This seems to be a common theme among my friends lately! I wrote about it earlier this week in https://31todayswoman.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/the-long-sleepless-nights/. I have friends and family members facing everything from planning funerals today to preparing for heart surgery. Some are just overwhelmed by routine stressors in their life. Others find themselves in new positions and uncertain how to handle it.
Personally, we are just busy! The end of the month means my husband’s work days are incredibly long. Halloween, while great excitement for the kids, adds the stress of costumes, candy, trick-or-treating, and safety for us parents. As a teacher, well, let’s just say not many teachers like teaching Halloween day or the day after!
So how do we handle our stress? Do we try to eat our way into calm and comfort? Do we take warm baths with candles? Go for a long run? Tune out the world with a good book? Dive into Candy Crush Saga?
I do all of the above! Well, skip the candles in the bathroom. I also bite the heads off of anyone who crosses my path, don’t sleep well because of the worry, and I feel angry! Why would we WANT to feel stressed out all the time?! Yet, many of us bring it onto ourselves.
Here is my humble advice!
1. We worry too much about the negative and lose focus on the positive. I watched a video this week of a motivational speaker who said that we can hear 37 positive remarks from our boss and 1 comment about a “growth opportunity,” and all we focus on is the 1 negative. Take one minute to step back and be thankful for the positives.
2. Say no! Don’t overextend yourselves or your families! We have NOTHING planned for tomorrow! I knew my kids needed a Saturday free from all activities. It will be the first in 10 weeks that we haven’t had plans. We all need a chance to catch our breath. I envision a day of movies, popcorn, playing in piles of leaves, and reading books! That is it!
3. Prioritize! I don’t mean in order of importance, but in order of control. Think of the things you can save for another day. For example, the laundry that is washed and dried, but not put away. It can wait until this weekend. Everyone has enough in their closets and drawers for another day. The ironing can wait! Then think of those things you can’t control. My father is undergoing a heart procedure Monday. The past 16 years have been tumultuous with bouts of heart disease due to early onset diabetes. I can’t do anything about his heart procedure. So I pray! This one goes to God. He is far more powerful, all knowing, and has way more medical ability than I do anyway. God gets to have control over this circumstance. Finally, which stressors do you need act upon today? The car is past inspection. This issue must be dealt with right away! God isn’t going to do this for me. I can’t put it off until tomorrow. This one goes to the top of the list, just under prayer. It isn’t more important than my father, but praying is all I can do for him. I choose to spend my energy focusing on the one I can fix.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of God. He guides us through heartache, storms, and those days full of stress. He can take the worry onto Himself. He can carry you through. You don’t have to do it alone. He didn’t create you to do it alone. If you try to navigate this life without Him, you are destined for epic failure!
Allow God to help! Make time in your day to read your Bible, pray, and thank God for your blessings! Of all the things on your to-do list, these are the most important. They will help guide you through the list and provide rest, comfort, and calm in your day.