Ok, so I am not in Vietnam; but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to start out on that note! I want to start out talking a little bit about stress management. For a lot of us who struggle with long term illness we often find we become (or were born) the kind of person who is all over the place. We want to do everything we can to get better! The result? We try this therapy then that therapy. We take this supplement then that supplement. We go to this class and read that blog. We read fifty different diet and lifestyle books… and try to follow every single one. Am I the only one guilty of this? No, I didn’t think so. (over thinkers unite!)
Unfortunately this often leaves us tired, stressed, and at times unable to sleep. We are just trying to do what is best for our bodies but, in reality we can be undoing all the good we originally set out to do. As this is something I have personally experienced I thought a good start to this blog would be to tell you all one thing.
Stop. (Collaborate and listen🎶)
No seriously…stop….take a few deep breathes….now check out a few of the things I have found personally helpful in my quest to de-stress.
1. Find a hobby
Mine is crocheting. I couldn’t stand the feeling of doing nothing however; I was too exhausted to do anything substantial so I found a relaxing distraction that allowed me to turn my brain off and still be doing something semi useful. (Everyone needs leg warmers right?) You can find something too. All that is needed is an activity you enjoy and one that doesn’t add stress. An idea may be walking, gardening, card making, scrap booking, sewing, collecting, puzzles or even cooking. Resist making this activity a job or deadline orientated. I know it can be a struggle. I do sell my crochet projects on the side and I’m obviously doing this. I have learned though when you go all gung ho….second (or third) job style… It really defeats the purpose of relaxing. Which brings me to my second point.
2. When you say yes to one thing, you say no to something else
This is really important to remember. There is only so much space in one day. In order to make the most of it, do the important things first. If family game night is important to you, skip that sports game on TV. If you already have three up coming dead lines at work; resist taking on more in your personal life. If Jimmy is in soccer – do you always have to be the chauffeur? These scenarios are just examples of choices we make everyday. You might think you can’t say no but remember….you all ready are saying no, just don’t always realize it. Your life is made up of the choices you make each moment of the day. If you really want to help your recovery, make a choice to do less.
3. Say yes to more sleep
Remember what we just talked about? Well, getting more sleep is a choice and a choice we should all make. New studies show that even just 30 minutes less sleep per night actually increases your likelihood of developing major health problems. Sleep is very important in the recovery process of any illness. Your brain literally detoxifies while you sleep. If you don’t get enough sleep your brain cannot get rid of enough toxins. I don’t know about you but, I don’t want my brain floating in toxins. Now I understand that sometimes life is what it is, do the best you can. Don’t stress out about perfection. Start by trying to get 30 extra minutes per night then you are getting now. Baby steps girlfriend. 😉
4. Take 10
Ladies (and gentlemen) sometime we need a time out! I reached the ripe old age of 24 😆 and realized I had no idea how to relax. Hours in front of the TV just is not the same as sitting quietly and doing some deep breathing. Just ten minutes a day can make a huge difference. When I began to do this I noticed instead of feeling lethargic I felt energized after my “time out.” It takes a little bit of training your body and mind but, it is so worth it. When the day starts to take a toll on you, take 10.
5. Remember that things take time.
When you start a new treatment, supplement, or dietary change don’t expect everything to get instantly better. Most doctors want you to stick it out at least three months. Your skin is regenerates every 27 days. Your brain rebuilds itself in one year. Nothing happens overnight. Don’t get discouraged if things take longer to heal. Get encouraged that your body does actually heal itself! There is hope. Sometimes you get worse before you get better but just relax and commit yourself to being in it for the long haul. “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, it became a butterfly”
6. Start your day off right
This is one of the most important things I can say. Start your day off with God. The Bible says “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee.” (Psalms 55:22) “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1Peter 5:7) He cares for us and sustains us. When we start our day off by laying our cares on Jesus we are free to be sustained by the strength God gives. We can’t rest until we let go. If we start off our day by holding on to everything and through out the day we pick up more and more…. eventually we will not be able to hold it all. Something is going to fall, many times you will fall with it. Some advocate meditation or self awareness, but in my experience meditation pulls you inward. Devotion time with God pulls your focus away from yourself and onto his desires and his love for others. Pour out your stress to God and allow him to pour his joy into that space, then share that joy with the world.
These are just a few of the ways I hit the pause button. When my mind becomes over active, and the stress of chasing my health overwhelms me; I have to breathe and remember that stress is the enemy. Often times causing more damage then my original problem. Remember to take all things slow. We didn’t get sick overnight, and we are not going to get better overnight. When you are sick or stressed you need to remember that taking a break does not make you lazy. It helps you heal. There is hope and healing for all.
So get ready, set, STOP.