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 WORRYING– Oh 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!