How I plan to reduce stress

Reducing stress

Stress… ahhh! One of my biggest enemies. I am a worrier. My mother used to tell me I was a worry wart. Maybe it’s in genes, it’s just who I am, my introverted self that makes me overthink everything, or I could blame it on whatever I wanted. Bottom line, it wasn’t until my anxiety was through the roof, that I decided it might be a good idea to start being proactive about my worries and stress.

 

I have been known to stress about everything under the sun. Worried what others think of me, my health, if I’m a good enough mother or wife, if I will make it to heaven, if my house is clean enough when company stops by, if I’m giving my children the best of the best education, do we have enough money, and on, and on my list goes. I don’t think it helps that I am perfectionist. Eeek! And how many times have I asked myself “What if….(insert worry here) ?”

I previously had mentioned my troubles with anxiety back in January. Here it is April and I am still recovering. I hit rock bottom and it’s taking me some time to crawl out of my hole. Some days, I feel halfway normal. Then some days, I start worrying. Then I can feel the anxiety trying to creep back in. I used to worry so much I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Maybe rock bottom low has taught me to recognize stress, worrying, and try to be active about reducing my stress/worry.

Will I always have issues with worrying/stress? I don’t know but I strongly believe there are ways to help combat the troubles of this life. Stress is inevitable, unavoidable but there are ways to help cope with stress. And sadly, when I look my oldest daughter, I see that she too is a worrier. I am hoping one day I can pass my knowledge of how to cope with it down to her.

Here’s my action my plan. My go to list for reducing stress. Does it always work? No. Some days I really struggle. Some days, I want to say screw it all. But the more I practice, the easier it is becoming. So here goes….

  • STOP WORRYINGOh man, this is a tough one. I have to tell myself, even if my biggest worry comes true, so what? So what if someone thinks my house isn’t clean enough. The world did not come crumbling down. So what if person X dislikes you, thinks you’re weird, or whatever horrible scenario you can come up with. It doesn’t mean you’re worthless if person X doesn’t like you.  Jesus spoke about worrying and I have to constantly remind myself of how the Father in heaven has got this!

Then He said to His disciples,

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. 23 Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.24 Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? 25 And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? 26 If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?

29 “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. 30 For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 31 But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things[c] shall be added to you.

32 “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. 33 Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Luke 12:22-32)

