Hope and Health

Hope and Health during COVID

Hope and Health
What are your health strategies during COVID-19? Where is your hope?

How are you?  How are you managing your day, your thoughts, your diet, your exercise, your responsibilities?  I admit, I just ‘did’ these things as I was caught up in the busy-ness of ‘life before’.  I remember oh-so-many-times thinking, ‘If I only had a couple of unstructured days, I could get caught up.’

Well, now I’ve lost count of the number of unstructured days I’ve had, and I’m NOT caught up.  Rather, sometimes I feel like I’m in the dryer being tossed around and unable to get my feet solidly under me.

Can you relate?

I propose, even those who are carrying on as if nothing unusual is happening are processing all of this at some level.  They might be the ones who crash the hardest when faced with the realities of this pandemic in their own family.

I know, especially during the night, I get these waves of anxiety, what-ifs, grief, panic that try to overtake me.

What do you do when these thoughts creep in (or hit you like an avalanche)?  [We will come back to this question soon.]

Health at all times, including during COVID-19

Health is multifaceted, and to be truly healthy, each area needs some attention.

  • Physical health – This includes your diagnoses, your fitness, your strength, and your immune system.
  • Mental health – This includes diagnoses, anxiety, depression, and panic.
  • Emotional health – This includes your coping mechanisms, your reactions, your strategies to manage stress.
  • Spiritual health – This includes your source of hope, your views about a higher power, your connection with your spiritual side.
  • Social health – This includes your relationships, your support network, those you care for and those who care for you.

I encourage you to take an inventory.  In the past few days, how have you nurtured each of these areas of your health?  Which have you given the most attention?  Which have you ignored?  Which need the most attention today?

There are MANY well-designed studies that have demonstrated the importance of each of these aspects of health.  Especially now, during this pandemic, each part needs very deliberate strategies.

Attitude and Health

These studies have repeatedly demonstrated the negative health effects of negativity – fear, holding grudges, blame (conspiracy theories), isolation (huge right now), oppression, resentment, self-pity, rejection, and holding on to negative bad assumptions.  There are TOO MANY negative messages in our society right now.  Letting these rule your thoughts and emotions is directly damaging to your immune system and your physical health.  It’s also damaging to your relationships (social health), spiritual health, and mental health.

In comparison, staying engaged, caring for other people, optimism (which is a choice), having supportive friends/family, maintaining an ability to bounce back (takes some real purposeful effort), learning good conflict management skills, and belief in a higher power or other source of hope are all linked to a healthier immune system, overall well-being, better health, and even longer life.

So, how can you use this knowledge to make a plan for when the waves of anxiety, grief, and worry hit you?

Want to talk more?  Please contact me at michelle@retirewellness.com or 410-472-5078.  You can schedule a free introductory call here.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

What do you do when these thoughts creep in (or hit you like an avalanche)?

It is normal, especially in these times, for this to happen sometimes several times per day.

So, should we let it happen?  Ride the waves?

Should we chide ourselves for being so weak?

Do we need strategies?

My view is we need strategies.  This is a time when we need to exercise our God muscles very deliberately.  I have to admit I’ve not memorized scripture a lot in the past.  I’ve been familiar with scripture and generally know what is found where, but not to the degree to be able to recite scripture.

That all changed when I went through a very difficult time a few years ago.  I would wake up in the night with rapid-fire negative thoughts, imagined conversations, what-ifs, anger, frustration, and such.  It felt like I was being attacked in my own mind.

That’s when trusted friends and years of hearing the message sunk in and I started memorizing scripture.  I still haven’t memorized as much as I would like, but I’ve memorized some verses that have incredibly deep meaning to me.  They feel like weapons I can recite over and over when I’m attacked in the night.  I cling to these scriptures and keep them ready at all times.

I’ve since had opportunity to talk with various groups about stress and hope and health.  So many people have described similar strategies and what a vital lifeline this is for them.  None have been ‘perfect people’ who just naturally have it all together.  They, too, have gone through gut-wrenching difficult times and learned the value of being battle ready.

So, rather than sink into the pain and negativity, rather than chide yourself for being susceptible, stand up and take up your weapons.  Let’s go to battle with the ONE true source of victory!

