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Helping Someone You Love Through Challenging Times

Support from family and friends is an indispensable component of success when recovering from tough times. Alone, those suffering with stress are more vulnerable to a cascade of issues, even when appearing to have their concerns under control.

Anyone who has someone in their life struggling with major life issues may wonder what role they can play in their loved one’s recovery. One way family and friends can support someone they care about in an impactful way is by helping them to get their lives back on track.

Whether you or someone you love is trying to regain their stride following a divorce, job loss, health event, or other trauma, there is hope. Read on for tips to help them get started.

Defining Recovery

Recovery is a word tossed around relating to various types of mental and physical health concerns. It is also an important concept relating to overcoming challenging times. As Psychology Today explains, recovery is a way to summarize all of the benefits of positive self-care management and maintenance. All aspects of personal health — physical, mental, emotional and social wellness — are included in recovery.

Tools for Recovery

Recovery varies from individual to individual, but finding positive coping strategies is typically at the core. Actions like meditation, time in nature, exercise and de-cluttering can become tools in decreasing daily stress loads and increasing emotional resilience. They can be incorporated into your loved one’s self-care program, bringing balance and well-being into the forefront of life.

It can sound like a lifestyle-overhaul, but a few minutes here and there can make a world of difference. Taking a break before breakfast for meditating on God’s Word going for a walk with the family dog, and spending ten minutes or so doing housework can be enough to breathe new energy into the day. The key is to avoid over thinking it. Look for opportunities that are enjoyable, and make them convenient, rather than a chore.

Rethinking Finances

Tight funds are a common cause of stress, as Financial Web explains. If your loved one is currently struggling because of a rocky financial situation, a balanced budget can bring stability and peace of mind. It’s important to identify where each dollar is going, get spending under control, and ensure basic necessities are covered. A budgeting app like Mint or PocketGuard can help tremendously.

You or your loved one may be trying to come up with ways to earn more money. Looking for a job with a higher salary is one possibility, but what if someone is more interested in striking out on their own? If this is the case, it might be time to think about starting a side hustle or even working to launch a small business.

Whether growing a business while working at another job or focusing on this endeavor as a full-time project, it’s important to think about filing an LLC for the new company to keep personal assets protected. Just make sure that the name selected for the business is truly unique! For example, if you registered your business under your name, you may want to register for a DBA, which allows you to operate under a separate name. Learn more about DBAs here.

Family and friends are a crucial part of recovering from stressful times. Often, the greatest impact a friend or family member can make in someone’s life is to remind them they care. Listening, supporting, and offering assistance when asked can make the difference between feeling supported and feeling alone. Offer love, positivity and tools when appropriate, and eventually tough times can become a distant memory, leaving resilience in their wake.

Article submitted by June Lawrence

Following Christ’s Example: Forgiving Ourselves during Addiction Recovery

Perhaps the greatest example of forgiveness in the Bible was provided by Jesus Christ himself. Jesus’ forgiveness of Judas has given rise to much debate as to why the Messiah kept the traitor ‘in the fold’, even though he knew what lay ahead. Jesus first noticed that Judas had changed when his disciple grew distant, and soon after, he foresaw that Judas would ‘hand him over’ to those who would end his life on earth. Yet He kept Judas by his side as a sign of his love for Man, despite all his flaws. Jesus had already forgiven Judas, who was unable to forgive himself; Judas did away with his life, unable to come to terms with having hurt the Son of God.

Those who are in recovery from an addiction to substances or alcohol can probably relate with the strong feelings of guilt experienced by Judas. When one is under the throes of addiction, one can burn many bridges and hurt those who most love us. Hurt can be caused by lying about the extent of our problem, perhaps taking from others to feed our addiction, or letting people down in important moments in their lives. When we commence our journey towards recovery, one of the hardest obstacles to face lies in stopping ourselves from indulging in self-blame, judgment, and criticism.

Guilt can be useful; it reminds us that we should act responsibly since no man is an island; we are all interconnected and everything we do can either help or hinder those we love. However, when guilt turns into shame, nothing productive can result and we can either distance ourselves from those we should be approaching, indulge in self-destructive behavior (for instance, by relapsing into drug use) or become overwhelmed by our problems and lose the ability to think clearly and problem-solve.

We should look to Christ himself to understand the extent to which he was capable of loving even the most flawed of men and try to give ourselves a little of this love. With a kind and self-compassionate heart, our road towards recovery becomes easier and we have faith that God will help us rebuild vital relationships with friends and family. In a positive frame of mind, we logically feel more motivated to take part in activities that will enhance our quality of life and indeed enable us to live longer in a happier state. These activities can include taking part in physical activity, learning natural ways to control our anxiety and stress, and cooking healthy, seasonal foods to feed the temple that is our body.

As postulated in Corinthians, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.…”

The best way to start forgiving yourself, is by focusing on how you make others’ lives better. Ask yourself what your family members, for instance, need to be happy. Do you have a sibling who would benefit greatly from talking to you about their problems? Does your parents’ lawn need mowing? Are there any chores you can help a friend out with today that will lighten their burden? Focusing on making others happy has two main benefits – firstly, it keeps your mind on the task at hand and gives you an important focus for the day. Secondly, it helps you strengthen ties which may have been broken by your addiction. There is a third, less obvious benefit, however; by helping others, you help yourself build a sense of self-worth. By letting others rely on you, you begin to understand the extent to which you are important to their lives.

Once you have set the ball rolling with respect to family members, head for a quiet, relaxing spot (such as a park or other natural area) and ask yourself what would make you happy. You might decide to start a hobby you have always wanted to do, or take up a sport you always excelled at. Whichever means you choose to be kind to yourself, make sure it is a source of joy and don’t place expectations which are too high on yourself. Jesus embraced the poor, needy and flawed; do you think you can spare a bit of this kind of compassionate love for yourself?

This article was submitted by Helen Rhodes, Freelance Writer