It’s been a long 6 months. Stress wouldn’t exactly be the one word I’d select to sum up my year but I’ve felt a lot of it lately.
In the grand scheme of life I know my issues are nothing. In fact, I think I’m ridiculous for even feeling stressed. My family is healthy, we have money to budget with, food to eat, and a great home to live in. My husband has a job with great health insurance and I am blessed with a part time job a block from our house that I can bring the kids to.
What more do I need? Seriously. Why should I struggle and be stressed? Why should I want more or for life to be different?
Life doesn’t always happen how I want or plan. When my dreams or ideas of how things should be differ from the reality, conflict can happen. It’s then easy for me to be unhappy and I find myself getting frustrated and stressed and worried about the future and never ending “what ifs” of life. What a miserable way to live.
When looking at stress or joy, which would I select? Easy choice there. Not that many weeks ago, I had a little perspective change and since then I’ve begun enjoying life and have been okay with where I’m at and what I’m doing – what God has put in front of me right now.
I want joy to be what I feel in our home. To be what my family feels. Joy is not from everything going according to my plans and nothing going wrong, but instead from having my perspective in the right place and letting God do His work.
As I look over the last month 9 steps to finding joy in stress come to mind:
1. Don’t dwell on the negative. When things don’t happen the way you’d like, when your child is disobedient, someone is sick, the car breaks down, the perfect opportunity falls through, you feel like your house is too run down - don’t dwell on it! Give yourself a moment to vent and then let it go.
2. Give thanks! Keep a running list of all the little and big things you have to be thankful for. It could be something as simple as your child reaching up to grab your hand, the perfectly ripe pear, or that you have carpeting that needs to be vacuumed. Even on the worst of days, there is something we have to be thankful for.
3. Memorize Scripture. This will enable you to replace the negative thoughts with life giving words. It’s easier to not dwell on the negative if we have something to replace those thoughts with.
4. Exercise. Doing something physical, even for just a few minutes, can really help clear your mind and give you energy to face the next task. 10 minutes of pilates, a 20 minute run, or quick power walk pushing the kids in the stroller all can make a difference.
5. See the Big Picture. When life happens, it’s so easy for me to only be able to focus on the circumstance that just happened. It helps to remember what you are doing, why you are doing it – to always remember that God really is in control.
6. Break it Down. Sometimes stress can be caused by a situation, task, or goal seeming impossible. A mountain of debt, large savings goal, parenting struggle, or medical problem is daunting. Finding a new job is a big thing. Break your task (source of stress) down. Try having monthly goals or celebrating every thousand dollars saved. Focus on applying to so many jobs each week. You might even be able to make your daunting task a little fun. Instead of worrying about the uncertainties of the future, get through the next doctors visit or surgery and face one day at a time instead of trying to face all the unknown future at once.
7. Eat Right. Too much sugar (maybe even any sugar) really can affect our mood and behavior as can processed foods. Decrease or cut them out of your diet. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and plenty of healthy fats. I noticed a big difference in my mood and emotions during our Whole30. During it I became less irritated and stressed.
8. Get Enough Sleep. When I don’t sleep, my ability to handle stress decreases. Everything seems a way bigger deal than it really is. Sneak in a nap. Go to bed 20 minutes earlier. Maybe even give yourself a little grace on your morning wake up time.
9. Have Visual Reminders. Tape quotes and scripture verses to your computer monitor, the bathroom mirror, and above the kitchen stink. Take the word you want to focus on and make it a piece of art to hang on your wall.
Dayspring has just come out with a new line of art – Letterpress Blocks. You can put together your own words, numbers symbols. The block come in different sizes and fonts.
- Do you have a favorite scripture? Add the reference to your decor.
- A word you are trying to live (such as joy)? Add it to your wall so you are always thinking of it.
- How about your last name or the year your family was established? Yep, you can do that as well.
Head to the Letterblocks Interface on Dayspring’s website and you can put together your words and see what sizes and fonts you like the best and come up with a new piece of art to put on your wall!
As I continue to try and focus on joy during this season of my life, I’m going to be hanging the word in a prominent place where I can be continually reminded to keep my focus in the right place.
How do you combat the stress in your life? What word or phrase would you choose to hang on your wall from the Letterpress Block Collection by Dayspring?
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