Hitting the reset button. Caring for the mind.

January 4, 2018

(free printable from The Crafted Life)

In case you missed the first part of this series, read here.

Here we are at the start of another year, and I am typing out a post that is quite the opposite of what I thought I would start the year with. Although it is exactly what I know I am supposed to share. As promised, I wanted to go a little deeper into why it became so important to me to address mental, physical, and spiritual health. When one of these aspects of our lives experiences strain and neglect, it starts to bleed into other areas of our life. When we can take a little time to care for all three parts of our being, we work towards WHOLENESS. When we treat our health in it’s entirety, only then can we can begin to experience peace.

Less than a year ago, it had been a particularly …..difficult day, and my nerves were shot, my tank was empty, and I felt like I didn’t have control over anything in my life. It was as if my legs were dangling over the edge of a breakdown and I could see how dangerously close I was to falling off. I felt anger boiling up within me for not being able to understand what was happening.  I didn’t understand why I felt this way because I was in the thick of it. I didn’t realize how much I was bottling up and suppressing before it boiled over to the surface.

(photo by Haley Sheffield)

 

I knew it was time to get to the heart of it all, and undo the knots. I knew I couldn’t just sword fight my way through this one like I usually did. I needed to face the reality that things had to change.  As women, and especially for me as an INFJ personality, it is very easy to put my own health to the side. Even though we know self care can give us the foundation to actually give care to others, we so easily let it be last on the list of to-dos. It was really hard for me to start peeling back the layers, because I had to face the fears and doubts at the root. I hadn’t taken enough time off after having Azelie. I had given myself no time for postpartum healing, and I was a new mother of five trying to keep a full time business alive on my own. There wasn’t enough of me for anything to be done well. It was a humbling place to be. I had piled too much on my plate again. I wasn’t asking for help when I needed it. I was expecting too much out of myself. I wasn’t trusting God with my life. It was the same repetitive pattern of habits I thought I had overcome, but when life gets difficult we tend to slip back to old patterns. In the process, my mind, body, and soul felt strained. It was time to hit the rest button. It was shortly after I wrote the post Holy Grounds, and I started to fight harder for renewal. This is when I began to see so clearly how important whole being health is. Our bodies are not just physical temples to care for. Inside of our bodies is a mind and soul that needs equal amounts of care.

 

Since then, we made some big changes in our home as well as some small personal ones. I almost quit the blog, but we came to this conclusion instead. This has changed our day to day lives in big ways, and Gabe and I both were able to get back a more balanced rhythm, as well as implement better routines into our family. I still need practice not falling into old habits, especially at this time of year which is why I started the reset and renew guide.

If you are in the middle of something similar, where life feels a little out of control or stress is a part of your day to day life, I hope you will consider doing this challenge of self care along with me. It can be small simple proactive habits that can drastically change our relationships and our quality of life.

Some of the highest triggers for stress are the following:

Financial strain
Job loss/ job uncertainty
Education stress
Death of a loved one
Moving to a new place
Illness or child with an illness
Birth of a new baby
Poor health or injury

Every time we experience stress, the hormone cortisol is released in response by the adrenal glands. The side effects of increased levels of cortisol can damage our physical and mental health if we don’t fight it the right ways:

Disrupted digestion, mental function and metabolism, depression, lowered immune function, high blood pressure, imbalances in other important hormones (such as DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone), impaired healing and cell regeneration, loss of muscle and bone, mood swings and depression, hair loss, skin problems, thyroid imbalances, sleeplessness, weight gain or weight loss, and the list goes on.

Mental stress can shut down our bodies and prevent us from connecting to the people who mean the most to us. I hope just opening the conversation allows some space for you the reader to know that there is always hope to walk forward. To improve, grow, expand, and even THRIVE. You are never alone in your challenges no matter how big or small.

If it helps, I typed out a list of stress busters/self care practices for the mind in the guide as well as some helpful resources if you want to have a look! I will be doing these throughout January so I printed four of the weekly checklist sheets to hold me accountable. I’d love to hear how it’s going for you along the way!

With love, Anna

 

DOWNLOAD THE RESET + RENEW GUIDE

 

“When we relate to our bodies as having soul, we attend to their beauty, their poetry and their expressiveness. Our very habit of treating the body as a machine, whose muscles are like pulleys and its organs engines, forces its poetry underground.” – Thomas More

Leave a Comment

  • Kristi Phillips

    Oh Anna, thank you for this! You are a blessing to me and know that no matter how many lives you reached or didn’t reach, that you have helped ME! I felt as if I was reading words from my own life and how I haven’t given enough time for myself.
    I’m a military spouse and constantly move, I’ve gone through several losses and trauma, and I feel as if my “stay at home” job is not enough and feels like I have zero purpose. I am very much looking forward to hitting the reset button.
    Thank you!! Xo

    • Kristi,
      I JUST told Gabe the other day how much I admire military wives. It was a really tough day with the kids even with Gabe’s help. I know it is so hard to find time to rejuvenate when it is just you! I hope you have found a good community of support as you process trauma and loss.

      I have also felt isolation, insignificance, and loneliness in the midst of raising little ones because the job is often thankless and exhausting. Just know that there is beautiful purpose in even the smallest of things you give your children. I have to remind myself often that God sees everything. Seeing my first baby already becoming a little man reminds me daily how brief this opportunity of motherhood is.

      I hope this month can be restorative!
      x, Anna

      • Kristi Phillips

        Aw so sweet! I am so blessed by amazing counselors through our church and have been blessed by an amazing community of women.

        It’s so comforting to hear when others have gone through similar situations or knowing that you’re not alone in isolation and parenting. Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. It is so true that God sees everything, such a simple reminder, but forgotten so easily!

        You’re such a light!

