[00:39:57] This is a very calming [00:40:00] exercise and will lower your anxiety and your heart rate. Don’t forget to breathe. So let’s say for example, My place is Giverney, France. That’s Claude Monet’s house where all of his gardens are. If you’ve seen the lake with the lily pads and the green bridge going over the lake, that is Giverney.

[00:40:25] And I’ve been there twice. It’s like heaven on earth. I have some pictures actually, that intro on my YouTube channel. Those pictures are from Claude Monet’s yard. And both times that I’ve been there, I am in so much joy. I am so happy to be there. I’m surrounded by beauty. When I do my visualization, the weather is cool, the sun is shining, and the air is crisp.

[00:40:58] The clear day, [00:41:00] it smells like flowers, smells like chickens, roaming the property.

[00:41:07] I hear birds chirping. I hear people walking around admiring the grounds. I hear chickens making clucking sounds. Some places I’m walking on soft grass and other places I’m walking. Mulch or gravel making a crunching sound, and I’m eating something at the cafe.

[00:41:31] I’m having a warm bowl of soup. It’s chicken soup, and I have a French roll sitting next to me, and the soup is warming my body, my insides,

[00:41:46] and it tastes great because everything in France tastes amazing.

[00:41:51] One of my favorite things to do, I like to walk the shops with my husband holding his hand. We sit [00:42:00] down on the park bench. and we admire the flowers, the butterflies, the beans, and we take a sniff of some of the roses and smell their strong scent. And there’s this one shop that I love to visit that has a bubble machine, and I love to stand under the bubble machine and pop the bubbles on our way out of Claude Monet’s place.

[00:42:31] So I know that was probably very detailed. I hope to visit it again soon. I want you to come up with a favorite place and go through those questions and visualize with your eyes closed. And you will be surprised that your body, and this is what they tell me, your body can’t tell the difference whether you’re there or you’re visualizing it.

[00:42:59] [00:43:00] Your nervous system will calm down.

[00:43:01] So I, I don’t want you to think that I put the Bible reading and prayer last on the list, but sometimes we don’t honestly feel like praying or reading our Bibles. I acknowledge that. We need sometimes some other steps to get back to spiritual things Again, the Psalms is a good stepping stone. You don’t know what to read in the Bible, and you’re having a really hard time in your life.

[00:43:31] David went through a lot of trials, depression people were trying to kill him. He had a really difficult life. He was a shepherd boy. That’s tough. He bought a giant he was crowned king when he was very young. He made some really bad choices. Committed some sins. Anyway, he wrote most of the Psalms. There are some other authors in there, but David is [00:44:00] very transparent and honest about his feelings.

[00:44:06] I think that most of us will be able to relate to his lamenting and questioning God in our times. Some really dark times, and some of the psalms can even be your prayers if you want. That’s very biblical.

[00:44:24] and I’m not gonna suggest any because I want you to go in there and find them yourself. Discover those nuggets yourself. And you don’t have to spend hours in the Bible at first. Maybe just five minutes. I love reading the Bible. Now, praying is difficult for me. I’m not a, what you would call a prayer warrior.

[00:44:46] I have to really put some effort into the praying. A Bible study I love to do. I love reading the Bible. It’s exciting to me, but I don’t always have the time to do a lot of Bible reading. And so I’ll[00:45:00] read one page or I’ll read one chapter.

[00:45:03] Let’s start there. Okay. Start there.

[00:45:06] Prayer is just talking to God. You don’t have to be big, lofty prayers. You can use a prayer book. I know some denominations like Presbyterian Methodist Catholic, they have prayer books. So yeah, I, I mentioned the Psalms. You can use a prayer book. You can write a prayer list down, pray for somebody else, or sometimes it’s just sitting there.

[00:45:32] There’s a verse in the Bible. I have to look up the actual verse, but it talks about the Holy Spirit intercedes for when we don’t know what to pray, you can just sit in God’s presence, sit there and sometimes you’re just crying. I’m so tired. God, I’m so miserable. I’m so discouraged.

[00:45:56] You’re just crying your heart out. It doesn’t have to be out loud. [00:46:00] I don’t pray out loud unless I’m with somebody else. Sometimes I don’t know what to say and so I just sit there in God’s presence like he’s sitting next to me and let the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the Godhead, let the Holy Spirit translate your thoughts and your feelings and your groanings.

[00:46:19] And.

