The best medicine for depression and anxiety is scripture. Nothing convicts, comforts, and redirects like God speaking through His word. When I'm down and discontent the most important thing I can do is seek God and His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33) because nothing else in life will ever truly satisfy me.
But I do think it is important when dealing with a chronic health condition that has no end in sight to pursue at least one hobby, especially if you can no longer work. It may be something like reading or knitting, keeping up with current events or photography. For many of us our former hobbies are no longer possible so we've had to find new hobbies or dust the cobwebs off old ones. Often our hobbies will change depending on how our illness advances or regresses, but having something to distract from the pain and frustration of chronic illness can work wonders on one's outlook. Of course it is a constant battle (at least for me) not to spend too time on my hobbies and thereby neglect spending time with God. So as with all things in life, balance is key.
Cooking has been a hobby of mine for the last several years. I grew up with a mother and grandmother who were good cooks. Most of our meals were eaten at home and I was never underfed. I was busy during much of my formative years as a competitive swimmer and so I never took the time to learn how to cook until I left home. Then I spent 2 years in East Africa and it was there that I began to dabble in cooking, mostly from scratch, since that's all I had! When I was first married I enjoyed preparing meals for my husband and trying out recipes. I was very "health conscious" and tried to cook low fat (mostly because I was consumed with my body image) which I've since learned is not really healthy at all. Cooking is something I still enjoy, but I often find it difficult to shop for the ingredients and prepare meals. So I've resorted to a lot of freezer meals that I've prepared in advance on "better days" or that were given to me by the generosity of my church family and friends. Homemade freezer meals are not a bad option (especially compared to fast food or pre-made dinners), but I know some of what we've been eating is not the healthiest option. But then again what do you do when you're too ill to cook healthy food? It's a hard situation. Thankfully I have an amazing husband who helps out a TON in the kitchen - don't know how I'd make it without him!
During my recovery from surgery I've been researching a lot about nutrition and health. Over the years several people have asked me if I've tried diet modifications for my pain, but I was always doubtful that it would have any effect; plus it's expensive! Well, I'm learning that major diet modification is expensive, but I'm beginning to think there may be more of a correlation between diet and overall health than I realized. I'm in the process of considering some dietary changes for several reasons and I hope to post more about that in the future. But don't worry, this blog isn't going to become a food or nutrition blog (though I love reading those blogs!). My primary purpose of writing is to encourage others and suffer well to the glory of God.
I do, however, want to start a new "column" on the blog. A friend of mine posts recipes she has tried and liked on her blog on Tuesdays for a "Tasty Tuesday" post. I've been enjoying pinning lots of new recipes to try on Pinterest so I thought I'd share some of them when I try them out. Maybe one day I'll actually get to be a real cook with my own recipes to share!
Tonight menu: Spicy Quinoa Stuffed Avocados and 2 Ingredient Cookies (actually I used four: bananas, oats, unsweetened coconut, chocolate chips)
|Definitely need to work on my food photography skills! |
The cookies were pretty good to not have any flour in them. They were a little dry so I had to scrub the cookie sheet a bit for cleanup. I'm thinking a tablespoon of coconut oil might really with this and give them some added taste and nutritional benefit. But this is a great alternative for those trying to avoid dairy, gluten (as long as your oats are gluten free), or sugar (if you omit the chocolate chips)!
What about you....what hobbies have you picked up while dealing with chronic illness? Do you find it helps you cope with your situation better?