Sidelined by life


Recently, I suffered from a back problem. It was painful and annoying, but the worst part is that it lasted – and ruined an entire four-day weekend. I don't get long weekends that often! It was awful to lose one. I understand that my little backache wasn't anywhere near as serious as the issues that many face daily, and that often last much longer than my four day sojourn. In fact, a friend of mine has been suffering with a much more serious back problem for over two years. I asked her how she did it, because I can't imagine how I would handle having such an issue for that long. She said she just determined that life had to go on. She said she needed to keep her job, do the things that others depended on her for, and just plough through.

I admire her. I'm not sure I could do it. I hope I never have to find out if I can. So how can you manage when life throws you something you just have to slug through? How do you become resilient enough to get through the tough times, especially the times your body hurts and won't do what you need it to do? Here are some ideas: • Take things one day – sometimes even one minute – at a time. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Just concentrate on getting through each day, without worrying about what's coming. • Breathe. One of the things our bodies commonly do when we're stressed is stop breathing deeply and well. We tend to breathe shallowly into the top part of our lungs, which affects our ability to think and move our muscles. Take deep, calm breaths into your abdomen, concentrating on relaxing at the same time. • Move. When we hurt we want to stop moving so we hurt less. Generally, however, that hurts more. Moving is almost always the best thing to do (though of course, ask your doctor if this is appropriate for your circumstances). • Find a support team. Seek out people who will be there for you when you need them. Line up those who can help you make it through. We often hesitate to involve our friends, but generally asking those we love for help strengthens our relationships, not diminishes them. Part of this support team should be your medical personnel and your therapist. • Positive self-talk is also helpful. It's tempting to wallow in negativity and worry when you are facing physical and mental challenges, but it helps to limit these. Instead, talk, out loud if possible, soothingly and calmly. Avoid worst-case scenarios and instead focus on possibilities and refuse to worry about what-ifs. • Distract yourself. Continual focus on your problems leaves you feeling overwhelmed. Letting things go can make you much calmer. Distract yourself with a funny movie, a walk, a treat – whatever you're able to do that's different. Give yourself a break. • Pray or meditate. These have been chosen to be effective in all kinds of stress. • Remind yourself of what's good in your life. Start a gratitude journal. Talk to others who are positive. Write in an experiences journal. Just think positively as much as you can and try to eliminate negative thoughts. As always, if life is getting you down, or you just can't cope, give us a call. We help grieving individuals, distressed teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection. Sanctuary Christian Counseling 9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4 Shippensburg, PA 17257 717-200-3158 info@sanctuarychristiancounseling.com

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