  • Look into Adrenals- If you have hypothyroidism, I really encourage you to look into this one. Even if you’re not, it might be a good idea to test. Stop the Thyroid Madness encourages a ZRT 4 point saliva test. The best part about this test, no doc visit. It is a saliva test you can test at home. I tested mine cortisol levels back in Jan and my cortisol was sky high all day. It explained why I was waking up consistently at 2-3AM, again at 5-6AM, and anxiety was high. Once I started treating, I saw a big improvement. It dramatically helped my anxiety. Did it completely make it go away? No but like I said, big improvement.
  • Support adrenals- If you have recently been through stressful events, times, you can support your adrenals with Vitamin C, B vitamins (this can be tricky if you have the MTHFR gene like I do), magnesium, Omega 3. Some herbs that can help are adaptogens. Adaptogens help the adrenals adapt instead of raising/lowering cortisol. Ashwaganda and Rhodiola Rosea are both adaptogens. Some would say Holy Basil but I have found it to help lower cortisol when paired with a P.S. That being said, I would recommend Holy basil and P.S. unless you have confirmed you have high cortisol.
  • Epsom Salt baths- Epsom salt baths have many benefits. It helps reduce stress, detoxes the body (also good for MTHFR genes), relieves pain, and so much more. And it’s affordable and widely available. You can pick it up at Wal-Mart, Amazon, dollar stores.
  • Massages- I LOVE a good massage. And if you can afford to regularly have a massage, then I encourage it. But me, I can’t afford to visit the spa very often. My solution? This bad boy! Oh my, the Gideon massaging cushion is wonderful. I really wasn’t expecting much but wooo wee, this is nice. It’s the next best thing to a good masseuse. It’s actually beat some masseuse I’ve had. It’s a little bit of a splurge but 2-3 visits to the spa, and it would have paid for the cushion. Have you ever had an excellent massage and started experiencing sinus drainage and then immediately after leaving the spa have to go to the little girls room? Yeah, this cushion did that to me. After every good massage, this happens to me.
  • Diffusing essential oils- You know, I was a weird one who HATED the smell of Lavender. But after lots of stress, I been finding Lavender EO my go to oil. If you’re not fond of Lavender, there are some other good oils that help you relax. Some of my favorites include; Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Rose, Plant Therapy Worry Free , Plant Therapy Relax, and Rocky Mountain Oils Peace & Quiet.
  • Vitamin D- I’ve tested my Vitamin D levels and found they were low. But I have another wonderful gene called the VDR gene. Long story short, basically I need to test both of my vitamin D’s to figure out my levels before supplementing. But one thing I have been doing is sitting in the sun. Vitamin D is good for mood, lowers inflammation, lowers the risk of diseases, boosts, immunity, lowers stress and so much more. And it’s free!
  • Guided meditation- I have trouble sticking with this one but I used more at the beginning of the year.
  • Exercise- This one I can’t do much of because if I do too much, it stresses my adrenals. I’m having to let my adrenals heal but a light walk, short bike ride, or even just some light cleaning can be good.
  • Magnesium- You can get magnesium from Epsom salt or try trans-dermal magnesium.
  • Talking to others- This one, seems to be my go to! I have griped and griped to my husband. But after I vent, I feel better, less stressed.
  • Helping others- Helping others really takes the focus off of my issues.
  • Sleep and naps- Adequate amounts of sleep can do wonders. There is a reason your body sleeps a lot when your sick. It needs the down time to recover and repair. The same concept goes when your stressed, depressed, etc.
  • Earthing- This keeps coming up for me. I can’t say if this works or not yet but I will say it helps to go put my feet in the grass. If your interested in Earthing or Grounding, check out Wellness Mama’s post.
  • Unplugging- During the height of my anxiety, I found a PC, cell phone to be VERY stimulating. There is research that suggests unplugging can have many health benefits. The benefits can include better sleep, memory, mood, etc. I know I feel the benefits when we go camping. It feels like the world slows down and I’m not as edgy. Don’t get me wrong, I can be a technology junkie. I love technology but unplugging can help reduce stress. Read a book. If your too tired see if someone will read to you or listen to an audio-book. Go outside and watch the birds or star gaze. Find a good magazine to read. Knit, crochet, or do something creative
  • Watching TV- I’m never been a big TV watcher but this year, I have found watching TV can help take my mind off my troubles. I know, I know, I just said unplug but it’s all about balance, right? And I felt so fatigued, I didn’t have any energy. I just wanted to lay down.
  • Nature- I live in town but I enjoy to go outside. I have found sitting on the back porch as I watch birds to be very therapeutic.
  • Writing about things that stress me- I’ve thought about journaling but it seems as if I come to the blog to get these’s off my chest. Sometimes I publish the articles and sometimes I don’t. Either way, writing about my struggles seems to give me an out. I have also found support groups on FB to help vent about my struggles. I am a member of STTM groups so I vent in the groups about my thyroid/health issues. If it’s homeschooling struggles, I go to my homeschooling groups. Christian related struggles, I go to the Christian groups.
  • Finding something I enjoy doing- This was very hard in Jan. The anxiety had me so stressed out, I was having a tough time seeing the joy in life and felt like I was flirting with depression. This may sound silly but I had been wanting to organize/decorate my girls room. Her room was a disaster and I told her we needed to organize her room. At the moment, I didn’t have the energy to do it so I told her, look up how to organize your room on YouTube. She brought me this video of this organization box this young girl had made out of a postal box. My crafty side was a tad intrigued. We were going to make it together but after getting into the project, we would be using box cutters, hot glue guns. Long story short, I made the majority of the box for her. It took me 2 days to make because I was so flat out fatigued. I only had a slight bit of interest in the project but I found some joy in making it. As silly as that sounds, the box reminded me of my interests, passions. It showed me they had not flown away but got buried under all of the stress, duties, chores, sickness, and everyday struggles of this life. The box got the ball rolling. We later stopped in the dollar store and picked up some very snazzy tubs in pretty colors, might I add, to help organize more things in their room.
  • Find something to be thankful for each day- I have a picture hanging on the wall in my bathroom. It says, “There is ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.” Sometimes I forget this. Sometimes I have to dig REAL deep and find the small things. But there is always always always something to be thankful for. 🙂
  • Scripture- There is SOOO much scripture about stress, worrying, anxiety, troubles of this life. I find inspiration and uplifted when I read the passages…. I saw a pin on Pintrest for a Child Training Bible. It looked like a cool idea so I went ahead and bought the chart set, things needed to go with it. I won’t go into tons of details but as I marked each scripture, I wanted to make sure the scripture applied to the category. That left me with reading each piece of scripture and sometimes the whole chapter. I still haven’t finished tabbing but reading the scripture was very enlightening, encouraging, and uplifting. Although this was meant to help parents teach their child how to use the bible with real world situations, I think many adults could greatly benefit from this idea.
  • Yoga- I really need to start doing yoga again. I love yoga just not sure why I don’t do it on a regular basis. I don’t think I need to go into detail on how yoga helps reduce stress. But if you didn’t know it, yoga helps reduce stress. Lol.

