Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Stress Management

As much as I would like it to be different, I have a fairly low threshold for stress. That's not a good thing in a family as busy as ours. My first instinct when faced with stress is like the old poem says:
"When in trouble, when in doubt,
Run in circles, scream and shout!"
Not exactly productive is it?

So I have to be very intentional about busting stress before it busts me!  Here are my favorite ideas for managing stress (in no particular order):
  • Watch a funny movie or read a funny book.  Laughter always makes me feel better.
  • Do something creative.  Bake something delicious, paint a picture, make a scrapbook or a necklace...anything that you enjoy and that gives you a sense of accomplishment.
  • Clean the house.  OK, it's not the cleaning itself that makes me feel better, but the end result.  A messy house stresses me out.  Preferably I can find a time when I am home alone and I listen to my favorite music or a great podcast while I clean.  It makes it go by so much faster and then I can relax and enjoy the shiny floors and dust free furniture.  Sometimes that's a quicker and less stressful route to having a clean house than trying to get hubby and the kids to pitch in.
  • Sing.  I'm not a singer by any means, but I love to put on some old gospel songs and really belt them out when no one is listening.
  • Exercise.  The very last thing I want to do when I'm feeling stressed is to exercise, but if I can talk myself into it, I always feel better and sleep better.  It doesn't have have to be anything seriously strenuous.  This is one of my favorite workouts that doesn't leave me feeling exhausted afterward.
  • Talk to another mom and be honest!  It's likely that's she's felt the same way.  At the very least she'll help you feel more normal.
  • Read the Psalms
  • And last, but not least.  If you think you might be depressed, there is no shame in getting help!  Talk to your pastor or someone else you trust.  You may also be able to get free or reduced price counseling through your local university if cost is a concern.  Don't put yourself last!

"Always leave enough time in your life to do something that makes you happy, satisfied, even joyous. That has more of an effect on economic well-being than any other single factor."
- Paul Hawken