6 Tools in my Emotional Wellness Toolbox

For many years I have struggled with emotional wellness. Depression and anxiety were a part of my daily life for quite awhile. Darkness crept in and led me on a journey through the wilderness. God met me there. Make no mistake. He was right there with me.

But through that time, I have learned and grown and God has shown me new glimpses of Himself that I would never have known had I not walked through the valley.

In this video, I share more of my personal story as well as 6 of the most helpful tools I have in my toolbox for emotional wellness!

 

6 Tools in my Emotional Wellness Toolbox

God’s Word

God’s Word truly is a lamp unto our feet and a light for our path! We find encouragement, comfort, wisdom, correction, and the power of God’s Living Word each time we open the pages to study, read or pray through it.

One of my favorite tools for studying God’s Word is this Bible Study Methods Course: 7 Ways in 7 Days! It is a video course with a video for each of the 7 methods of Bible study plus workbook pages for each as well!

Prayer & Praying The Scriptures

Sometimes we don’t have the words to speak. Praying God’s Word has transformed my prayer life. I no longer have to worry if what I’m praying is in alignment with God’s Word or that I won’t be able to thick of what to say. I pick up God’s Word, the Psalms is my favorite place to start, and I read the Word of God out loud, and slowly God transforms my heart as I pray His words back to Him.

I have monthly plans for praying the Scriptures if you’d like to print these off for your own personal quiet times. There are plans for praying for your children, praying for your husband, praying for teachers, praying verses of hope, and more.

Food

Food is medicine. At least that is what I’m learning. Not that I eat well 100% of the time but I am learning. I am much healthier than I was in 2016. I’m taking baby steps and feeling SO GOOD.

I currently am listening to It Starts with Food and this book is SO GOOD. I seriously wish everyone could listen to it! If you want to know more about WHAT food does inside our bodies and brains, listen. If you deal with anything like inflammation, allergies, skin issues, obesity, fatigue, and on and on…they cover ALL of this. I am really enjoying the audio book as I don’t think that I would do well reading a book like this myself.

Exercise

Exercise is another one that has been SO hard for me. But, here I am, the end of March and have been exercising consistently 3-4 times per week since the first week of January! I am actually ENJOYING it, too.

For me, what has helped me to enjoy it more this time around is 1) meeting friends to exercise with 2) having the blessing of a gym/work out room at our church free to use 3) meeting friends with KIDS for mine to play with 4) a personal trainer friend giving me exercises to do and weight training as well 5) feeling myself getting stronger 6) seeing my stress levels more manageable.

I have lost 12 pounds so far since the beginning of the year by eating better and exercising regularly. Feeling good is one of my biggest motivators right now. My emotional wellness affects my life so much!

Small Group & Church

My small group is one of the greatest blessings in my life. They are my people. They love me for who I am. We learn together. We grow together. We grieve together. We do life together.

We were made for relationships. Do not forsake meeting together. If you don’t have a church family, please start looking today and just get involved. Don’t look for the perfect church, you won’t find it. We are all just a mess! But find a place where you can serve and love and be loved in return. With God’s help you can find it! Even if you have to invite people over to your own house to find it!

“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

Essential Oils

Did you know that one of the MAIN benefits of using essential oils daily and consistently is improved MOOD!?!? I mean, come on. Could there be any better gift for me? Created by God Himself? He placed Adam and Eve in a garden and this was the ideal and perfect setting. These days we aren’t outside enough to reap the benefits of all the plants and oils in creation. So, these precious little tiny bottles and diffusers help bring God’s creation right into our homes!

I use several oils regularly that all help with the wellness of our family and my moods and emotional wellness. If you want more information or to join our team (all under the leadership of Dr. Edie Wadsworth) let me know! We have an amazing team and IT MATTERS what team you join! We have classes, facebook groups, regular video teaching, fun give aways and more within our Oily Sisterhood!

I have several videos on my YouTube channel where I talk about what oils I use and how I use them if you want to watch any of these.