[00:46:19] Just takes it to the throne room. The Lord knows what we want to ask for. The Lord knows our hearts. So don’t be discouraged in the prayer process. It is a communication between you and God. It is him communicating to you through His word.

[00:46:41] You can talk about anything you want. It doesn’t have to be formal, you can scream and holler. Hey God, you can ask questions. Look at the Book of Job. People get mad at me when I point out Job. He lost everything and God restored him I think it was sevenfold,

[00:46:58] but he [00:47:00] questioned God. He was, he lost everything. And he’s like, why I did everything you asked. I’m a righteous man. I didn’t deserve this kind of thing. So if you haven’t read the book of Job, I highly encourage you to you suffered quite a bit and I’m not,

[00:47:14] I am not minimizing your pain or your experience. It may be very different from Job’s, maybe very different from mine. They are all legitimate sufferings. But there might be something in Job’s story that you could relate to and could be encouraging to you.

[00:47:30] I’ve got this in my outline. Just say no in big letters. This is something that we all need to do. Sometimes our schedules are so full with well-meaning activities or obligations that we don’t really need to be involved in.

[00:47:49] We don’t have time to do what’s important.

[00:47:51] You don’t have to be the one that makes the cupcakes for the school birthday parties. You don’t have to go to every single activity in your [00:48:00] church. I made that mistake. being in the ministry. Even from college days, I signed up for everything because I was like, so excited and I thought, oh, the more that I do, the more spiritual I am, the more that I’m at church, the more spiritual I am.

[00:48:17] And that isn’t true. I’ve learned that the hard way. You don’t need to get God’s favor by doing all this stuff. He already loves you. He already died for you,

[00:48:28] Now, if you want to do something great, you wanna volunteer for teaching Sunday school, you wanna volunteer for singing in the choir then do that.

[00:48:40] And I know this sounds really hard to do, especially when somebody asks you to do something. And it doesn’t have to be just church, it’s, well, church, in my experience, they would be like asking you to do the children’s nursery because, they’re always shorthanded [00:49:00] and they’ll ask you to do it for the Lord. And I like children, but I have a weak immune system and I can’t really be around children, a lot of children at once. And I used to do the nursery because there was such a great need. and somebody asked me and I used to do the nursery and I was sick all the time because kids,

[00:49:25] they spread a lot of illnesses around. That’s just the way it is. And I had to stop volunteering for the nursery.

[00:49:32] Whatever it is it’s really hard when somebody asks you to do something and your plate is already full and you don’t wanna say no because you don’t wanna hurt the person’s feelings. You want to be helpful, and we make the mistake of saying yes when, we don’t have the energy or the resources to do it well and carry on with your regular responsibilities.

[00:49:57] And it’s, I’m talking to [00:50:00] myself here. I had to learn this the hard way. I am a type A and I schedule every minute of my day and I will shove more stuff in my schedule because I’ve been told, Idle Hands is the Devil’s playground. Redeem the time now because the days are evil.

[00:50:22] All those verses about not wasting time and that’s how you burn yourself out. That’s how you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t have enough time for your family or your kids. There are times that I didn’t have time to take a shower. It’s like, and that’s when I would get sick is I am doing too much.

[00:50:41] I’m not saying no, and I can’t schedule anything else without neglecting somebody that I should be serving. So I’ve had to learn, I have to sit down with a list of things that are important to me, things [00:51:00] that are my priority for me right now, my priority is I have to have a job, so I work a full-time.

[00:51:11] Second is my priority is to my husband to care for him. Make sure he’s healthy, and be a support to him as he’s getting over his illnesses.

[00:51:22] Three, I want to serve in the church, but I pick one thing in the church that I’m going to do, which I’ve decided to do. Mending the soul, that’s where I serve,. Now, my previous churches, I’ve been in the drama club. I’ve been in the choir, or the worship team, I mentioned already the nursery or Sunday school teaching bus captain.

[00:51:43] I did all that stuff, but I’m only picking one thing at church.

[00:51:48] and that’s against my nature.

[00:51:50] Don’t feel guilty about saying no, don’t feel bad. Say I have priorities that I have to keep. [00:52:00] My other priorities is my Bible reading and prayer. And that was a challenge for me to carve out that time because I’m very busy.

[00:52:10] My priority is I have my garden. That’s another full-time job.

