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

 

Retirement – The Next Major Life Transition

Transition to retirement
What is your strategy to navigate the transition to retirement?

What are the feelings and thoughts that come to mind when you consider the word ‘RETIREMENT’?

I am finding one of four answers from executive men who are nearing this transition.

  • I have been planning with fitness, travel plans, family plans, hobby plans and can’t wait to retire.
  • I am consumed with reaching my final goals at work and succession planning, so I’ll deal with retirement when I get there.
  • I am not looking forward to retirement, so I plan to die at my desk.
  • I am being coerced to retire before I am ready, and I am very unhappy about it.

No doubt there are other scenarios, but these are those that have been communicated most frequently.

Major Life Transitions

In life, we all traverse many transitions.  Some are small and others are large.  Some are planned, even eagerly anticipated, while others come out of nowhere.

Some of the major transitions in our life are:

  • Leaving home
  • Choosing a career
  • Marriage
  • Children
  • Moving
  • Changing jobs or careers
  • Losing a loved one
  • Retirement
  • Chronic illness

There is a planning process that can be used to prepare for most of these major transitions. Consider the number of life skills training, wedding planning, child preparation, career building, and grief counseling resources that are available.  These transitions can be very difficult, and the help and counsel of wise experts can make the leap much more manageable.

Retirement Wellness Strategies

We exist to help you strategically plan for retirement.  This process will benefit you the most if you start about 2 years prior to retirement. This will minimize the surprises and disappointments that are common with unplanned retirement.

You will have

  • Your personal board certified specialist health advocate to walk through all medical and health encounters
  • A thorough health review to enter retirement with optimal health and stamina
  • Risk identification and minimization based on your personal and family history
  • Planning tools to avoid the unexpected
  • A retirement strategic plan for building a meaningful active next life phase

Contact Dr. Michelle Fritsch today at michelle@retirewellness.comor 410-472-5078.  Learn more at www.retirewellness.com.

BIBLICAL APPLICATION

As we enter this New Year, consider the imposed transition of the calendar.  This is a good time to think about change, new goals, and exciting possibilities.

From way back in the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, we have verses of promise for the future.

Deuteronomy 31:8 ESV

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Joshua 1:9 ESV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 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.

What about the changing of years brings you hope?

What brings you sadness?

How adaptable are you to change?

I have been accused of creating change on purpose, so I’m definitely in the camp that appreciates and promotes change.  I have many friends who find change very difficult and often unnecessary.  Where are you on this spectrum?

I find great hope in the many verses that explain God’s promises of provision, even during change.

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.

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Romans 15:13 ESV

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

In this change of the year, I pray you will live in great joy and hope in this new year.

Blessings,

Michelle