Let’s hear from you! What are the tools in your emotional wellness toolbox? What helps keep you and your family well! What is one thing on this list you would like to try? 

 

Am I Depressed Or Having A Bad Day?

am I depressed

All of us have bad days from time to time. All of us experience the grief that comes from losing a loved one or going through a traumatic event. We may even have seasons where we just don’t seem as chipper and happy as we once were.

So, how do we know that we are truly suffering from depression and not just having a bad day? How do we know when we should seek help or begin looking for ways to help with our struggles? How do we know when to speak up? When to ask for help?

I’m sharing 5 Ways to Know the Difference over at Crosswalk…

I also share some HOPE at the end of that post. If you’re struggling today, I pray this article helps. Please know you are not alone.

5 Psalms for People Who Struggle with Anxiety

5 Psalms for People Who Struggle with Anxiety

Anxiety and depression are two words that I desperately wish were not in my personal vocabulary and experience. But, they are. God allowed me to walk through several years in the valley of the shadow of death and now that I’m on the other side of it, I believe He had my good in mind. I believe He taught me things in the valley that I could never have learned on the mountaintop. I believe that He wanted to prove to me that I truly am never alone, though I felt it many times. I believe He wanted to teach me that my feelings do not equate truth. God wanted to show me parts of Himself that I might never have known otherwise.

My season of depression is over for now; however, the anxiety can creep in, often unannounced, and leave me reeling. Sometimes the fear is so thick that I just know if I reach out my hands I can touch it. Sometimes the fear and anxiety keep me awake at night.

I know I’m not the only one that struggles. God has taught me much on this journey and I hope that these verses and these words will remind you that you also aren’t alone, you aren’t forsaken, and the God of the universe loves you. He longs for you to trust Him even through seasons where we don’t understand what is happening around us or in us.

For me, praying God’s Word in particular has been one thing that has helped me my heart so much. Sometimes in the depth of despair we don’t feel like we have the words to pray. So, instead, God gives us His own word and we pray it back to Him. We want to be close to God but don’t know how. His Word provides that closeness and nearness of Himself. He gives us Himself through the gift of His Word. His Word can be your lifeline, friend, don’t take it for granted!

Here are some of my favorite verses to pray when I’m struggling. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Read the 5 Psalms For Those with Anxiety at Crosswalk…

More Resources for Anxiety & Depression

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And then, I laughed…

And then, I laughed

Recently I found myself laughing with my children. It was a beautiful thing. What makes this so extraordinary? I realized that I could not remember the last time I laughed with them. It makes me want to cry to admit that to you, but it’s true.

When my babies were little, the Lord took me through the valley of the shadow of death, He allowed me to spend some time in the wilderness. I wasn’t alone. He was there with me in the darkness the whole time. I do not look back on those years with anger or frustration at God.

But, when I look back, I am sad…

The anti-depressants I started began working after a few months. I wasn’t depressed. I could get out of bed. I could prepare meals for my children. I could accomplish my daily to-do lists. I homeschooled my children. I served in my church.

But, I rarely laughed.

It’s been right at two years since I have been off my anti-depressants. Praise the Lord!! Coming off was one of the hardest seasons I faced. I don’t discount the good months I’ve had. In fact, I count it as a miracle that God performed.

I also recently went off another medication that was altering a lot of things about my personality and my hormones. It was helpful, but there were also negatives to it. I’ve been more weepy since going off this particular med. But you know what? I have, at times, missed my sensitive self! It’s ok to cry, life is hard! Why shouldn’t we feel it?

That’s the thing, these medications are GREAT for a time being…but I hope and pray I never have to go back on them again.

I want to laugh with my children. 

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When your children look at you like you’re strange, because you’re laughing? Something is wrong with that picture. My goodness, I feel as though years of my children’s lives have been ruined.

But, God. He can take ashes and create beauty. He can work things out for their good, my good and His glory. He is faithful God.