 

That’s my list for now. The stress, worry, anxiety is all very unpleasant and I still very much struggle with it all. This is my list on how/plan to develop healthy coping skills. I hope you find this list useful. Please share how you reduce stress!

Why a Christian does yoga

Finding yoga

I first discovered yoga in high school. The high school I attended offered a class and I decided to take the class. I enjoyed the class. There was some aspects of it that I found a little odd such “washing your face” with your hands. It was hard for me not to giggle but the lights were dimmed so I just smirked and contained the laughter on the inside. But after the class, I would feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Off and on I have done yoga and every time, I enjoy the effects of yoga. It reduces stress, stresses my muscles, strengthens my muscles, and calms me.

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Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue and Yoga

If you have read any of my other posts, you probably know I have hypothyroidism. Adrenal fatigue is closely connected to hypothyroidism. After 2 years of slowly but surely getting my ducks in a row, I have begun to feel better and have more energy. But out of nowhere, I began having a hard time going to sleep at night.  I would be tired and just could not drift off to sleep easily. Then, I would be so tired during the day. I would fight the drowsiness all day until bed time. I had had this problem previously so I knew it was hypothyroidism or hypo related. I began re-investigating the reasoning for my inability to drift off to sleep and stay awake during the day. After digging, I realized it was my adrenals. I had stopped taking my Ashwagangha and I was under some stress. Long story short, I began taking the Ashwaghanda again and began to look into ways to reduce my stress.

If you do a very quick Google search on “ways to reduce stress,” yoga is sure to come up as well as exercise in general. I knew I had enjoyed yoga previously and with adrenal fatigue, I knew I needed to take it slow with my exercise routine and this time, I wanted to do something I enjoyed. Yoga was also on the list on ways to help recover your adrenals.

After only a short week of doing yoga in my home, I was excited about picking up yoga again. I also had no idea what the difference between yoga and pilates was. I have always wanted to try pilates but just have not got around to it. So what did I do? I got on pinterest of course! I pinned this yoga pin and that pilates pin. Well my pinning interest in yoga/ pilates triggered a pin suggesting Christians shouldn’t do Yoga. I was aware that yoga had some ties to Hinduism/Buddhism but the way I saw yoga was nothing more than an exercise. Well, I decided to read the pin which encouraged me to dig in for myself.

Should a Christian practice Yoga?

Whether it be right or wrong, here is the conclusion I came to.

Is Yoga a religion? No. I think this is where most of the misconceptions come from. Religious people take part in yoga such as Buddhists and Hindus. Hindus do use yoga in their religious practice. If yoga was in fact a religion, Buddhist and Hindus could not partake in yoga. Buddhism and Hinduism is 2 different types of religion that have different beliefs. Therefore, if Hinduism = yoga then Buddhism ≠ yoga. Yoga in itself does not suggest anyone to bow down to a god/gods or denounce such faith. A yoga instructor might have different views on this.  A Hindu might see yoga as an important part of his religious practices while an Atheist sees no spiritual connection at all. Just like if I was a yoga instructor, my Christian beliefs would more than likely leak into my class. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/teach/when-religion-and-yoga-are-confused/

If yoga is used during religious practices of other religions, doesn’t that make yoga a part of a religion? Yoga can be part of a religion just like praying is a part of many different religions. Muslims pray to Allah, Christians pray to the one and only God, Buddhists “pray” (or some would say “meditate”) to Buddha, self, or other deities, and Hindus pray to many deities. Prayer or meditating is a huge part in all these religions  but no single group can say that prayer belongs to them. With that being said, can yoga exist outside of a religious group? The answer to this question lies in the first question. Yoga isn’t a religion therefore it can exist outside of a religious practice. It can be done during religious practices but it can also be done outside of a religious practice.

Will yoga contradict my Christian beliefs? If you are performing the sequences to yourself, another deity, statue, or gods, then yes, it will contradict your religious beliefs. I would even go as far as to say, performing the sequences to God could contradict your personal beliefs as there is not mention in the bible that one must do the lotus pose or any other pose during prayer or for God. Me personally, I see yoga as simply a way to improve my health. It strengthens my muscles, reduces stress, increases flexibility and clears my head. What yoga does for me is what some may feel about running, walking, strength training or any other forms of exercise. Some American traditions stem from other cultures including those who worshipped false God. Take the Olympics for example. If you read up on the history, you will find the Greek ties to the Olympics. The Greeks dedicated their Olympic Games to the Olympian gods. America and as far as I know, other countries, have taken the Olympic games and de-greekified (probably not a word but that’s what I’m going with) the religious ties. When the Olympics take place, the games are not dedicated to any deity, god, gods, or anything religious. The Olympics to Americans is just a competitive sport. It means nothing more than baseball, football, soccer, relays, or any other sport.  I think the same concept applies to yoga. If yoga is done as part of your religion, then the act is wrong in regards to Christian beliefs. If you do yoga as a form of exercise, it’s just that. It’s just another form of exercise.

