How are you feeling, friend? Truly, deeply feeling?
I feel like we need to catch up. Soul to soul.
At our house, Christmas decorations are still in full swing, toys are scattered across the kitchen, and the kids have watched more television in the last few weeks than I ever imagined I would use as a stay-at-home mom.
I’ve been dealing with some newly discovered health issues, so I cut myself some slack.
But it got me thinking.
Whether it’s stress or anxiety, physical debilitation or loss, ALL of us are dealing with something. We all struggle.
And life is so good, but it can also be hard. So, maybe, as we look for a starting point to keep putting one foot in front of the other, we can do it together.
What do you say?
15 Ways to Manage Stress and All the Things
- Breathe. This is something I tell my three-year-old. Breathe in. … Breathe out … Breathe in. … Well, you get the picture. And it’s quickly becoming a staple for me, too. Sometimes I just need a moment to realize the world isn’t ending. Learning to breathe has been invaluable in that respect.
- Prioritize your sleep. I have always been a night owl. But, lately, I’m learning that the more sleep I get, the better I feel. Maybe my age is catching up with me 😂. And prioritizing sleep also means thinking about routine. Circadian Rhythm is a real thing, folks! But you can absolutely use that to your advantage. We see it all of the time with our kids. When they don’t nap at a certain time, or go to bed at a certain hour, there are visible effects. The same is true for us as adults; the difference being, we have to govern ourselves.
- Know your type of rest, and make it a priority. There is a book I’ve been dying to read, called Sacred Rest, by Saundra Dalton-Smith. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I did hear her speak on a podcast once about “The 7 Types of Rest” we’ve been missing, and how to seek true restoration as adults. Think The Five Love Languages, but with rest:
- Look for reasons to be grateful. I once heard this analogy in terms of parenting: when walking through a field of flowers, our eyes are automatically drawn to the one weed — to the one thing going wrong, among all of the right. The same applies to adversity. It might not be one weed; perhaps it’s several. But, I promise you, that among the weeds, there is a field full of flowers. You just have to look.
- Serve. This is something that I learn every time I read a post from one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Matt, over at jesusluvsall. He always uses his trials to bless others, to extend a hand of outreach, and to share the love of Christ. In fact, I can think of many wonderful examples in my life of people who use the experiences God gives them to better love and serve our fellow men. And, if there’s anything I’ve learned from falling down repeatedly, it’s that, often, getting out of your head for a moment and realizing there is someone you can help is a blessing in disguise. Lifting another’s burden lifts yours, too.
- Pray. Sometimes nothing seems to heal the hurt — physical or otherwise. In those cases, I cry. I feel the feeling. But I do it on my knees. Each time I do, my heart is filled with an added measure of peace. In fact, just this week I told God, “It hurts.” “I’m scared.” And God told me, “This is NOT forever.” and “It’s going to be okay.” In a way, adversity reminds me how near He really is.
- Think thoughts that serve you. Your thoughts determine your feelings which determine your behavior, remember? What limiting thoughts do you have that might be holding you back? Think “I am so tired.” versus “I can do hard things.”
- Get outside. I haven’t been able to exercise as much as I’ve wanted to the last little while. Mostly that’s been a mental game, but I’ve still been consciously making an effort to get outside, feel the fresh air, and see the sun. There’s just something healing about nature, both for the body, and for the soul.
- Brainstorm solutions. This is another way of saying know your options. And sometimes that requires work. If you’re like me, whenever you receive bad news you shoot down every possible improvement on the situation. For me, it’s my way of shouting to the world “THIS IS A BIG DEAL!!” But that doesn’t mean it has to be without remedy. Maybe that means changing habits to alleviate pain, or multiple trips to a therapist to find the right one. Maybe it means a change of career. The point is, instead of looking for all of the reasons your life is irreparable, be willing to actively seek solutions. It’s all in the attitude.
- Find community. Look for not only meaningful relationships, but also people who you relate to. People who do difficult with a smile on their face. People who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Be one of them. Share your story. Talk about the hard and the vulnerable. The more you do, the more likely you are to make the most important discovery: you are not alone.
- You deserve therapy. Yep. I’m going there again. If you’ve been here any amount of time you know that one of my favorite quotes is: “You don’t need therapy; you deserve therapy.” And I hold true to that. There are times when a therapist is not the right fit, and you have the right to move on from that. But having someone to help you think thoughts that are in line with where you want to go, or just someone to listen that isn’t a part of your inner circle and being daily affected by your baggage — it makes a huge difference. Therapy just gives you so many tools, and it lifts such a weight to share where your head is at without judgment.
- Forget the stigma of medication. Medication gets a bad rap these days. There is a stigma that you need to find other solutions first, or that medication is unnecessary; just “be positive”, and it will all work out. I am positive that if modern medication can help me be my best self, there is NO shame in that. Don’t rule it out. And, like therapy, don’t be afraid to put in the work to find the best fit for you.
- Give yourself permission to not do what you can’t do. Something my husband told me recently brought so much peace: “Other people’s expectations are on them, not you.” You are the expert on you. You know what works and what doesn’t. That means letting go of “should”, giving yourself some grace, and being okay with what you can and can’t do.
- Make time for things that fulfill you. Knowing that there may be some things you need to let go of, also remember to celebrate the things that make you you! Make time for the things that fulfill you. Develop and share your talents. Grow into your own, and own it.
- Immerse yourself in good words. This might look like empowering music. It might look like scripture. It might look like uplifting podcasts 😉, audio books, or secular reading. It might also look like personal affirmations and self-talk that cheers you on. But immerse yourself in words that are going to help you feel empowered. Here are some I’ve been using this week:
How about you? What do you do when you’re feeling down?
Here’s to taking that next, brave step!
P.S. – If you wanted a printable, I’ve got you covered 😊.