Grief, Depression & Sharing the Tools I Need Daily: #3 ~ Exercise

One of the symptoms that seems to haunt me in this grief journey is physical pain. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? That grief and depression can cause physical pain? Psychosomatic symptoms have become ever so real to me these past two years.

Immediately after Mikail passed away my heart began to physically ache with the weight that was on it. That made sense to me. My heart was broken. What didn’t make sense to me was that my arms ached. They were so heavy and hurt so incredibly much. I soon discovered that I was aching to hold our son. My arms were empty and the emptiness was physically painful. This pain continued on for a long time until Jason’s aunt who is a Trager Practitioner brought her massage table and began gentle body work. As she came to my arms and worked on them, my tears started (not from pain, but from emotional release) and as they flowed and flowed, my arms began to release and feel lighter. It was an amazing moment of healing and physical release of pain, that is really difficult to describe. There are many types of body work that can help towards the physical healing of pain: chiropractics, reflexology, yoga, t’ai chi, deep tissue massage, bio feedback, etc.

I am learning that there is a deep disconnect between our body, mind, and soul. I have always tended to work out the things of life through my mind, completely disconnected from what my body feels.  A couple of months ago the aching and stiffness in my body was keeping me from doing my regular everyday life things and I began to wonder about this disconnect between my body, mind, and soul. I soon discovered that with simple stretches every morning and every night, my aches were a lot less. I’m not athletic. I never have been and exercising is far from something I would choose to do as ‘fun’, so I knew I needed to find something that would work for me.

A friend of mine, whose been in the muck of this journey with me, had mentioned that yoga  has been very helpful for her in her life journey, so I began to research (see this link for an explanation of the type of yoga I am learning about) and came across a wonderful website by a regular gal just like me (except she’s felixible, I’m not -ha) and she addresses this disconnect we have between our body, mind, and soul and provides free videos with yoga practices that include the stretches my body so badly needs, in addition to devotional thoughts to encourage me in my faith walk. It has been a game changer for me in walking this journey of grief and depression. To connect what’s going on in the body, mind, and soul–the whole person God created? It’s amazing. I am still not athletic and still not flexible (I have never been able to touch my toes), and would be completely uncomfortable going to a yoga class, but that’s not what it’s about. It’s about wellness. Wellness of the body, mind, and soul in this moment of the journey. I love that I can roll out my yoga mat, close the door and not worry about what I look like (it must be a sight). Click the image below for a link to learn more:

Sometimes I feel guilty for taking the time I need to take care of myself. I need more time for that than most people and the guilt easily sets in. I know it shouldn’t:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, 
who is in you, whom you have received from God? 
You are not your own; you were bought at a price. 
Therefore honor God with your body.” 
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20) 

God has given each of us the job of taking care of our bodies. Why? So that He can use us to further His Kingdom. Each of us are an important part of the big picture. So to take care of ourselves, our body, mind, and soul is not selfish. We need to do this so that God can use us for His purposes. If we are worn out, sick, and exhausted, we aren’t very useful. At least I’m not. I crash and can’t go on until I am refueled.

Sometimes J asks me, ‘When’s the last time you sat at the computer and wrote something?’ That question is usually a big sign that I am worn out. I haven’t spent time reflecting, writing out prayers, blogging, and doing all those ‘writery-type’ things I need to refuel my mind and soul. Clearly this looks different for everyone. Maybe it’s going for a run, listening to music. Maybe it’s a long soak in the tub, pouring out your prayers to God. Maybe it’s sitting outside listening to the birds and watching the wind blow through the leaves on the trees. Our body, minds, and souls are all refreshed in different ways, but I am learning that if I neglect one or two of these, in time I become quite useless. This is the last thing I want. I want to be there for my family and most importantly I want to be all there for whatever purposes God has for me.

What works for you? How do you refresh yourself physically? How do you renew your mind and soul?  These three are so important in this journey we walk, but especially if we are dealing with grief and depression.

Courageously yours,

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