Thankful 5- Stress Busters
Perhaps all the prep for Thanksgiving has you stressed you out? No wonder with party and event planning, irregular schedules, disruption in your normal sleep patterns, eating food you don’t normally eat, or quantities you don’t normally, all these can leave you feeling worn out. Add to that the stress (both good and bad) from the increase in more family time. Every family has its quirks right? Well needless to say, stress management at this time of year is crucial. Here are my top 5 favorite things to keep my stress level low. These may not be what help you, but use them as a starting place to brainstorm to find what really does help you break the stress cycle. While we can’t control situations, we can control our response to them and knowing what helps us keep our peace is vital in those moments. It is then the choice becomes easy because we have a go to response to get our minds and emotions clear again.
Prayer- This is my top choice. The go to. Prayer is the best stress reliever for your soul. Personally, I find when I start my day in prayer I’m much more calm, focused, and level headed. When I don’t, it's like my day runs me versus the other way around. Starting off my day with prayer taking time to spend with Jesus brings a peace that can’t be manufactured. Even more so though prayer is great because it is a tool you can use anytime and any place. You can talk with God our Father and get His perspective on whatever you need. When we do, this is what shifts circumstances, atmospheres, and most of all the state of your soul. Our spirit impacts all other components of our being most profoundly, when you start here the rest shift accordingly.
Bath/ Hot Tub- Sometimes you just need to relax your body. There is nothing like nice hot water to relax tense muscles, to calm your heart rate and because of how closely linked our mind-body and soul is, when the body relaxes its so much easier for the mind to relax. Plus, I love how good hot tub time with friends can be therapy for the soul as well.
Walk with Natural Beauty- When nothing else works, I love to get up and get out into nature. There is nothing like God’s creation to bring peace to the mind. That in addition to walking which carries a calming rhythm in and of itself, this combo is great when you’re mentally and emotionally carrying extra stress. It’s amazing out processing things out by spending physical energy works to release anxious thoughts or the weight of complex problems. Maybe that is the athlete in me talking, but the proof is in the physiological benefits of exercise (thank you endorphins). These have a powerful capacity to break the cycles of stress in our mind and body.
Download- This can be done with a journal or with a friend. For those problems that keep coming back nagging the mind and messing with emotions the best remedy I’ve found is to download those thoughts to bring clarity. There is something about writing out a problem and how it is making you feel, that makes it go from feeling insurmountable to easily conquered. Our minds are great at amplifying situations sometimes out of proportion. When the problem is just too close or feels too big sharing the problem out loud with trusted friends or your spouse is sometimes all that is needed to bring it into reality. You get to pick what you experience. Either the nagging seemingly overwhelming problem or by facing it head on you bring it down to size. Chances are you simply need some fresh perspective because you’re too close to the problem.
Fun & Laughter- Man, this one is the one I have to be most intentional with! I have a tendency to be a bit on the serious side, but when I let go and just laugh with friends its easy to see the good in life. To do this one I often only have to say something silly with my husband, and life instantly feels much better. Really, I learn to my husband for how to do this well. I can be all work no play, but my husband, even with being allergic to apathy, still makes plenty of room for laughter and fun in his day to day. The biggest thing I see is many of us wait around for someone else to make fun and get us to laugh, but the truth is we have control over this. Its our choice. You can be all about the seriousness of a situation, or you can choose to look at the situation a different way and find out how you can laugh or make it more enjoyable. Most of us don’t take the time and energy to do this because we think it is a “waste” but what if it is actually the key to making the situation successful? A question just as much for me as it is for you.
Now my challenge for you. Pick one of these and get really intentional with doing it consistently for the rest of this year. I’d love to hear how it changes your perspective on life, your health, and the quality of your relationships. Yes, when we are less stressed all those things are impacted. I’m going to take the challenge as well and choose to create more fun and laughable moments.
Remember, its better to find your rhythm of health, then march to a beat not meant for you!