REPLENISHING OR DRAINING: CARING FOR YOURSELF
Everywhere we look we see articles, videos, books, or reports on the topic of self-care. In fact, so much medical and nutritional information is available to us that it’s almost impossible to sort it all out. Should I follow Paleo or Keto or Low Fat or forget about fat and go Low Carb? Should I eliminate dairy or meat or go gluten free? And then there’s the whole exercise dilemma. Should I take up CrossFit, do Pilates, play Tennis, or take up long distance Biking….or horrors….hiking, backpacking, and camping in the mountains!! The choices are endless, and at a time when we can barely think or make decisions, we often can’t decide where to begin with this whole process of self-care.
It’s not uncommon for widows to neglect their own well-being during a season of caring for a spouse with long term health issues. Not only that but working through the season of adjusting to widowhood brings its own set of self-neglect issues. Combined with emotionally and physically draining caregiving, a new widow can find herself in a very depleted condition.
Grief is exhausting – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You may have been grieving all along, watching your spouse slowly deteriorate before your eyes. Or you may have been hit with overwhelming shock when the death was sudden and unexpected. However you became a widow, it involved your inner resources being drained, and now is the time to replenish!
The activities of daily life generally fall into one of two categories: Replenishing or Draining. Replenishing activities are those that make us laugh, help us to feel better, energize us, or contribute to our overall well-being. Depleting activities are those that drain us, sap our energy, or increase our stress levels. If you are a widow, you’ve been through the most intensely resource-depleting time that you will ever face.
It follows, then, that in order to return to a healthy state of well-being we need to focus on those activities that restore our physical, emotional, and spiritual balance. What do these restorative activities look like? Things like spending time with friends, reading a good book, engaging in your favorite hobby, preparing and eating healthy regular meals, or even just getting enough sleep can all contribute to helping us normalize. Anything that energizes you can be nurturing, and that can be different for every individual. Some may love gardening while others faint at the thought of pulling weeds!!
As always, if we turn to the scriptures, we gain some helpful insights in this area. First of all, it’s important to acknowledge that God is concerned with how we care for the body.
I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “…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.”
Our physical body belongs to God, and we have a responsibility to care for it to the best of our ability. Every activity in which we participate either glorifies God or it doesn’t. Now, there’s food for thought!
Speaking of food, I found a scripture that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before! Mark 6:31 tells us, “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a little while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.)” This scripture is fascinating in that it reminds us Jesus is concerned about our nutrition and rest! If He is concerned about this, I should be too!
Take note of your normal everyday activities, and label them as restorative or draining. Do you need to adjust anything to bring things back into balance? It’s also helpful to ask yourself four basic questions during this process:
- Are you eating regular, nutritious meals.
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you drinking enough water?
- Are you getting adequate exercise?
The bottom line is that only when we draw close to Him will we find true rest and restoration. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” As part of your restoration and healing, create those times of solitude. He will draw you close and give you rest during this extremely challenging time.
As I like to frequently say to people, “Go forth and conquer!” The Lord walks with you in this healing season, and He will give you creative, prospering ideas! Your comments are welcome here, or you can email me at email@example.com. Please feel free to share these posts with your friends who would benefit and encourage them to subscribe.