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” (Romans 14:4-9)

The yoga teacher will say to do “oms””, “pray to your heart,” etc… I would be lying if I said I have never encountered this. I bought a yoga video on Amazon the other day. The woman said such strange things like “give a thanks to your greatest teacher, your heart,” abruptly busted out in an “om”” while having her hands in a prayer like position and other things. I had to turn off the video. It did feel like I was taking part in some kind of Hinduism, Buddhist or a non-Christian religious practice.  The instructor’s views leaked into the yoga video.

There has also been things that have been mentioned in the videos like “as you breath there express your gratitude for the healing in your practice.” Some might take offense to such a comment and  some may think nothing more of the comment. I think this may all depend on the person and while I am not 100% on board with this comment, I do appreciate what yoga does for my body just like any other form of exercise, but at the same time, I’m not going to put yoga or any other practice up on a pedestal. I enjoy yoga yes. I feel it benefits my body. But I am not going to give thanks to any sport, exercise or practice because that is all it is to me. It is a form of exercise. Any thanks I give will be to my the Father in Heaven. Any healing that takes place will be from the will of my Father in Heaven. When issues like might arise, I simply ignore the comment much like I would disregard certain comments being made on the TV. If I feel the yoga instructor is trying to make any ties to their religious beliefs and yoga, I turn it off and move to another video where the yoga instructor treats yoga as a form of exercise.

What if I feel yoga is wrong? if your conscious condemns you, then you shouldn’t do it.

Would I be a stumbling block for others? I think this is kind of ridiculous but I did see this brought up in my research so here goes. I personally don’t know anyone that I would personally be a stumbling block by doing yoga (unless talking about clothing choices) but that is not to say it’s not possible. I don’t know of many examples for this particular question but this is the best example I could come up with. Maybe a Hindu that was converted to Christian that once used yoga as a way to pray to the Hindu’s deities might see another Christian as a stumbling block. If that was the case, then no you shouldn’t ask them to join you in yoga, talk about yoga around them, post anything about yoga on facebook or do yoga in front of them.

I personally do yoga in the privacy of my own home. For one, my clothing choices. I wear capri leggings. I wear them partly because of lack of options (finding modest workout clothes is ridiculously hard) but for 2, they stay in place when I am moving around. I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to wear leggings with a  form fitting tank for others to see because of being a stumbling block to others. This isn’t the only kind of clothing I wear during yoga but just one example. Another reason I do yoga at home is because I don’t like the expense of paying for a class nor do I want to. I like doing yoga in the privacy of my own home and the option to do it when I want. Sometimes I do a PM yoga an hour before bed to help unwind…. There are many reasons why I do yoga at home but my point is that no one sees me do it unless I have a peeping Tom that I’m not aware of. Of course, that peeping Tom might just be my hubby haha! And if that’s the case, well not exactly a stumbling block for him, lol.

As far as clothing choices being a stumbling block goes, this doesn’t only go for yoga. I have seen runners, walkers, gymnastics, and other athletes that are a stumbling block for others especially men because of their choice to wear immodest workout clothing in public. If you are exercising in front of others or in a class, then put some clothes on that leave a lot to the imagination. In other words, clothing that shows cleavage, butt, lots of leg, lots of back, lots of skin or every curve on your body in public is a stumbling block. Many Christian men have struggled with lust and porn. Seeing a woman in tight yoga pants or short spandex shorts can cause a man to stumble. If you wouldn’t want your husband gawking at another woman in the same clothing, then don’t wear it for others to see. Oh, and for the record, even if your a bigger, or plus size woman, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you. A man can lust after a plus size woman just like he can lust after a model. In all honesty, there are men who prefer a plus size woman over a stick thin woman.

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It’s all about attitude

I guess in the end what I am trying to say is that it all depends on what one’s perspective is on yoga. If you look at yoga as a spiritual practice, then it will be a spiritual practice. If you see yoga as a form of exercise, then it will be a form of exercise.

FREE digital copy of Kung Fu Panda

I know my last post said I wouldn’t be posting anything until the 1st of the year but I received this offer after using the 75% off movie code so I have to share. I will be making this one quick. Smile

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Here is how I received the credit

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Leave your comments below

Please tell me your SCORES in the comments below! See ya’ll next year, if I don’t see deals that I just have to share! Lol