I stumbled across this post at Modern Mrs. Darcy a month or so ago. I love the idea of keeping a list of things that are saving our lives and giving us life, especially in the midst of heartache, brokenness, grief or painful seasons.
So as I emerge from April and walk through the season of grief of the anniversary of my dad’s death, I thought I would take a minute to reflect on the things that are saving my life right now. Some of these were intentional steps I took in anticipation of going through this difficult season. Some of them were less intentional, but just as important and necessary in my life right now.
1. dance parties
This past Friday was a rough day for me. I felt the familiar sadness and depression rising up. I couldn’t escape the feeling of being overwhelmed and the thoughts of failure that always come along with it. I was afraid the whole weekend was going to be a disaster, but God used my amazing family to literally turn my mourning into dancing.
Saturday night as we were throwing something together for dinner (because meal planning is the last thing I want to do when I’m feeling sad and overwhelmed), my daughter turned up the music on our new Bluetooth speaker (have I mentioned I love this thing?!) and an impromptu dance party broke out in the kitchen. I’ve mentioned before that I love dancing. But seriously, I LOVE dancing! Sweat was rolling down my back and I was grinning from ear to ear because there is not much that could make me happier than dancing with my family in our little kitchen.
And when my daughter turned to me and said, “I’m so glad you’re my mom. I love dancing with you.” my heart almost burst! Honestly, I used to dream about having dance parties with my kids when I became a mom. That’s a dream come true right there.
While music is pretty much guaranteed to put me in a better mood, listening to audiobooks occupies my mind and gives me something to learn. Using idle time while washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, folding clothes, and driving in the car to listen to audiobooks has become one of the absolute best uses of my time. (You can get two free audiobooks from Audible when you sign up here.)
3. Common Prayer A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals
My friend Megan of the brand new Sorta Awesome podcast recommended this book to me awhile ago, but I just recently got it and have been trying to read it on a daily basis. During difficult seasons it can be hard for me to pray. At the same time, I am becoming more and more drawn to the liturgy of the church. So this book gives me words and a way to connect to God that has been very life-giving to me.
4. the gym and my friend Meghan
I am so thankful to have a gym membership and for a friend to meet there twice a week. We drop our daughters off in the kid’s area and then spend the next hour and a half running and lifting, talking about everything from where to find the best running leggings to serious theological stuff, laughing, and hopefully losing a few pounds along the way.
But regardless of my weight loss, or lack thereof, this time has become so important to me: both to nurture and grow my friendship with her (something I desperately needed in my life when we started back in January) and to get myself back into shape in anticipation of running a 10K race in June.
5. a gratitude journal
I’ve heard about people keeping gratitude journals for a long time, but never took the initiative to start one myself. Toward the beginning of last month, I couldn’t help but feel like I needed to write down the amazing things that had happened during my day, to make space for and honor the many things I am grateful for every day. It helped to carry me through, and I can already tell this is going to be really important for me in the days and weeks to come too.
6. taking supplements
I can truly tell such a big difference in my mood when I take my supplements regularly. I currently take Cod Liver Oil, Vitamin D, probiotics and a prenatal vitamin (not pregnant, just have them left over from my last pregnancy). I’m also planning to add 5HTP, because I’ve heard good things about it from trusted friends. (I’m not a doctor, so please don’t take this as medical advice. I also won’t recommend specific brands, you’ll need to do your own research.)
7. getting outside
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the weather has been gorgeous and we’ve been able to get outside. We have been spending our Sabbaths as a family out in nature and it has been exactly what my soul has needed. Last Sunday, we hiked through the woods at a local state park and sat on a log while our kids waded in the water and attempted to skip rocks. This Sunday, we headed up to the beach at Lake Michigan – one of our very favorite places in the world. We ran into good friends and the kids had a blast digging and building sand castles. The adults just relaxed in the sun. It was perfection!
What’s saving your life right now? Tell us in the comments.
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