Thoughts on Reducing Stress–Part 3 of The Truth About Panic Attacks Series

by frazzledmama on September 16, 2014

I really feel as though I have no authority to speak on this topic.  I mean, my life is crazy busy!  What I can share with you though is my experience this past year as I tried to remove some the stress from my life.

Panic

When I first looked at my calendar and my commitments(which mainly revolve around the children) I just couldn’t see anything that I could remove from my plate.  After consulting with Mr. OverKill, he very clearly pointed out to me a few areas that were top candidates for removal.  I was shocked at the things he suggested.  I argued with him that those things weren’t really stressful to me, and that I didn’t see why I should remove them.  I loved them…a lot. But I have also learned over the last 16 years to trust him, and so I started the painful process of letting go of some things that I simply did not want to let go of.  But you know what, he was right.  It was time to let those things go.

The next thing that happened caught me totally off guard.  Often, de-stressing is very hard…stressful even.  It isn’t easy to go back to people whom you have made commitments to and say, “This just isn’t working for me any more.” or “I need to reduce my stress and because of that, I’m going to increase yours.”  No, I didn’t really say that to anyone, but I surely felt the weight of what my change of lifestyle was going to do to them. Even though the actual separation from certain commitments was terribly stressful, the stress did end and my total stress level did  reduce…eventually. :)

The third and final comment I want to make about reducing stress, is that I had to learn to give myself a break.  I have had to learn to let certain things slide for the time being, and to rest in the knowledge that God does have a plan for my life, and I am living it.  Right here, right now, this is exactly where He wants me, and I am doing exactly what He wants me to do.  Later, there may be time for other things, like clean shower grout.  Right now, I take comfort in Proverbs 14:4

Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.

No, I don’t think my children are oxen…. I think. The point is, I could have a perfectly clean house if I didn’t have kiddos running around it 24/7 to keep it looking more shabby than chic.  But if that were the case, I wouldn’t have this great opportunity to raise up the next generation for the Lord, so that perhaps, they too would be a part of the large harvest(Matthew 9:35-38).

So my advice on reducing stress?

1. Talk to someone that you utterly trust, who knows you intimately and ask for their honest(and loving) opinion and then follow their advice.

2. Even if it initially it seems that making changes to reduce your stress is actually more stressful, stick with it.  The old adage fits perfectly here, “It gets harder before it gets easier.”

3. Take an honest look at your standards for household cleanliness, routines, appointments, school projects, homeschool curriculum, fashion, etc. Are they unrealistically high? Could you get by only mopping the floors twice a week instead of everyday?  In short, give yourself permission to set your own standards in these areas, and stop listening to voices that call out for you to be Super Mom!

4. As hard as it is, try to build a little pocket of time for yourself each day.  I generally give myself about 20-30 minutes(on good days) to do something I enjoy. Some days it simply banishing the children from the dining room while I eat lunch in piece with a good book(or doctor Who ;).  Other days it’s a 20 minute soak in the hot tub.  Now that it’s gardening time again, I’ve been enjoying a walk through the garden to check on my little plants in the morning.  Sadly, some days it just doesn’t happen.  But that’s ok.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I have jumped 50 hurtles to go sit in the hot tub only to find it ice cold, that can actually make me feel more stressed.  My entire family is well acquainted with my, “I just wanted….” speech. But I am learning to even let that go, and not allow it to build another wall of anxiety around my heart.

As I said, I’m not an authority of reducing stress, but I hope my experiences can help someone else to improve their health and their life, for the glory of God.

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