How Do You Handle Stress?
Stress had grabbed my entire body.
Recently I realized I had been making my days to be full with no time to just sit and breathe. I would either be on the computer, painting, doing woodworking, making meals, seeing shows, dancing, going for walks or at the gym. S
I read the newspaper during breakfast.
I checked my phone at lunch.
It was only at dinner that hubby and I turned off our devices and concentrated on talking. That usually led to fact-checking on the computer. lol 🙂
My husband and I seldom get mad at each other — certainly not yelling. But this week it happened. I lost my temper — big time.
I felt tired, anxious, upset and mad.
This had happened before!
I wrote about how I felt and how not to get into that situation again. I was stressed.
I’ve written before about that lesson. I have to keep reviewing the lessons myself.
But I realized seeing the stress is not enough.
I needed to look at this deeper. To look at days gone by and learn again so I don’t go down into this mire again. God teaches us to remember in His Word.
Remember your history,
your long and rich history. (Isaiah 46:9, MSG)
This past week reminded me of years ago.
As soon as we started our business, I went back to work as a part-time teacher because there had to be some income and extra health benefits and life insurance. In our second year of business, I went back to full-time teaching while still helping with the business. I also took courses for credit in my teaching profession. And I signed up to be the one in charge of all the athletics in our school.
We had three kids ages 14, 12 and 8. They were in three different schools at one time; high school, junior high and public school. Juggling all those balls took a toll on me, and wrecked my body because I didn’t know how to stop taking on too many things.
I didn’t know I needed to stop.
I didn’t know how to stop.
Over the next five years, my health took a slide downwards.
I couldn’t walk upstairs (knee problems). Lifting my hand above my shoulder (writing on the blackboard became increasingly difficult). I developed TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) so my jaw was very sore. Because I clenched my teeth at night, my whole body ached.
I got angry easily. I yelled. I complained. I ranted.
I was fearful, and not healthy.
I felt stressed every minute of the day.
I was a mess.
I decided to take a half-time position in teaching to see if that helped. I visited a physiotherapist and massage therapist.
But I still kept doing things.
I didn’t stop.
I decided to take a leave of absence from teaching for 2 years. But I went back to our business and upgraded our technology, expanded our office space, and hired two employees. I didn’t stop.
It took some time but finally, I understood.
Two things happened
- I saw the problem.
- I worked at the problem.
A decorative plate reminded me to “stop and smell the roses”. This is what finally helped me — to slow down, take breaks, be still.
We still have this plate in our collection.
In this world that seems to be running faster and faster, we need to STOP.
The quality of time you have for downtime is important to your mental and physical health. It helps deal with stress.
Here are 9 ways to reclaim your peace and health and reduce stress
- Take breaks during the day. Even 10 minutes can refresh your spirit, mind and soul. Take a stroll (notice I didn’t say walk) through somewhere green — with life surrounding you. Dance around for a few minutes to release tension.
- Take deep breaths once an hour to bring in the needed oxygen to your brain.
- Plan vacations. Even small times away can refresh our bodies and spirits.
- Date nights. If you are married, plan date nights with your spouse. Honestly, we forget to do that in our hurried lifestyles. Soon we drift apart. Be there to just be there, to enjoy each others’ company.
- Turn off social media. This has been something that takes away from life — it doesn’t give life. We crave the dopamine that it elicits and we want more. We check our phones way too often. [I am guilty of this.]
- Make a list. Sit down and look at all that you do. List everything out. Then circle the things that give you pleasure. Put a line under the things that have to be done anyway. See what remains. See if you can drop those things.
- My Quiet spot. Whatever you want to call this — find time to be in a quiet spot. If you are a Believer, then sit with Jesus. Discuss things. If you are not, then sit with yourself and talk to yourself. And in both cases LISTEN to what you hear.
- Read. Get a good book and plan time to sit and read. Not scan like we tend to do on computers. But read the book for enjoyment — not for what you can write about it later. lol 🙂 [I am at fault for this.]
- Listen or play music. That has a very calming effect on our souls. Classical music is wonderful to enjoy.
I am not there yet. As I read over my thoughts I need to do at least 4 things. Hopefully, as I do these my mind, body and spirit will recover. I especially need to focus on number 6.
To keep stress at bay I need to stop and smell the roses.
How about you?
My favourite verse from the Bible:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
May I pray for you and me?
Lord, there are so many opportunities to “do” things. All may be good but all might not be in Your will or purpose for us. Help us to focus on Your voice so we can choose only those things that will do Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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Watch for Sunday’s post – it has a linky for sharing your Christian poetry.