The other day I opened Facebook for a few minutes of downtime. We have had a bunch of stuff going on and I was feeling stressed. I wanted to chill for a few minutes. What I found frustrated me. I found a frilly, floral meme that said, “Too blessed to be stressed.” While I am sure that the person posting meant no harm, it made me mad. How dare they throw around Christian clichés! Then I felt like a horrible Christian because I am blessed.
God met me in my stress and frustration and reminded me of Romans 8:1
There is therefore NOW no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Yes, I am blessed. But, I live in an imperfect world where lots of painful stuff happens. I am blessed and I get stressed. It is okay to say them at the same time.
What do you do with stress? It is impossible to expect it to go away 100% of the time. Sometimes you gotta walk through stuff until it is finished. But there are some things that you can do to make stress easier to live with.
Everything on this list will not work every time you are stressed. These are not like a Monopoly GET OUT OF JAIL CARD. But when I am feeling stressed, it means that one or more of these things are out of balance in my life.
Here goes the list-
- Sleep- I know you already hate me. You are thinking that you don’t have enough time to get everything done and you suggest sleep. Yup! The way God designed our bodies to function included 7-9 hours of sleep a night. You can try cheating for a while but… You already know the problems that it causes you. Get your sleep. BTW, my oldest daughter was a premie. I nursed her every 3 hours around the clock for the first 4 months of her life. I understand trying to function on not enough sleep- it was not pretty.
- Good Nutrition- If you are stressed now, you may be thinking of throwing rotten tomatoes at me. Eat the best that you can. Try to make wise choices but you don’t have to have perfect nutrition. If you are like me, even on the best days, you don’t have perfect nutrition. So don’t try for perfect when you are stressed. If you need a donut, eat 1 or 2, not 12. Generally, people crave more carbs when they are stressed because they are not sleeping enough. Carbs give them an energy boost. But it is false because it spikes your blood sugar. When your blood sugar drops you want more carbs and the cycle continues. One of my first clues that I am stressed is that I want to devour tons of chocolate. What about you?
- Movement- If I said exercise, you may have wanted to hit me. If you like to run or go to the gym to workout, great. I do not. I walk. God designed our bodies for movement. Sitting at your computer staring at the screen for too long can be stressful. Get up and walk around for a few minutes. Pull yourself away from the Netflix binge and move.
- Time with God-If I am feeling busy and stressed, this is one of the first things that goes. Being real here. I rationalize that I have too many things to do and I don’t have time. That is setting me up for a disaster of a day especially if the first 3 items are already out of whack in my life. Spend some time with Him. We are great multitaskers but make excuses when it comes to God. Talk to him when you are in the shower. Listen to the Bible on your drive into work. Even 5 minutes of your day with God is important.
- Time with others- When we are feeling stressed it is easy to get into the mentality of I am too busy to socialize. We start shutting people out of our lives – friends, children, and spouse. Not healthy. God built us as relational beings for a reason. We need each other. Many times my husband or daughters will notice stressful words or behaviors in my life before I notice them myself. Make time for that phone call, that cup of coffee, or that family dinner you have been pushing further down the calendar.
- Time for yourself- I try to do something special for myself every day. When I am feeling stressed this is one of the things that disappear. Your special things will be different than mine but they don’t have to be anything big, expensive or fancy. They just need to be something that makes you smile. I might sit on the front porch and watch the hummingbirds for a few minutes or fireflies at night. I found a $3 candle at Walmart the other day: I love the aroma of apple spice. In our previous house, we had a claw foot bathtub and I would take a bubble bath. I want a German shepherd someday, I might spend a few minutes on the internet looking at pictures of them. You get the idea. Do something special for yourself every day.
- Take your medication-This one may not apply to you. I have way too many environmental allergies; I live off of prescription stuff to keep it under control. If I am feeling stressed, it is much easier for me to miss a dose. Then I feel miserable and the stress cycle seems worse. Take your medications as prescribed.
If you have some other ideas on how to deal with stress, let me know in the comment section. When it comes to dealing with stress, I can use all the help I can get. Thanks!