- Grab a Journal
One way that has helped me to take control of my thoughts and emotions is through writing in journal on a regular basis. I spend a lot of time just spilling my soul out on paper. When you write your thoughts on paper, you are able to decipher and organize them. That’s difficult to do when thoughts are rushing around in your head. However, it’s easier to take the thoughts captive, once they are organized on paper. I usually write a prayer at the end of my journal entry, and include gratitude and praise reports.
Also, I noticed that having a good self-care program helps me manage my emotions. One counselor that I went to concerning my high stress level asked me if I was taking care of myself every week. He asked, “What did you do for self care this week?” And that really helped me because it made me pay attention to the areas in my life that I was completely ignoring due to overwhelming emotions. I was able to manage my emotions enough to take care of whatever I needed to take care of that day. He got me back on track with that question. I believe the Lord used him just for that purpose in my life. I knew a little about the power of a good self-care program. Previously, I had read an article that explained that when a person comes to the hospital for depression, the first thing nurses do is give the person something hearty to eat, like a steak dinner! They make sure the depressed person is not simply suffering from exhaustion or malnutrition! I’ve heard that some people have gone to the hospital because they believed they were having a nervous breakdown, when they only needed to rest and/or they needed proper nutrition. Having a good self-care program is not a luxury but a necessity in today’s fast-paced world.
2. Actually take care of yourself! Don’t just think it!
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in every way and [that your body] may keep well, even as [I know] your soul keeps well and prospers (3 John 1:2, AMP).”
It’s crazy how sometimes I have to be reminded to take care of myself! I will get so caught up in taking care of others that I forget about myself completely. I heard another friend of mine say she constantly does the same thing. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we won’t be around to take care of those we love!
One day, many years ago, I noticed a bald spot in the back of my head—right in the center. When I saw it, I began to panic because I thought I had alopecia, which runs in my family. I pictured myself almost bald, and I began to cry. I was on the floor crying and praying when I heard a small, still voice deep within lovingly say that my hair would indeed not fall out, but it would grow back healthy if I would begin to take good care of it by not processing it with chemicals and, instead, doing all I could to nurture, nourish, and protect it, as well as my entire body. I heeded the voice. I stopped processing my hair, and started taking baby steps toward natural hair styles. It’s been over six years since I’ve made that decision, and I haven’t looked back since. I slowly but surely began the journey, researching and experimenting with foods, drinks, nutrients, vitamins, and all kinds of natural products that were better for my hair and skin—my entire body.
Eventually, my hair grew back thick and full, and even my eating habits improved. My eating habits and fitness were fine, but they could stand a lot of improvement. For example, I ate way too much sugar. I didn’t really eat enough organic fruits and vegetables. I didn’t get enough water in a day, and I didn’t get enough sleep. When I realized I needed to make a change with my hair, I decided I wanted to completely makeover my entire health. However, I had to first decide that I was worth the sacrifice it would take for me to maintain a truly healthy lifestyle.
3. Make necessary sacrifices and pertinent lifestyle changes to remain whole and healthy.
I wanted a better lifestyle in which I was eating healthier, exercising, and in healthy relationships with people who were nurturing and encouraging, and with a man who was not at all abusive. I began extensive research on how to take better care of myself—body, soul, and spirit. I started with my body first. I started to research vitamins, and I started to become more physically fit. I glowed, knowing I was achieving a level of wholeness I hadn’t before. I started to hang around women who were encouraging and who helped to build my self-esteem rather than tear it down. I started to volunteer more. I began dealing with the abuse by attending a 12-step Christian group, and I even wrote this book about my recovery. I began to follow my dreams, and I bought a home for my daughter and me. I can’t say my soul is completely healed and whole yet, but my daughter and I are definitely happier and healthier than we have ever been before. We often curl up and watch YouTube videos and learn better ways to care for our hair, skin, and bodies. My younger sister also got on the bandwagon and began doing more to care for her hair and body! She also watches who she spends time with. She is now planning to study abroad oversees! I began to see that when we examine our lives and begin to take better care of ourselves God equips us with the grace to continue to do so. Then we are able to influence others. God wants all of us to prosper and to be in the best health possible.