[00:52:15] My priority is my family. My parents aren’t getting any younger and spend time with them. Sometimes that’s on a weekend where I have a lot of stuff to do, but I choose to go spend it a few hours with my family. Staying healthy is I have to stay healthy in order to, keep my job and have the energy to, you do all my tasks and I stay healthy. So I don’t bring any more illnesses home. I’m the one who brought Covid back to the house, so I have to [00:53:00] eat right and exercise, get my sleep. I guard my sleep with a vengeance.

[00:53:07] Let me tell you, I guard my sleep religiously. I am in bed the same time every day. Sometimes on the weekend I’ll sleep a couple more extra hours in the morning, but for the most part, I have the same schedule. If I don’t get my sleep, I can’t function,

[00:53:24] so I don’t care what’s going on. 10 o’clock I’m in bed, I’m in bed. I don’t stay up and watch Netflix unless it’s a weekend. I don’t sit there and read a book all night. I can’t.

[00:53:37] So again, don’t feel guilty about saying no. Do not apologize. Do not give a big, lengthy explanation. Just say, I have to keep my priorities straight and I have too much on my plate already.

[00:53:54] And let me say this, your family is your ministry first. I’m not talking about your abusive [00:54:00] family. I’m talking about your, the family that you care about, that

[00:54:03] your kids, your parents, maybe some of your extended family. Your family is your ministry first before you do all of the church stuff. I’ve met too many people that church is more important than the family. The kids are neglected. You’re never home. The kids are in every activity imaginable or you’re carpooling them off to softball practice.

[00:54:32] You don’t have dinner together anymore. That means you are too busy and you’ve got too much on your plate. You need to sit down and again, go through that list. What is important to me and my family? You might have to eliminate some of those things. Does your kid need ballet? and softball and the drama club and whatever.[00:55:00] [00:55:00] No, they don’t

[00:55:01] have your kid pick what is the most important thing to you. It’s ballet class. Okay, well maybe next year you can do softball. How’s that? You wanna do ballet this year? Cuz I only have time to take you to one place. Maybe you don’t have, soccer moms that will trade driving or rotate driving and picking up.

[00:55:21] If you can’t, then unfortunately that’s part of life is kids can’t drive themselves. You don’t have anybody to drive them here, there. It’s gotta be a decision made. Cuz you can’t run yourself ragged. You’ve got four kids and you all have different activities. You gotta have a sit down, okay, there’s only one of me,

[00:55:42] there’s only you and your spouse and you have to work together to come up with a schedule that you can reasonably meet.

[00:55:50] Your family can’t get their needs met if you’re so burned out and frazzled by too many things in the schedule. So that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

[00:55:58] Oh, I wanted [00:56:00] to mention, let me get the scriptures up here. I wanted to mention a Bible verse that I came upon. I was reading it in my devotional this week. Fact, it was this past week and then it came up again in today’s sermon. I’m recording this on Sunday and Pastor Kyle talked about this same verse.

[00:56:25] In Luke chapter five.

[00:56:27] Jesus is doing all these miracles and healing people, and this is right after he healed a man that had leprosy a really horrible disease.

[00:56:39] And so even Jesus had to make priorities, even though he was just, thronged, surrounded by all these people that needed to be healed. Then they were hungry and they needed to hear the gospel. And the reality is he [00:57:00] didn’t heal everybody. . He didn’t feed everybody and not everybody heard the gospel because he was in his human state.

[00:57:08] He was limited by what his body could do. So this really jumped out at me. This is verse 15, but now even more, the report about him went abroad and great crowds gathered to hear him to be healed of their infirmities. Verse 16, but he would withdraw to desolate places and pray now pulls me away. He made the decision to break away from those crowds and go off to a place by himself to get some peace and quiet to pray.

[00:57:47] To strengthen himself for the task that he had to do. He said no. I can’t heal any more people today.

[00:57:56] No I’m done preaching for today. I’m gonna [00:58:00] go off to a place by myself and pray and speak to my father. So let that be a lesson, something for you to grasp, something for you to clinging to this week. It’s okay to say no. It’s okay to withdraw and rest. Withdraw to get your head cleared, to pray to do some of the things on this list that we talked about.

[00:58:31] because Jesus, the son of God did it too. But I think he’s setting an example for us that you have to take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

[00:58:43] And I’m talking about the moms again. Well, I can’t even go to the bathroom without my kids banging on the door. I get it.

[00:58:51] A lot of my friends with kids tell me the same thing. I don’t have time to take a shower. I don’t get enough sleep because of the [00:59:00] kids waking me up at five o’clock in the morning or a kid is sick in the middle of the night. Yes. There’s gotta be some boundaries there put up in place for some of those things, but the kids aren’t gonna be little forever. And when they’re young, I know some of them take naps. My friends who have children their time for themselves to withdraw is when the kids are taking a nap. The older kids, okay, it’s your time out too.

