"Opinion" Taking time to heal

Jennifer Bonn

Jen Bonn

The people who know my passion for running will think this article is about recovering physically, but although that is important, I also know that healing mentally is vital as well. We need to be strong both mentally and physically and when one is out of balance, the other is thrown off as well. No matter what your story is, our day-to-day lives are demanding and sometimes we need to take a step back, regroup, reflect, and renew in order to heal and regain that balance.

On a regular day, we interact with all kinds of personalities, we solve problems, we are creative and innovative and by the end of the day, it can sometimes feel as if we have been through a battle. There has to be some time to recover from our daily struggle.

I love being around people and as a teacher, I am often surrounded by a certain amount of chaos. I spend the day hearing my name called a million times and I love it, but when I come home, I need some quiet. I love the peacefulness when there is no noise, no one who needs me, and no need to speak.

We need quiet time to process everything we have experienced during the day. One of my favorite ways to renew is to go out on our porch and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood. It is a time when I don’t have to answer a question or solve a problem. I can renew in other ways as well whether I take a walk, read, write, cook, or do something else that is soothing. When I make this renewal a regular practice, it changes my attitude towards everything else I do.

Being in nature can be restorative. I love being outside because it always seems to energize and calm me at the same time. It is difficult to feel anxious when we are surrounded by such beauty. Taking a walk or a bike ride or sitting outside will lift your spirits.

Reduce the stimulation around you for at least thirty minutes each day. Put your phone away, turn off any other technology and give yourself some time to disconnect.

On the occasional bad day, we all need some time to recover from mistakes we made or unkind words that may have been said. Use positive self-talk, give yourself some grace, learn from any mistakes, and apologize when it is necessary.

We also need to take time to heal our souls. Life can become so busy that we forget how important it is to grow spiritually. We need time to read the Bible and pray.

Music can be a great way to heal. Find your favorite music and relax and listen. On a recent trip with two friends, we listened to the music we had grown up with and swapped funny stories from our childhood.

Reading is another way to destress. I can become completely lost in a story and forget about time as I follow the characters through the plot. I can leave my reality for a short time and immerse myself in someone else’s adventure.

Spending time with animals has always been a great way to decompress for me. Animals love you completely and they crave spending time with you. Our next-door neighbor has a dog that acts as if he is over the moon to see you to the point that he will start to howl, and even though I know he acts that way to almost everyone, it still lifts my spirits.

Cooking has always been a way to relax for me even though I am not a very good cook. There is something comforting about being in the kitchen where we produce and consume the food we need to survive. Have you ever noticed that when you have guests over, everyone gravitates to the kitchen?

Sometimes the best answer to being worn out mentally and physically is to curl up and catch up on sleep. A good nap on a rainy day can make you forget any troubles you may have.

Practicing gratitude is an important exercise in healing. List all the things you are thankful for, and any problems you encountered during the day start to fade away. Realizing all of your blessings instead of focusing on burdens will make you feel better.

My friends will not think I wrote this unless I mention that running for me is the ultimate escape. When I am running, I feel such a sense of peace, as if any stress is just falling off behind me. I can work out problems, generate ideas or simply listen to music. Running is what I turn to first when my emotions are out of balance. If running is not your sport choose anything that is an active activity.

Find the activities that you need that will help you relax, reflect and renew. It does not matter what the activity is as long as it is one that will help you when you take time to heal.

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I am passionate about running, parenting, education, and self-help information. I enjoy writing articles that will offer readers the information needed to help them in some way. I recently retired from teaching French and Spanish for forty years. I run every day and have done all kinds of races from 5ks to ultra-marathons. I have three children and three grandchildren. I write for several magazines in my area, I am a contributor and in charge of the Pinterest board for a parenting magazine called Screamin Mamas, and I have a second book about to be released through Loving, Healing Press called 101 Tips to Ease Your Burdens.

Kennesaw, GA

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