Mental Health, self care, emotion turmoil, grief, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and just general stress are all things that we suffer from as Christians and as human beings. The fact we are Christians doesn’t mean we do not suffer from the demands of this life and the pain of it all just like anyone else. I realize that as of late, i have been neglecting my personal health and putting all the other demands of life before taking care of myself.These are notes i took from a class at our church conference, “Reach” in St. Louis (The title of the message is “Do you Want to Get Well?”). I have added the references to the bottom. I found the following pieces of advice extremely helpful and very practical for personal sanity and i plan on implementing these pieces of advice. Just wanted to pass this information along and i will post the link for the Audio as soon as it becomes available!
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” John 5:6
- Healthy Diet– There are studies that show that what we eat is connected to our emotional health. Depression has also been linked to bad health according to Dr. Michael Shapiro.
- Regular Exercise– We need to view regular exercise not just as a necessary aspect of our lives, not simply an “add-on”. We need to view this as necessary and a requirement and not just something that would be nice to do. Dr. Shapiro was very adamant that this is an essential part of life and we shouldnt consider it “optional”. Many doctors recommend at least 30min a day.
- Time for Hobby’s– Hobby’s can be a healthy way to disconnect from the pressures of life, issues, and problems. 1 Timothy 6:17 teaches about enjoying the things God has given us. According to Wyndham Shaw, “”we need things that we come back from and say, “I enjoyed that””. One caveat as it relates to hobby is not to let it become an idol and consuming. There is a healthy level and an unhealthy level of disconnecting.
- Vacations– Vacations are important. One of the panelist’s shared that it typically takes him about 36 hours to completely disconnect from work, which i can relate to. We need vacations that are longer than a day. We need quality vacations where we really get away from it all and are not constantly checking our emails which extremely challenging for me (just ask my wife, La Micia!)
- Sleep– It is well studied and well document that sleep is connected to our mental health. If for some reason we cant sleep because we simply cannot “wind down” this is a serious problem and we should consider speaking to a professional about it.
- Sabbatical– This was a topic of discussion as well during the panel. These can be very helpful and sometimes necessary if you have been through a prolonged period of high stress.
The panel of speakers from the class, “Do You Want to Get Well?” included, Dr.Michael Shapiro- Clinical Psychologist, Wyndham Shaw- 40 years of ministry experience, Masters in Psychology & Marriage and Family Therapist, Darren Gauthier- 21 years of ministry experience, Dr. Timothy Sumerlin- a counselor and adjunct profesor at the University of Denver. Combined, they have an amazing wealth of wisdom and information about the topics related to mental health and self care and understand the need for it to be taken seriously in our churches.
DO YOU WANT TO GET WELL? HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS CONDITION? MAKE SOME DECISIONS TO GET WELL.
Book: “Rejoice Always” (2000) By Dr. Michael Shapiro & Dr. Mary Shapiro