        Hugs!

  • Yes!!!!! Love this and you so much.

  • You have great timing, my friend. I am in a similar place. I’m 51 and I guess on the verge of going through the major change. I love my job and bosses so much that I took on more work than I could handle because I wanted so much to be a big help to them. Then I didn’t speak up loud enough when I realized I was fixing to go under water so I got more and more stressed and further and further behind. At that point my brother died unexpectedly and my mom broke her hip six months later. Thanks be to God she had a quick and full recovery. This may sound like complaints but it truly is not, just an account. I have been blessed throughout the trials but I feel the toll all the stress and changes have taken on my body. I feel as if I need a six month vacation, which isn’t an option at this time. I eventually lost it at work but luckily I have a wonderful boss that, for whatever reason, has kept me on and lessened my workload. The toll on my body has manifested in palpitations that scare the bejeebers out of me. I know “this too shall pass” but I’m having a hard time making the changes I know will make a difference.

    Thank you for this new journey you are taking and thank you for helping us help ourselves. If you ever feel like no one is listening just know probably more of us are than you might think.

    • Jenn, I am so sorry for the hardships that you have had to go through. Sometimes when we are in the midst of it all it is hard to see what is happening to ourselves. I hope you take the steps needed to find your way back to wholeness. Rooting for you!

  • Tackling stress is a good issue to solve. Pressing the reset button in this case – so right.

  • This is just so beautiful, Anna. So transparent that I’m positive I’m not the only one who can relate! Post-partum healing is SO vital and yet so overlooked. It’s amazing, isn’t it, that after nine months of prenatal care, once the baby is born we have one, maybe two follow up appointments before we are expected to go back to “normal” again – and with a new baby in tow! My youngest, three months old, was much bigger than my first three and did quite a bit of damage to my body (fractured rib and abdominal nerve damage, ha!) And I truly feel this experience was part of God’s plan to force me to slow down and learn to take care of myself. I’m so happy that you are surrounded by such a wonderful support system and it’s beautiful to see the fruit that’s come from your struggles!

    • Laura! No way! Oh my gosh. Yes, it’s crazy how little time we allow ourselves for post partum recovery. I wish so much that I would have taken more time with each of my newborns to just BE. I hope you are healing okay. So happy you have a good support system. That can make all the difference.

  • This is so timely for me! I have a 14 month old daughter, and am currently 15 weeks pregnant with my second. I am thrilled about the pregnancy, as we were ready for another. However, I have a part time job that is becoming more stressful, and we are unable to afford childcare for my daughter, and it is becoming too much for me to try to balance it all, so I have decided to be a stay at home mom. I have never not worked, so this is a very exciting yet also somewhat scary time. But I am reminded that my identity is not found in what I do for a living; rather, in Who I am living for. It’s time to hit the reset button!

    • Hi Whitney – ugh. I know the struggle well! I learned how hard it is to say no to the good, in order to make way for the great. Being a stay at home mother is wonderful, but will have it’s own set of challenges. Hope you can find a good community to plug in to! If you found yourself here and feel it’s the right thing ,than there will be so much peace in this phase of life if you surround yourself with the right means to sustain you!

  • This is so good, Anna! I too have been on a similar path to wholeness. Last year, I worked really hard to reduce my stress – finding out my triggers, pruning back unnecessary parts of my life, etc. This year, I’m focusing on the body and soul part. Best of luck and lots of prayers for you this year! xo

  • Hi Anna, thank you so much for that wonderful guide. Self care is definitely a priority for me this year and this is so helpful.

    -Helen
    http://www.sweethelengrace.com

  • It is SO important to take care of ourselves, especially in order to take care of others. But it’s also easy to put it on the back burner. Thank you for reminding me to put myself first and do things for myself everyday! I LOVE the PDF action plan. Thanks for putting that together and being so open in this post! Here’s to self care in 2018 and on! xx

  • This came on a day when I needed it most!! Thank you so much for your transparency Anna!! You spoke right to my heart as I am right in the thick of all this. Two year old, 7 month old, and have my own digital marketing/visual Branding biz. Sometimes (like today) I just want to give up on it all. It’s time…to reset the reset button and really evaluate the places where I need to let go, realign my life with God first, family second, career third…it’s been a long time coming. I didn’t take much time off after my little girl Emery birth and am really starting to feel it.

    Today has been a rough day, and all I can think about is not wanting to start off on the wrong foot for 2018 when a new year is supposed to be about reevaluating and listening to the things we need to change to help us rest and reset!!! Rest and reset is really what I need. This couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you for this! xo, Charity

    • Charity, thank you for being here! I appreciate you taking the time to read. I am so happy it could help. As a mother it is so easy to just dry to keep the ship afloat and suddenly you realize it’s been a month before you have had a date with your husband, had any time out of the house on your own, or did more than put on work out pants. It’s hard. One small step at a time. Cheering for you! x

  • Thank you for being so transparent and willing to talk about your struggles with stress! I felt like I was reading about myself just a few short years ago! It really is amazing how stress can negatively affect so many facets of our lives, and can just sneak up on us without us expecting it. The way it manifests physically, emotionally, and spiritually is so difficult to overcome. Like you, I am also learning to try to break old habits and I will be using your checklist weekly! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • Nicole, it’s so true. Thank you for reading, and doing the guide along with me! It’s been a helpful start to January when I am usually in the slumps.

  • […] case you missed: Part 1: Caring for the Mind, Part 2: Rebuilding from the inside […]

  • […] I ended up in the ER and was forced to pay attention. So just as I addressed in yesterday’s caring for the mind post, the mental and physical aspects of our beings are very tightly knit. It turned out that the […]

  • Thank you so much for this. This is exactly what I need right now and I’m going to print out this guide and start working on it!

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