Post Marathon Recovery

Have you recently experienced a situation that has left you feeling like you just completed a marathon? Do you feel like you need time to recover, but you are not sure where to begin?

“Life happens.” This is a short phrase that we hear all of the time concerning situations that we are faced with head-on. Two years ago I was faced with a “post-marathon” experience. Within a 6 week period of time, I lost my mother – suddenly, my refrigerator/freezer quit working, my washing machine went kaput, and my dryer no longer produced heat to dry my laundry. Then, within a few more months my stove had to be replaced! That’s a lot in a short amount of time. Trying to deal with the death of a loved one while continuing on with life (working full time, housekeeping, being faithful to church, maintaining relationships) has been a challenge in itself. When you add other mishaps to the equation it can leave us overwhelmed with a myriad of feelings. It can cause mental, physical and emotional exhaustion. Recovery is vitally important to your personal well-being and your ability to continue living a fulfilled life.

The post-marathon recovery process is similar to that of mental and emotional healing. Mental and emotional exhaustion can lead to physical exhaustion. As you continue reading, keep in mind that I am not a licensed professional on this topic, however, I am merely stating what has and is currently working for me.

Rest and Relaxation: Finding time to rest plays a significant role in healing, whether it be mental, physical or emotional. Find your niche for relaxation. There are numerous ways that you can relax.

  1. Simply add extra time to your sleep at night or take a nap.
  2. Start and finish a craft.
  3. Spend a day at the spa.
  4. Read a book.
  5. Go fishing or camping.
  6. Color. (Yes, I do like to color – my books of choice are the kind for children, not the adult coloring books.)

These are just a few suggestions on how you can spend time relaxing. Take a day or two spending time doing something for yourself.

Eat:  This can be taken literally and figuratively.

  1. Feed your body with healthy nutrients. Following a healthy diet has been known to improve physical health as well as mental and emotional health.
  2. Feed your mind. Read the Bible, an inspirational book, or a devotional book. Read something that is encouraging that can lift your spirit and renew your mind.

Meditate:  Webster defines “Meditate” as, “to focus one’s thoughts, reflect or ponder.” The definition also states that it is “for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.”

This does not mean that you have to sit crossed legged on the floor and chant a mantra. Meditating is spending time exercising your mind to focus on one thing at a time. You can meditate prayerfully by keeping your mind on God for a set amount of time. You can ponder His goodness in your life; intentionally pushing out any negative thoughts that may try to seep into your mind. Mediation is a way to allow yourself to breathe in air that will refresh your mind, body, and soul.

Find a Support System: You need to develop a solid support system of friends, leadership, family, etc. that will help you in your time of healing or dealing with the conflicts you are facing. When dealing with the situations in my example above, my support system has carried me. I have been blessed with wonderful friends, family, coworkers, and leadership that I can depend on when I need strength to continue on with life.

When runners decide to run a marathon, they do not start off running 26 miles. They have to work toward a goal, building up their stamina. When “life happens” we do not have time to build up resilience so we can face life head-on. We are suddenly faced with situation overload with no chance of survival. If we are going to get through it, we have to apply self-care techniques.

We will move forward. One step at a time. One foot in front of the other.  It will be ok. We will survive.  It just takes time to heal.

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