Stress: The Ultimate Hassle
Between wheat prices, lack of sleep, and a variety of responsibilities in and out of the home, this last year's stress level has been through the roof. I know that we're not alone in this, because a lot of other farm families are facing the challenges of how to make ends meet and continue to grow the profitability of their farm. I finally realized that in reality, I was doing nothing to manage my stress and mitigate the stress our family was experiencing. I had great intentions, but didn't take specific actions to decrease the stress or handle it better. Maybe you're in the same boat too, just trying to "grin and bear it"?!
Do you have a strategy for what to do when you experience stress? Don't worry I didn't either.
Here are some things to consider and implement!
Faith is a big part of my life. I believe God has a plan for each one of us and that He has our best in mind. Whether we are given a stressful situation or not, there is a purpose for it. In the midst of it, we might not see that purpose, but we need to have faith and trust that God can see the bigger picture. Take active steps to renew and enrich your faith and trust in God.
It is said that laughter is the best medicine. When you find something or circumstance that you can laugh about it allows you to forget for that minute the things that is causing you stress. Sometimes it's hard to find something to laugh at, but it can be as simple as going to a comedic movie with a friend or looking up some kids jokes to enjoy with your kiddos, or playing a card game with your hubby! Seek out ways to bring smiles and laughter consistently into your home.
Physically - Make sure you are taking care of your physical self. If there are any physical concerns, be sure to address them with your doctor. Don't wait. They could be adding to your body's difficulty dealing with stress. Consider your health and whether there are any issues adding to stress.
Sleep - I know, I know! Sleep is at a premium for any mom or family with young kids. Sleep is absolutely necessary for your body to function well and to handle stress. Be creative. If getting enough sleep means sleeping with your babies during nap-time, by all means do it! When it comes down to it, sleep is much more important than getting the dishes done or anything like that. If you are interested in reading what we have tried for sleep, you can read it here. Be creative and find ways to increase the amount of sleep you are getting.
Mentally - Your mental health is imperative as well. You don't have to have a mental health, official diagnosis of depression or anxiety etc. to need to take care of your mental health. This might mean seeking professional help. If so, do it no matter what! It may be as simple as carving out 5 minutes to listen to or read an intriguing book. Maybe its taking a walk and allowing you focus to shift to things outside yourself and the walls of your home. Whatever it is, figure out what will help shift your focus to something positive or give you a mental break and pursue it!
INVEST IN OTHERS
This of all items requires balance. It can add to your stress to invest in others, but in some situations it can be a stress relief. It can help by putting things into perspective! Make sure that whatever you do or whomever you chose to invest in are things and folks that build you up!
Practicing gratitude can make a world of difference in many areas of your life. I use the word “practice”, because it should be a daily activity. What do we call it when we are playing an instrument? "Practicing the clarinet or the piano." Practice makes perfect or permanent. That's the only way to improve! Right?! It is the same with practicing gratitude. Create the habit of seeing the positive in everything and expressing gratitude.
One of the things I found was that the condition of my home and lack of organization was adding to my stress. So I took steps to change that. You can read what I did here. You may not be able to rid yourself of the true cause of your stress, but you may be able to manage other areas of your life so they are not contributing to your overall stress level! Evaluate areas in your life that are adding or fueling your stress and take action in those areas.
CONSIDER THE BASICS (food, sleep, water and exercise)
This might sound silly, but it is as important as anything else!
Are you fueling your body well? Are you using the food you are eating as a way to build up your body?
Are you getting enough sleep? I know I mentioned this before, but it needed to be mentioned again!
Are you getting exercise? Do you need to increase your exercise, making more of a priority, or find some accountability by choosing a program to follow or getting a trainer?
Only you can answer these questions. Make sure you aren't overlooking or discrediting the basics!
Now, I will admit. Journaling is intimidating to me. I tend to be a perfectionist and want my journal entries to be just right and if I'm journaling my day, then it drives me crazy if I realize I forgot to put some activity into that entry. Don't be me. Don't go down that rabbit hole! ;o) Journaling can simply be writing down thoughts as they come to you. It doesn't have to be something your great, great, great grandkids will read. It can just be the unorganized scramble of a "brain dump". I often use the "notes" app on my phone for this. I'm less likely to get caught up in writing, spelling, etc, if I open the notes app and use the little microphone icon to "speak" my journaling. Allow yourself a place to put on "paper" all the thoughts that are taking up room in your mind. It can offer a lot of clarity.
THINGS TO REMEMBER!!
If you have kiddos, this is always a good thing to remember!
I hope these tips will be helpful to you! But remember they will only help if you put them into action!
What do you do when you are feeling stressed? I'd love to hear what works for you! Feel free to comment below!
Love to you and yours!