Posted on June 27, 2022 by Rev. Dave Gunderson, LMFT
Church Worker Wellness
One day, a man named Peter was blue. His skin had a blue tint to it, and this caused concern for his parents. When Peter was born, he had a weak heart. And, turning blue indicated that his heart might not be working right. Peter’s parents raced him to the E.R. where doctors began running tests; however, they were finding no problems. Peter’s wife, who worked as a nurse, showed up soon after. She smiled and simply asked, “Peter, did you remember to wash those new, blue sheets before you put them on the bed?” Her diagnosis was correct. The blue dye from the sheets had turned his skin blue.
At times, all of us will be “blue”. As the old song states, “Song Sung Blue, everyone knows it”. As sinful people in a sinful world, there will be times when suffering, sickness and sadness descends on us. The result is often a depressed feeling or having the “blues”. Sometimes, the “blues” show up when one is physically not feeling well. Other times, the “blues” happen following the loss of something or someone. Losing an important ball game can give one the “blues,” but more serious “blues” happen after the loss of a job, a friendship, or making a move. A big cause of the “blues” is the death of a loved one. We all get “blue” from time-to-time, and thankfully there are many things we can do to help cope.
Go for a walk or run, play with your kids or grandkids, go for a bicycle ride, do a 10- or 15-minute HIT workout, lift some weights, do some kayaking or paddleboarding, or volunteer to help someone else. Even better, enjoy movement with a friend that is good at listening or making you laugh. Make sure to “pencil in” some form of movement each day or it otherwise may not happen.
Exercise increases endorphin levels which is the “feel good” chemical produced by the brain and spinal cord. Exercise also raises the heart rate to help reverse stress-induced brain damage by stimulating production of neurohormones like norepinephrine.
Take several times to pause throughout each day. It’s amazing how we are busy, busy and move from one next activity to the next without giving our mind a chance to pause. Take deep breaths or listen to a guided meditation. Listen to relaxing music. Take a bath. Read a book or magazine. Enjoy a good movie. Give someone a call. Put together a puzzle, or do some other activity that you find to be relaxing. Maybe you’re able to relax during your lunch, before bed, or another time. Don’t forget to put this on your daily schedule so that it actually happens.
Adapt the mindset that food is fuel for a healthy mind and body. You can’t expect any machine to work right without the necessary fuel it needs. This is the same for our mind and body. To make matters worse, we sometimes eat poorly when we are feeling “blue.” Eating sugary, salty and high-fat junk food can cause spikes in blood sugar, weight gain and even bad moods.
Find wholesome foods you like, keep them on-hand for snacking, and eat them regularly. Fresh fruit, fresh or cooked vegetables, lean meats, oily fish such as salmon, and whole-grain bread are all good options. Don’t keep junk food in the house if it’s hard for you to say “no” to those types of food.
Another type of fuel is water. It’s essential for all bodily functions, improves function of internal organs, removes toxins and enhances clear thinking. Avoid pop, caffeine and alcohol which can cause your body to lose water. If you don’t enjoy plain water, use a sugar free flavor enhancer, add some fruit to your water like lemon, lime and/or cucumber, drink iced or herbal teas like mint, chamomile or ginger, or add a splash of 100% fruit juice.
Do your best to get enough restful sleep each night. Sleep is the time when our brain and body can rest, repair and renew. Getting restful sleep helps to give us more energy during the day. Because depression and anxiety can contribute to insomnia, do your best to control your bedtime routine.
Take the time to spend with our Lord and Savior in prayer and the study of His Word each day. God can seem far away when we are suffering, but when we look to Jesus, we see that love and suffering can co-exist. Spend time reading scripture that is relatable to the situation you’re in or feelings that you’re feeling like Job, Jeremiah, and the apostle Paul
God knows every part of you – even the “blue” parts. Talk to the Lord like you would a friend. Tell Him what you’re struggling with. Ask that He puts the right people in your life to help you cope. This could be a family member, friend, doctor and/or therapist. Pray He gives you the strength to ask for help should you need it.
Being “blue” on occasion is normal, but being stuck in the “blues” is not. Deep depression is a problem for many people. Some experience it briefly and with help can move out of it. Others struggle with it their entire lives and may need both counseling and special medications.
If you or someone you know has signs of serious depression or have been suck in the “blues” for two or more weeks, this indicates a major depression and help is needed. Sources of help include a medical physician, mental health provider or both. If you or someone you know are having thoughts of committing suicide, go to the nearest emergency room.
Lutheran Family Service provides Christ-centered help for depression, anxiety, grief, loss, trauma, PTSD, and more. Counseling is safe, confidential and supportive. Reach out to Lutheran Family Service today via our online web form: https://lutheranfamilyservice.org/contact/
So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Rev. Dave Gunderson
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Lutheran Family Service
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