Managing Stress when Life Happens
How does the saying go? When life hands you lemons…? Well, sometimes I think life throws a fast-pitch or life jerks on, but doesn’t pull out, the rug under your feet so that you can test your balance and reflexes. I don’t believe in the notion that life is full of misery or that life just sucks. Entirely the opposite. However, I do believe that because we are all interconnected, choices other people make in life affect us and force us to check ourselves, our motives, our philosophies, and our faith.
This week has been one of those weeks for me.
At the beginning of the week, my youngest daughter came home with some news that really rocked my world – and I’ll probably share those details later, but not now. I have been processing this internally all week, and how what’s going on with her affects me. I’ve been happy, sad, doubtful, faithful, confused – probably every emotion possible. One thing it did surface for me was an appreciation for my parents and what they must have felt when I was a young adult making choices and decisions that they really had no control over. They loved me and only wanted the best for me and had to let go and have faith that God was looking out for me. I am doing the same for my daughter. She will find her way in the world, and hopefully she will know that all along the way, she has her mother and sister by her side.
In addition to my-world-rocking news, I have had a rough week at work. I’ve had to do my job of editing and managing a small team of writers plus cover for my boss who has been on vacation. I’ve had to manage a phase of our project through to publication not knowing much about the company’s tools or processes, and had to learn on the fly. This, coupled with worrying about my daughter, has stressed me out beyond belief.
How have I managed the stress? I had set a goal at the beginning of the week to do some sort of activity every day this week. Early in the week I walked and ran three miles each day, and then a four mile walk (no run, so it was easier) on Wednesday. Thursday was another walk (easy one) and yesterday was a lot of yard work (mowing, pulling weeds). This all counts for activity.
I have learned that activity and exercise really helps relieve stress. That, coupled with eating right – which I’ve been trying to do also – really reduces the impact stress has on my body. In previous years, this level of stress would have caused a flare up of my fibromyalgia to the point that I would be unable to do anything for a couple days. Not so today. For this, I am extremely grateful.
I also try to focus on the positive. The more I practice focusing on the positive and finding the blessing in things, the easier it becomes to feel it in my bones and to know that no matter what, I’m always going to be okay. I have a deep faith that life is meant to be good and that God never gives me more than I can handle. This doesn’t mean I don’t cry, don’t get hurt, don’t feel angry or frustrated at times. I do, because I’m human. I just don’t let myself get carried away by those emotions. The more I act as if life is always happy and joyous – even if I don’t 100% believe it in the moment – the more it truly turns out that way.
Life isn’t always smooth waters – sometimes you have to jump the wake, or ride it, and in doing so, you feel the blessing of life – living, feeling, experiencing, creating memories.
It’s all good.