Over the last week, life got hard. That’s the best way I can express it. I felt adrift, thrown off-kilter, and questioned many beliefs.
Some might say I lost my moorings, and they’d be correct.
For several days, I didn’t practice the daily disciplines I knew ground me. Due to various circumstances, I neglected my time with God, reading his words in the Bible, and journaling. I forgot to talk with God about everything in my heart. Basically, I allowed the cares swirling around me to distract me while abandoning healthy self-care.
You and I can justify the mitigating factors. But the hard truth is I forgot to stay grounded in God.
The result? I became grumpy and disoriented to the point of exhaustion. Gratitude and an attitude of expectation took a long walk in the opposite direction.
Miserable, I sought validation from others.
That’s when life further derailed.
I won’t bore you with the details, but a meeting with my coach, three days of hard work to unravel the mess, and too many lost productive hours later, I pray I’ve learned this lesson well.
In just a few hours, I forgot the healthy habits I’d established and took a few steps backward into unhealthy behaviors.
Let’s look at these five areas to ground yourself in God, practice healthy self-care, and prevent derailing your recovery.
1. Spiritual grounding.
I need daily communication with God through talking to him (prayer), reading the Bible, and journaling. I must feed my soul. Jesus exemplified this in his life. In Mark, we read that Jesus spent time with God early in the morning. Jesus knew his desperate need to connect with his Father regularly. I remain grounded spiritually and face the day energized when I follow this example.
On the days when I start with the news, social media, email, or the like, my attitude takes a beating. I hear or read about what’s wrong with the world, how many fires, crimes, and other negative pieces of information. Instead of feeling grounded and prepared for the day, I’d rather go back to bed and sleep. Who wants to face that outlook? My soul shrivels, and my attitude stinks.
Healthy spiritual self-care means grounding myself in God’s view of the world, not the world’s view of itself or God.
How do you start your day? What does your morning self-care routine do to ground you?
2. Physical grounding.
I’ll never be a star athlete, but some routines help me take care of this body I live in. Walking for at least 20 minutes a day helps fight back the depression and strengthens my respiratory, circulatory, and cognitive systems. Taking care of this body means paying attention to my fatigue levels, eating food to provide energy, maintaining sleep routines, etc.
You don’t become an elite-level athlete feeding your body continual junk, neglecting adequate deep sleep, and skipping rest and rejuvenation periods. How would you describe your physical grounding? What would you put down if I asked you to write out in detail what you need to feel physically fit?
Like spiritual grounding, you and I must understand our physical needs and identify healthy ways to meet those needs.
3. Mental grounding.
How do you know you are grounded mentally? Great question. And why should you care? Almost a year ago, I suffered deep brain fog due to a medical condition. I felt frustrated trying to put two simple sentences together. Information I knew wouldn’t come to the forefront of my mind when I needed it. Several times, I felt embarrassed because I couldn’t get my mind to make sense.
The United Negro College Fund used the slogan “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” in 1972 to convince people about the importance of education. But not wasting your mind means more than filling it with knowledge. The Bible tells us to use wisdom, which is the application of knowledge to a particular situation. It often pairs with discernment, which means to see beyond the surface of the circumstances, or “read between the lines.”
Brain fog prevents you from acting on wisdom. Instead, we tend to react to our circumstances. But mental grounding allows us to tap into these marvelous brains God created, use the knowledge and experience we’ve gathered, add in a healthy sprinkling of discernment, and work through the obstacles we face.
How do you mentally ground yourself for the day? What about when you face a difficult challenge or obstacle? Have you invested in mental grounding, so you don’t waste the miraculous gift of your mind?
4. Emotional grounding.
I look at this as the ability to match my emotions to the situation, not the other way around. Last week, my feelings weren’t grounded, so my response to the circumstances felt abnormal. I couldn’t reconcile my skyrocketing emotions with the stimuli.
I describe emotions as the relief valve on an Instant Pot. Before getting down to the good stuff, you might need to let off some steam. Just make sure you do this safely by following the directions.
- The Bible tells us to be angry but not sin. It doesn’t say don’t be angry.
- We’re told that Jesus wept. But if you look at the story’s context, he didn’t fly out of control.
- In Romans 12:15, God instructs us to rejoice with those that are celebratory and to grieve with those whose hearts are broken.
Allowing your emotions to run your life or refusing to experience any feeling creates undesirable results. Only when we ground our feelings in the truths in God’s Bible can we experience the beauty of our emotions. Jesus tells us to bring all our cares to him, including our emotional struggles.
How would you rate your emotional grounding on a scale of 1 to 5? Today I’m a 3.5, which is much better than a week ago when I was a 1. As humans, we won’t remain a five consistently. That’s okay. But knowing how to assess your emotional grounding helps you identify where you have work to do.
5. Relational grounding.
God created us in his image, which means we need relationships with others. But not just any relationship–healthy ones. You know what I mean. Think about those who always energize you. What happens when you’re with them? Analyze your interactions and identify why these people fill your soul.
Now, do the opposite. What relationships currently drain the life out of you? When you’re with that person or group, you leave feeling like you could sleep for a decade or poke out your eye. Why do you continue the relationship? How could you adjust your involvement or remove this relationship if it’s that unhealthy?
If the only reason you have to stay in this current relational pattern is fear of hurting the other person or group, it’s time to re-evaluate. You can’t control how others respond. You can only control your response, attitude, and action.
When I look at what it means to be grounded in God, I recognize my holistic self-care needs.
Would you take some time today, maybe 30 minutes, to perform a quick self-care assessment? Which of the five grounding areas needs some TLC? Don’t beat yourself up over this. Simply recognize your need and assess. Then brainstorm some ideas to improve a little bit over the next few days.
We can’t live disconnected lives and remain grounded.
These five areas impact our attitudes every day. How can I help?