Stress. No one is immune.
We all know we should follow Bobby McFerrin’s advice
But seriously if it were that easy. Just say the words and the flip would be switched, and we could just wipe that worry away and just be happy. C’mon now; while that song is a nice ideal, it is completely unrealistic. We don’t just say the word and POOF! All anxiety is gone. So here are my top 5 ways to eliminate and relieve stress in our lives because it is detrimental to overall health and stability. Oh and it would be nice to finds way to deal that don’t involve eating our weight in pizza or cookie dough ice cream (not speaking from experience at all).
1. Just say no. That old War on Drugs campaign spoke the truth. In a world that tells us we can do everything, should do everything and do it well, learn to say NO. I think society tells women in particular that they can be and have it all…a badass businesswoman, a devoted mother, a life of the party friend, an attentive wife and a philanthropic volunteer. It has almost gotten to the point that if you can’t seem to juggle a career, your kids baseball games, the PTO bake sale, girls night out and extravagant date nights seamlessly and effortlessly all at once, you are made to feel like a failure. Well, I hate to burst your Hubba Bubba bubble, but you can’t do it all. You are one person with only so much time so start saying NO and stop feeling guilty about it. Don’t give me the “but I can’t line”. You can and should. Put on your big girl pants and decline requests and offers if it is going to load your plate with epic size portions. A sign that it is too much…you are no longer a pleasant person and could rip someone’s head off at the drop of a hat.
2. Let It Go. Turns out that ice cold princess had some words to the wise as well. This ties in very closely with point numero uno. Examine your current life duties and activities in order to determine what you can give up. Now, I know exactly what you are gonna say before you even say it…”but there is honestly nothing I can give up.” Well I am calling
There is SOMETHING you can drop. I promise. My husband in his infinite wisdom and laid back personality always calls me out on this, and I of course take it with the utmost grace and humility, agreeing wholeheartedly.
Sure maybe you don’t have a responsibility that you can give up – your kid still needs to get to school and you still need to pay your bills – but maybe you are wasting time in other ways…
Does your house really need to be that spotless? I mean not too many people are looking at your baseboards, and if they are, maybe suggest they come and clean them?
How many times per day do you scroll through social media?
Can you hire something out? Maybe the neighbor boy would like a little spending cash and could mow your lawn or shovel your drive.
Can you simplify your meal prep? (I have GOBS of good tips on how to eat healthy the lazy Mom’s way 😉 ).
So spend a concentrate amount of time today looking at your life and figuring out what you can remove. There is something. Guaranteed.
These first two tips are the most essential in my opinion because they don’t just help alleviate stress, but they prevent it in the first place. I mean wouldn’t you rather experience less stress overall rather than trying to implement techniques to relieve it? Or maybe I am just crazy because that is a complete possibility too.
I wish that none of you would experience any kind of stress because it puts the “Mean Girls” to shame.
However, the reality of life is that no matter how well we do at creating a stress free life, there will always be some; it is honestly inevitable. So here a few additional tips that help ease your stress.
3. Get Outside of Yourself: Let’s call a spade a spade; we are selfish people. We are so caught up in our own little worlds and lives that it is easy to make mountains out of mole hills and let our situations be all consuming. I have to break it to you, 99 times out of 100, there is someone else who has it worse. If we just took some time to step outside of ourselves and put our attention and focus on others, we would see that maybe things are not so bad. Basically, perspective; it is a beautiful thing. The next time you are feeling weighed down by your life situation, stop thinking about it and do something for someone else – it could be as small as saying a compliment – and watch the magic happen.
4. Give it to God: Of course, we know we can pray about it, and honestly this should be your number one course of action. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, 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). Remember too that prayers don’t always have to be long winded or even eloquent. Sometimes, a simple “Jesus, I trust in You” will bring about peace.
But I am going to suggest something even further; give the uncontrollable stressful situation to God as a prayer and offering, enduring the suffering of it with joy knowing that He will use it for good. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1: 2-4). The Lord will delight in your sacrifice and reward you for it. Remember too that He understands; Jesus himself was without sin, but not without stress and suffering. Follow His lead in accepting your suffering that causes stress and pain, knowing that He will use it as a crucible to refine you for Heaven.
5. For all practical purposes: The aforementioned strategies are my favorite for real, sustainable handling of stress. I think they truly get to the root of the problem instead of just assuaging it. However, they aren’t exactly easy, and will take time and practice. In the meantime, here are few practical tips for immediate stress relief so you don’t end up eating like a small farm animal because we all know that is the number one response to stress.
A. Brain Dump: I LOVE this practice, and it works extremely well when you are busy and have a lot to do. Basically, you just write everything down. Sometimes the details of life can swirl in our brains, and simply writing it all down in an organized fashion causes some instant calm.
B. Exercise: And I am not just saying this because I am a fitness trainer. So much of our stress is caused by mental and emotional suffering so simply using our bodies, working hard and shutting down our brains for 30 minutes will be a welcome relief. Plus, those endorphins produced while sweating are going to help counterbalance the stress emotions.
C. Relationships: Invest in people. It is always worth it, and when you are feeling stressed “lean into” your people. Let them help you and be your strength and support. Play with your kiddos for some carefree fun, have lunch with a dear friend for good conversation and camaraderie. Spend some time before bed presently talking with your spouse. The power of community is huge.
D. Self-Care: You can’t do your responsibilities of life and take care of other people if your tank is completely empty so make sure that you are taking time to slow down and be. This goes back to the first two points of making sure that your plate isn’t so full that you don’t have time to sit and relax. Self-care options are endless; find some that you enjoy.