There was this one morning about 4ish years ago that is etched in my mind.
I was flipping pancakes. I had two of my four boys in the other room watching Veggie Tales, and two sitting at the table for breakfast… well, one was sitting and eating, while the other was on the floor whining about what color his fork was or something. I’ve found it much easier to feed them in stages- two at a time is much less chaotic and anxiety provoking than all four.
I plopped some of the fresh whipped cream I’d made into my coffee and the tears were just flowing. I wasn’t sobbing or anything, but I’d become familiar with the feel of tears streaming down my face.
Some of my core girlfriends had me describe the scene as they checked in on me via our group conversation on our GroupMe app. Perhaps that’s why it’s etched in my mind.
Once they gave me a dose of encouragement (Quoting Proverbs 31: “She does not eat the bread of idleness but fresh whipped cream!” Corrie Brockman translation), they instructed me to get a sitter ASAP and get out of the house.
With limited funds I reached out to my mother-in-law who was happy to help by lending some money for the cause. Miraculously I found a sitter and headed up to the mountains.
I found a spot by a stream. There were great sunning rocks and it was a beautiful day. I ventured down to the stream with my Bible, journal and blanket. I sat there ready for the Lord to minister to me with His creation as I praised Him. And I felt nothing.
The warm rock under me, the sound of the stream bubbling past, the feel of the breeze on my face, the cool of the water on my toes… and I felt nothing. I mean, I my senses were in tact- but my hormones were most definitely not. I felt no sense of enjoyment or relief.
Now, I don’t remember if this was before or after my hypothyroidism was diagnosed or not- but I do remember that after my diagnosis things got worse before it got better.
I made it through this incredibly dark and hard season. The Lord was good to me to see me through.
Throughout this season there were a few things that I did that helped me endure. I thought that it may encourage and help you too, in any dark season you may encounter.
Below are 9 practical things to do to help endure such seasons.
- See a doctor. Have your doctor run tests to see if your body is functioning the way it should be. A holistic doctor will help you get to the root of the problem.
- Get fresh flowers for your home. I would buy fresh flowers and actually carry them from room to room with me. I know, it may seem silly, but it helped me immensely. We were in the middle of a remodel, so to have something fresh and lovely with me was nice.
- Get out of the house and into nature. There is plenty of science that shows that we are electrical beings that operate on frequencies. (I thought this was so weird.) The modern home has so much in it that disrupt our natural frequencies and the best way to “recalibrate” is to get outside. The wind, the sun, trees, grass, and natural bodies of water contain a frequency that really help our bodies function right. Google it if you don’t believe me! I would load up the boys, pick up a coffee and head to a park where there are big ‘ol trees- sometimes with a book.
- Get a gym membership. This may be hard if you struggle with anxiety because of the stimulation that most gyms evoke- but it helped me a ton. Two hours of childcare every day for an incredibly low price. I mean even if you don’t like to exercise, go sit out at the pool or in the sauna with a book, walk on the treadmill and listen to your favorite tunes. I loved going to spin class, until I realized how awful it was for me. It’d feel great while I was doing it, but because of my compromised adrenal glands, I used up every ounce of energy I had in class and then had nothing to give once I got home and needed to take care of my responsibilities there…
- Smile. This may sound basic and silly, but when you’re tired and feel like crap, smiling is the last thing you want to do, especially when there are things that have to get done. But as I prioritized smiling over getting stuff done, it really helped with my demeanor and attitude. I was able to be more patient with my kids and more peaceable as I tended to my things. Trust me. Put it at the top of your mind and make an effort to smile. It will be worth it.
- Have a quite time with the kids. We would do a quiet time where I’d separate the boys for an hour and they weren’t allowed to talk to me. I’d nap (sleep is SO SO important) or read or work on something without distraction or stimulation. I was very strict on this. This is a healthy practice for everybody, benefitting any age or personality. Recently some of my hypothyroid symptoms have really resurfaced, so this post is timely for me. It’s summer and I’ve also made a rule that the boys are to stay in their rooms until 8 every morning. Normally I’d need to get up at 5:30 or 6 to get some time to myself before the kids got up, and this rule actually allows me to sleep more, giving my body the much needed rest it needs at this point in my life.
- “Get ready”. Mommas, even if you aren’t leaving for the day get dressed in something you feel confident and comfortable in. If you’d wear makeup going out, put on a little every morning. Take yourself seriously. Start viewing yourself the way you want others to view you. You’ll carry and view yourself better throughout the day if you take yourself seriously. (I don’t mean “be super serious and don’t have fun”, just confidently believe that what you are doing is important.)
- Illuminate noise. Stimulation provokes my anxiety. Lots of noise and visual sights is overwhelming to me. I didn’t used to be so sensitive, but having 4 rowdy boys may have done something to me… When I start feeling a bit agitated I’ve found it helpful to just turn off a source of noise. Turn off the music or television, kick the kids outside, or take a walk around the house and let the kids stay in… This has been super helpful to me.
- Steward your body well. This is an important but sensitive and hard topic. One I’ll be talking about a lot more. Our bodies are connected to our soul and spirit. We are tri-being- and if we want a healthy spiritual life, and soul (mind, thoughts, and will), then we need to also have a healthy body.
At the last retreat I spoke at I finished my first session on fear, talking about how we can overcome fear with faith, along with some practical tools to handle anxiety. And then the women’s pastor came up and asked me in front of everyone “why do you think that women these days, even in the church, struggle with anxiety so much?”
I knew right away how to answer. It’s because we don’t take care of our bodies. Our culture is saturated with processed food that is toxic to us. It’s normal and expected to consume these foods and drinks. Also the technology we use, and the products we use, disrupt the way our body is intended to work. The more I research and learn, the more confident I become that this is the cause of the rise in depression and anxiety in this generation.
God has given us the gift of these incredible bodies- while they are temporary and seem frail- we can use them to accomplish great things in this world. There are good, good things that God wants to do through us and we need to be able to do our part and show up with a willing heart and a body that we have done our best to steward well.
I’ve been convicted of this as I’m visited again with symptoms of my underactive thyroid. Not only do I need to take better care of myself- but I need to be caring for my family better.
For years I’ve avoided sugar and gluten…(ish)- but let my family kinda eat whatever. The Lord has been revealing to me that I better start taking better care of my family if I want them to be healthy as they grow.
So number nine is a kicker. Our church potlucks and discipleship times are riddled with processed food that are harming our bodies. If we want to have healthy spiritual lives, we need to care for our body and soul as well. Let’s make sure we are doing our part so we can go forth and do the good things that God has prepared for us. With a willing heart and a body we are stewarding well.
The awesome thing is, is that we don’t need to be victims to our circumstances or our society! We have the power to choose what we consume! We have the power to care for our bodies and soul well in order to get healthy! God made our bodies so beautifully. Healing and health is possible!
So, cheers to healing and health! Spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical health!
Praise the Lord, the God of Hope!
P.S. I’m starting on the adventure of switching my family’s diet to a clean eating one… You’ll be sure to hear more about my adventure in the coming months! I’ll be sharing lots on my insta and FB stories.