My key verses:

Psalm 25:5  NLT

Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.

Psalm 63:6-8 NLT

I lie awake thinking of you,
    meditating on you through the night.
Because you are my helper,
    I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
    your strong right hand holds me securely.

Philippians 4:6-7  NLT

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 43:2  NLT

When you go through deep waters,
    I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
    you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
    you will not be burned up;
    the flames will not consume you.

What are your strategies?  I would love to hear from you.  And, if your group would like to take this deeper, ‘Grace & Health in Complex Times’ is a workshop I offer.  It is a chance to connect health, hope, and healing during these very difficult days.  We take frequent breaks, interact a lot (even virtually), and walk away with very tangible skills to care for ourselves and others.  Let’s talk.

Blessings,

Michelle

 

Approach Your Doctor Visit Differently in 2016 – Win-Win

Slide1
Prepare for your doctor visit

 

How do you prepare for a doctor visit? Have you ever experienced, or can you picture, the following scenario?

You have a health-related issue and want to see your doctor. You call to make the appointment. You wait and monitor the issue until the day of the appointment. You think about the appointment as you get ready and drive to the office. You think about the visit while in the waiting room. You briefly tell the assistant about the issue while you are being checked in with your weight, blood pressure, etc. You think more about the issue while waiting for your provider to enter the room. Then, your provider comes in and your mind goes blank.

Has this ever happened to you? Even if you remembered most of what you wanted to discuss, did you leave and realize you forgot to mention something important?

Doctor Visit Preparation

This happens all too often! Sometimes people feel rushed. Sometimes they get caught up in conversation with their doctor and don’t realize the time available for the appointment has slipped way. I have had patients bring up important information at the very end of appointments many times. It is so late that we can’t fully address the issue with the time remaining.

So, what can you do to avoid this situation?

Important steps

Here are some important steps to help you get the most from your healthcare visits.

  1. From the time the issue arises until your appointment, write down important details your doctor will want to know.
    1. When did it start?
    2. How did it start?
    3. What makes it worse?
    4. What makes it better?
    5. Use good descriptive words to describe your symptoms.
    6. How often does it occur?
    7. Have you had something like this happen before?
    8. What has changed that might be related to this issue?
    9. Keep a journal of how the issue impacts you daily.
    10. What outcome are you hoping to have from your visit?
  2. Prioritize the issues you want to discuss at the appointment.
  3. Limit your list to the top 3. You can bring others to mention if there is time, but most visits have time for only 1 major or up to 3 more minor issues.
  4. Bring two copies of your list to your appointment.
  5. Give the list to the assistant who checks you in. He/she can then give it to your provider to review before coming in to the room with you. This will save a lot of time in the first part of your appointment.
  6. When your provider comes in the room, you will each have a copy. This will take the pressure off of you to remember the details. It will also help guide your provider to quickly understand the issue(s) you want to talk about.
  7. You can now have a more relaxed conversation with your provider in the time that is available for your visit.

Your provider will truly appreciate this approach. Keep in mind, for some symptoms your provider only knows what you tell him/her. So, the more thorough you can be, the better your provider can make the correct diagnosis.

Consider your healthcare to be a partnership rather than a one-way interaction. You and your providers will feel better about your relationship.

For more information about preparing for doctor visits, contact us at www.medsmash.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

Just as there are more successful ways to approach medical visits, there are some best practices for communicating with God.

Jeremiah 29:12-13 ESV

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

In all parts of the Bible there are tips, insights, and instructions for maintaining our awareness and dependence on our Lord and Savior to walk with us through any circumstance.

Mark 11:24 ESV

Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

James 5:16 ESV

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

John 15:7 ESV

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

1 John 5:14-15 ESV

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

God is there with you, loving you, holding you at all times. He never leaves to take a break. He never gets distracted.

If you are feeling alone and not aware of His presence, you have your ‘shields’ up. Take them down. Go to Him in prayer and take down those defenses that are making you feel separated. God will love being able to communicate with you again. You will love that flood of security, grace, and unconditional love.

Blessings,

Michelle

P.S. Have you noticed that all of our instruction in prayer puts praise first? Then, bring your requests, hurts, and desires to God.