In my job, I work with people who have been injured at work, and helping them return to work, and a lot of that involves working with them to build a ‘toolkit’ to work through the process, the tools that they need to achieve their goals, and to deal with pain and frustration and disappointment.
And to celebrate the wins.
Sounds like every day life, really, doesn’t it?
We all have pain, and loss, and frustration and disappointment. And we all have wins and joys and reasons to celebrate.
Identifying ‘tools’ to help us deal with whatever life throws at us makes the whole process so much easier, as they give us something to work with for encouragement, for inspiration, for comfort and hope.
My next never-fail tool is a long, hot bath. There is no other option than long, and hot, and it is always made better with a book. Through some times of my life, that’s the only time I get to read, and incidentally, the frequency of baths as opposed to showers increases during these times…….
Seriously, it is a cure-all for everything. When my joints or back flare up, the heat is the best painkiller there is. After a loooooong, mentally draining day, everything melts away in the water. When I’m grasping onto the fraying ends of my rope with the kids, I can shut the door, and they can see the invisible Do Not Cross tape across the doorway. And when everything is right in the world, it is made so much more wonderful with bubbles and candles.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
But I obviously can’t just jump in the bath whenever life gets real. I can, however, take deep breaths. Lots of them. For as long as I need. Taking deep, slow breaths reduces your heart rate, lowers your blood pressure, reduces the stress hormones running around your body, and helps promote a sense of calm. Which is really helpful when you’re struggling to engage the filter between the words in your head and your mouth. Or to not let the thoughts trying to overwhelm you succeed.
Catching the worm
I’ve never been what I would call a morning person, but somehow, I’ve become one. In our house, the morning belongs to me, and I guard it fiercely. I have learnt over the last few years that the most effective way to set up a day that will go well is to get up early, usually while it’s still dark, and wait for the light. There is something almost
All I need is the air that I breathe
It doesn’t have to be a grand example of creation, but simply getting outside does wonders for my heart and soul, I know when it’s been too long because I start to feel antsy, and I need to feel the warmth of the sun or the crispness of the cool in the air, even just for 5 minutes. Get me to the beach, and nothing in the world can worry me.
Crazy little thing called Love
I wrote about my word for 2014 here. Seriously, find a word and start living it out loud every day.
You’ve got the music in you
Music has been vital to the very centre of my being since I first learnt the words to ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go’ by heart, recognising the power of knowing a song intimately and how it made me feel. I grew up with my parent’s songs, both old and new, and developed my own loves along the way. I have nearly always had a song that has brought me comfort, hope, resonance and connection through various seasons and trials and victories in my life, and I firmly believe that God has given us music as a gift, and that He speaks through the words that inspire the writers.
“Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul; it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” — Martin Luther
This year, I’ve intentionally chosen two songs that encourage me, uplift me, make me smile and make me just stop and turn to God, songs that I know will see me through whatever the year brings. I’ve already shared with you the delight that is ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ by Paul Colman (scroll down for the video clip), a rollicking tune that speaks to acknowledging what was in time past, and looking ahead to what will be in the time to come.
My other song is one that makes me just stop, every single time. ‘Oceans’ by Hillsong United leaves me wanting more, more of Jesus, more of the life He has promised that I can live to the full, more of Him and less of me. Just listen. I promise you’ll get it.
Nom nom nom
Good, whole, clean food. Simple as that. I learnt from my first Whole 30 last year just how much the food affects me. How simple, from-the-earth, unprocessed food makes me feel amazing, and that pretty much everything else leaves me wondering when I tucked into the contents of the kitty litter tray and then licked it for good measure (at least, I imagine that’s what that would feel like). Now this isn’t as simple as it sounds for me – the practice, yes, but my head? Not so much – I still have a push/pull with feeling like I’m missing out, and being grateful that I have the option to make a choice about what I eat. But good food remains a tool in my box – when my overall health and wellness isn’t so great, going back to basics works better than any thing else.
So that’s the core of my toolkit. There are other bits and pieces I use along the way, but all of the above is what gets me through life, through all the ups and downs.
I’d love to know what’s in your toolkit. What helps you just keep putting one step in front of the other? What makes you thrive in your life? What can you not live without?