We live in a very busy world. People are constantly going to and fro. Family, work, children, church, volunteering, school, sports, friends, clubs, and the list could go on and on and on with the myriad of activities that people use to fill up their time.
On top of all the busyness, there are problems at work or problems at home. Your boss keeps adding to your job description. You’re barely able to keep up, but he just keeps adding to the load. At home you and your husband had another fight last night about money. Or one of your children is having problems at school, and you have yet another meeting with her teacher.
Everybody has it, but most of us don’t handle it well. We become short-tempered, depressed, or withdrawn. We feel tired, overworked, overwhelmed, and underappreciated. We want just 1 uninterrupted hour to ourselves so that we can finish that book or take a relaxing bath, but as soon as you get in the tub or open that book another “crisis” happens that it appears only you can handle.
We’ve all been there. We have all been stressed out and at the end of our ropes. Just yesterday I was stressing about the fact that I am temporarily without a car. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but my grandmother fell earlier in the week and is now in the hospital. I have no way of getting to the hospital to check on her and talk to the doctors.
Stress isn’t a bad thing though, and it isn’t always caused by bad things. In the right amounts, stress can challenge us and stretch us beyond what we thought we could do.
Stress becomes a problem when we overload ourselves. Whether it is with activities or knowledge or emotional upheavals, too much stress can have devastating effects on your well-being.
Stress can kill you if left unchecked. It can cause a multitude of health issues. From heart disease to sleeplessness, stress can have a huge impact on your body. I speak from experience.
About 3 years ago when I was still teaching, I was diagnosed with secondary post-traumatic stress disorder. It is also known as compassion fatigue. I had stopped eating. If I did eat, I would start vomiting. I wasn’t sleeping at night. I lost 25 pounds in a one month period. I was having other health issues as well. I almost collapsed under the stress.
It was a difficult time and it led up to me quitting my job. Almost 3 years later and while I miss the children, I still have no desire to go back to teaching. In fact, I have felt panicked when I visit a school or preschool and go into the classroom.
The problem was that I didn’t know how to handle the stress of dealing with a classroom full of traumatized preschool children. While I believe my supervisors did what they thought was their best to support me, I wasn’t always given the type of support that I needed.
It was a learning experience, and since then I have been learning tools to help me cope when I become stressed or to help me avoid an overload of stress. Here are a few of my tips to help let go of stress:
- Make your relationship with the Lord your #1 priority.
- Commit to living a healthy lifestyle. Exercise. Eat healthy. Get enough sleep.
- Find a rhythm that works for you. Create routines and rituals that help your life flow.
- This is not about getting enough sleep although that is important. This is about making time for you to relax. Indulge in a pedicure or dive into that book. Whatever it is that helps you relax do it. Indulge yourself.
- Use opposite actions which is basically doing the opposite of what your natural reaction is. For example, if someone asks you to plan the fall festival at your church and your natural inclination is to say “yes” even if you don’t want to do it, say “no.”
- Find a good circle of friends.
- I have been learning about using essential oils, and aromatherapy has many benefits. It can help you to relax or give you more energy depending on the scents that you choose.
When you are able to let go of the stress, then you are able to rest in God and let Him revive you and be your strength.
Rest in Him, and He will show what really matters.