[00:59:29] I don’t care what you do, you’re going to, lay in your room. You can read a book or you can listen to music on your headphones, or you can take a nap, but it’s quiet time.

[00:59:43] That sometimes it’s hard to enforce. I know. I know that it’s from the time I get up till the time I go to sleep, it’s noisy.

[00:59:50] And if I don’t get up at four to five to have my Bible reading in prayer, it doesn’t get done.

[00:59:59] But [01:00:00] anyway, I hope that verse encourages you. So you have permission to do it. Give yourself permission.

[01:00:06] So

[01:00:07] we’re talking about healthy coping strategies. Okay? So we did not talk about shopping because we don’t wanna go out and buy stuff when we’re upset. We’re using shopping and spending money to soothe your emotions. We don’t wanna do that. That’s how you get into debt, and it’s a really unhealthy habit.

[01:00:31] So do not go out and go pleasure shopping. I don’t mean grocery shopping where you need food in the house. Same thing with drinking or eating. we all have to eat to survive.

[01:00:46] But going in there and eating when you’re upset and overeating, that’s not healthy. So we need to know the difference between self-care and [01:01:00] self-destruction. So here’s an example. You had a hard day and you go in and you take a bath that’s healthy. Going in the freezer and eating a whole tub of ice cream is unhealthy.

[01:01:12] Okay? This is different than I’m going to have a scoop of ice cream for dessert after my healthy dinner. Yes, I know Oreos are delicious. I have discovered gluten-free Oreos and, but instead of eating a whole bag, I will have two Oreo cookies.

[01:01:31] So that takes a little discipline and if you have an eating disorder, please get some help for that. That’s no joke. And we don’t wanna minimize that, that it’s a medical condition you need some help for. I’m just letting you know that’s not a healthy way to live.

[01:01:47] So here’s another example. We mentioned alcohol. Having a glass of wine to toast a wedding or New Year’s that’s healthy.[01:02:00] Now, I don’t drink. That’s my choice. My husband, he will have a glass of wine when we we go overseas or we are at a New Year’s party.

[01:02:12] But he did not drink every day.

[01:02:14] Drinking alcohol as a result of an upsetting event or trauma is unhealthy. So if we would drink a whole bottle of wine or vodka or scotch, whatever, ill in the blank, obviously that is unhealthy.

[01:02:34] But if you have a problem with alcohol, again, get some help. There’s lots of resources out there that can help you if you have a problem with using alcohol, to your pain. Let’s do one more.

[01:02:48] So sitting quietly by yourself, feeding the ducks by a pond or out in nature, that’s healthy. You get some time to yourself. You’re with nature, you love [01:03:00] animals. That’s a healthy activity. You can think about some things. Locking yourself in your room and shutting the world out for days at a time.

[01:03:09] Isolating yourself. That is unhealthy. We are meant to heal in community, not in isolation. You start thinking weird staff when you’re isolated. So we talked about calling a friend. That’s really important.

[01:03:27] Call somebody if you’re upset.

[01:03:29] So I hope that this list is helpful for you. Again, pick one thing on this list. I know you’re not gonna be able to do everything on this list. I know that some of you are still with your abusers. Some of you’re going through some really hard trials and need some encouragement right now.

[01:03:52] These are some survival tools. These are some coping mechanisms that are healthy for you. Pick [01:04:00] one and try it out.

[01:04:02] I told you some of my favorite things that I like to do in my bad days,

[01:04:07] Tell me on social media if this has been helpful for you, which one of these have you tried? And you don’t have to write all these things down if you don’t know. Every one of my podcast episodes has the transcript so you can review the transcript. Everything will be very organized in a list.

[01:04:29] You can print it out, put it on your fridge, whatever. So worked really hard to come up with this list, and I know that it will help you to get through your day.

[01:04:41] So I’m going to say goodbye until next week. Don’t forget to do the survey. So have a good week. God bless you. We will see you next week.

[01:04:52] Thank you for listening to the Wounds of the Faithful Podcast. If this episode has been helpful to you, [01:05:00] please hit the subscribe button and tell a friend. You could connect with us at DSW Ministries dot org where you’ll find our blog, along with our Facebook, Twitter, and our YouTube channel links. Hope to see you next week.