Why do I tell you all this?

I tell you all this because I know there are some of you hurting and struggling with depression. I know many of you are on anti-depressants. I know many of you are weaning off of them and going through the hardest thing you’ve ever done. I know some of you are praying about starting an anti-depressant…or how to wean off of it…or whether it’s right/wrong to take it to begin with. I know there are desperate mamas out there. I’ve read your emails, your comments, you’ve given me glimpses into your hearts. I know there are so many hurting people in our world today.

You are not alone. I have to share my story so that even one of you can find hope again. I have to remind you (because I needed reminding as well) that God is at work. He isn’t finished with you yet. He is making you into something so beautiful. Everything He makes He says is good, that includes you.

It is my earnest prayer that one day, someday soon, you will laugh again. 

But until then, if you find yourself in the valley, take heart. Cling to Jesus. Practice hope. Don’t lose heart. Pray the Scriptures. Write the Word. Know you are loved and God is for you. Take a deep breath and ask for help.

You are loved, dear one.

7 Ways to Encourage a Friend Struggling With Depression

How to Encourage a Friend Struggling with Depression

I shared a long while ago 5 different things NOT to say to those that are struggling with depression. Today, I want to share some suggestions for giving encouragement to those that are struggling!

So many times when our friends are hurting, we feel at a loss, we don’t know what to say or what to do. This goes for grieving friends, struggling friends, chronically sick friends…anyone who is hurting.

These are things that have encouraged me over the years, but just know that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to encourage someone in the midst of trials. The important thing is the you love them and you try and you keep on being there for her. Don’t have expectations that your encouragement is going to heal this person or miraculously turn their lives around. Just do something to show you care and let that be the reason you do it.

How to Encourage a Friend Struggling with Depression

1. Remember that there is no one way to deal with depression {or grief, or sickness, or loss. If you have a hurting friend, and you reach out without much response, don’t give up. Don’t quit calling. Don’t quit texting. Keep trying. Know that often the hurting friend doesn’t know how to respond either.

2. When you don’t know what to say, don’t be silent. I totally get this one, as an introvert, I often feel like I don’t have the words to say or have no idea how to be an encouragement to someone that is hurting. Send a notecard in the mail with a favorite Bible verses or quote on it. Handwritten notes mean a lot to people. Let’s bring back the handwritten notes! Or send a text saying you’re thinking of them, praying for them, etc.

3. Offer to do mundane/everyday things for your friend. Show up at your friend’s house with dinner. Offer to go over to her house, sit and have coffee at the kitchen table and fold laundry while you chat. Household things completely overwhelmed me when I was in my darkest moments. Not only did they overwhelm me, but then I felt like a failure because I couldn’t keep up with my housework. Text your friend, tell her you’re going to the grocery store and could pick up something if needed. She may turn you down, but eventually she may let you in and tell you what she needs from walmart.

4. Offer to take her children to the park or to your house or to a movie. Another thing I really struggled with and then felt a lot of guilt over was the fact that I couldn’t always pull myself together to do fun things with my kids. It made me feel so much better when Nana or a sister-in-law would take the kids for the afternoon. I knew my kids were having a good time and being well taken care of. This brought me peace of mind.

5. Stick a few meals in your friend’s freezer. Cooking a meal felt like a huge task to me many days. Having something I could pull out and just stick in the oven was SUCH a huge blessing!

6. When you say you will pray for her, pray. You can pray WITH her, but please keep praying FOR her as well. Prayer is not a last resort, it should be what we do all the time regardless. Pray some of these verses for her and with her.

7. Send a note and small gift in the mail. While gifts certainly aren’t everyone’s love language, they do go a long way to show someone you care! This devotional with 40 verses about waiting on the Lord is written just for these kind of times. Send a pretty mug to go with it. Print and frame a lovely Bible verse for her.

What would you add to this list? How have your friends blessed you in times of trial? OR how have you ministered to hurting friends in the past? 

More Encouragement