As I begin to wrap up this series, I would like to pull together information scattered throughout my posts on encouraging yourself. This is meant to get you thinking about what you like, what makes you happy and what could help you through a discouraging time. Your lists will not look like mine. You will find other resources. I hope you will find some valuable suggestions here.
I bumped into a friend that will have knee surgery soon. I asked if she had help for after the surgery. It is a wonderful thing when you need help, and friends and family gather around. Some bring meals, others take turns driving you to appointments, someone else helps keep the house clean, and others cheer you up. Then there times when you need to be encouraged and there is no one there to encourage you. Or, if they are there, they are unaware of the need, or unable to meet it.
What can we do to remedy that situation? There are several choices we can make.
- Give in to self-pity
- Allow depression to take hold
- Yield to destructive behavior such as self-medicating
- Decide to be proactive on own behalf
It is this fourth option I want to write about today. Whether we have lupus and/or other autoimmune diseases or not, we have all been in this situation. I would like to share some of the things I have learned while coping with illness.
The information gathering
- The internet has extensive information on encouragement.
- If you are a reader, books can offer more details, examples, and strategies. I highly recommend Being Sick Well by Jeffrey H Boyd M.D., M.P.H. It brings you into the lives of others struggling with health issues and shows you how they cope.
- Websites that pertain to your particular situation such as The Lupus Foundation of America may help in this area.
- Certain TV programs offer valuable input on how we can help ourselves through different situations. Oprah has her powerful Lifeclass weekly, which covers a variety of issues on personal growth, and freedom from emotional pain.
- People have life experiences that can help us. Small groups can be a big help.
One of the biggest helps or hindrances to our frame of mind and state of emotions is input. Everything we take in influences how we feel. We need to faithfully guard ourselves against negative influences. Just like the information in step 1 is helpful, the wrong information is harmful. We do not want to feed on a steady diet of everything that can happen. We want to limit exposure to people who make us feel more defeated than before we spoke to them.
This is the time to figure out what encourages you, makes you happy, or gets your mind off your troubles. To help you get some ideas here is what I have learned about myself on this lupus journey.
- quilting, wool applique, and doing handwork with friends has a way of shifting my attention. It is really hard to be depressed when my hands are busy making pretty things. See my Post A Body in Motion for more valuable information.
- Prayer, the bible and church have lifted my spirits many times when nothing else could. See Glazed Looks and God for more on this subject.
- Being around uplifting family and friends does wonders to get my mind off of things.
- I have learned that proper sleep, exercise and eating right make it easier for me to stay upbeat.
- I have learned about the crucial impact of gratitude on our frame of mind. See A Grace Journal for more valuable information on this topic.
After making our way through the first three steps, we are ready to carry out some of what we have discovered. Unlike my friend, who has family and friends to help her, we may have to be courageous and reach out to people. We may have to fight guilt as we take quality time for ourselves, keeping in mind it is crucial for our well-being. No one can do this for us. Our emotional health impacts our physical well-being just like exercise, sleep and eating right do. So, the next time you are feeling discouraged, decide what you want to do to lift your spirits, and do it. You will be happy you did.
Please read the links to the past blogs. They will give more practical information and encouragement. I hope you share your thoughts with us. Thanks for stopping by. I pray this blog is a blessing and encouragement to you. Next time…encouraging others.
Many blessings to you. Leslie Rose K
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer