Hi, friend! It’s my mission to help others find balance and wellness for the spirit, mind, and body—in that order. Last week we discussed “The Yes Syndrome” and how it steals our wellness. We also discussed how to take care of ourselves by learning how to say no to over-commitment. I even shared tips on making a self-care and wellness kit for yourself or a loved one.
Today we are continuing our series on “wellness drainers”, and our focus will be on stress. Just saying the word “stress” makes my muscles tighten and my teeth clench.
Stress feels like different things for different people. For myself, my whole body tightens. My neck and jaw begin to ache because my muscles become knotted and twisted. My mind begins to focus on whatever culprit is causing the stress. All I can hear is the fear and negativity that the enemy whispers in my ear about the situation.
Unfortunately, I tend to feed my stress by running to food for comfort. Sometimes I crave junk food which makes me ill. Then not only have I added to my stress with a physical ailment but I’ve also compromised my body’s ability to handle stressful situations.
Anxiety is a major component of stress for me. When I’m stressed my spirit, mind, and body work themselves into a frenzy until I have that nervous butterfly sensation in my stomach, feelings of fear and dread. I can’t sleep, and I become easily overwhelmed by every little thing. Easily aggravated, I become angry or frustrated by things that don’t really matter.
Friends, stress wreaks havoc on all of us physically, spiritually, mentally, emotionally, relationally…need I go on? It affects every aspect of our lives.
What causes stress? Well, there are more causes than we can list because everyone has a different threshold for stress and what triggers it within them. However, poll after poll has been taken and typically work tops the list. Other causes are grief, financial struggles, chronic illness, being a caregiver, trauma, and health problems.
Many of the causes of stress are outside of our control. We have to learn how to manage our stress.Taking better care of ourselves physically and spiritually will also help us cope with stress. Our choices of food, self-care, and time with God will give us the strength we need to fight stress.
Later in the week I’ll more in-depth ways to eliminate stress. For now, evaluate your stress level. Many of us are in denial about whether or not we experience stress, and for others of us it doesn’t take much to take our stress level to the max. Honestly, I’ve been on both ends of the spectrum at different times in my life.
Watch your reactions to the circumstances of life over the next few days. Just pick up a little notepad and jot down what happened, how you reacted, and note if your stress level was within the range of 1-10 (10 being the highest). Note how well you eat and care for yourself that day, whether or not you spend time with The Lord, rest, etc.
It doesn’t have to be a detailed note, but just jot down a few simple things. You’ll need those when we meet next; we’ll use it to discern our stress levels, contributors to stress, and what we can do to eliminate or reduce stress.
I know for myself, the past few days have been rather stressful. I’m going to close up shop for the day and spend some quality time with my family. Praying you are able to de-stress today as well. Blessings and wellness, friends!