What does stress to do you? I remember waking up about two weeks before my wedding day with a cold sore. It was the beginning of July. I was working a full-time job that was stressful. I was trying to change the culture which was not working. And I was in the final days before my wedding. It was a small wedding, about 45 people, but it was still my wedding day. I was trying to finish my wedding dress that I made and was not turning out as well as I had hoped. I was trying to finish my daughters’ bridesmaids dresses that I also made. On top of all of that, we were trying to pay for everything in cash and I had gained about 20 lbs. in the months leading up to the wedding. Needless to say, I was a little stressed!
In addition to cold sores, when I am stressed, my brain does not function as well as it should. I easily forget simple words and my memory is not as sharp. It is amazing the physiological effects stress has on the body. And these are just the noticeable things. I am sure there are other affects stress has on my body that I am not aware of.
As well when I am stressed, my emotions go on a roller coaster ride. I tend to be less patient (well worse than normal), more moody, more emotional. Even the other day, I was really stressed at work. I was getting very agitated and emotional, behaving in a way that I did not like. I ended up sending myself home at 3:30 p.m., sent myself to my room to think about my behaviour and what I had done. I did allow myself to have dinner though.
When I got home that afternoon, I sat in my sunroom, prayed and tried to figure out why I reacted like I did. When I have a strong reaction to something, I know there is something broken in me. I needed to figure out why. I came up with a few reasons. These are now things I need to work on as part of my recovery at Celebrate Recovery.
Sometimes when I ask myself why I reacted like I did, I do not always have an answer. It is in those situations where I have to ask God to show me. I need Him to show me where I am broken and where it came from. Often He will show me. It may be in a dream, in my thoughts, in my writing.
To de-stress, my favourite things to do, and most effective for me, is listening to music, having an Epsom salt bath (though I can’t do that anymore as our new house does not have a tub), reading, writing in my journal, and praying. Breathing is also helpful – long, slow, deep breaths to really open the lungs and relax. Exercise, like my ballet class, also works because of the whole endorphin thing but it also stops me from thinking about all my stress.
In Luke 10, we are introduced to sisters, Martha and Mary. Martha invited Jesus and His disciples to her home (well, her brother’s home). I can picture Martha in the kitchen preparing food, stressing over it all, wanting it to be perfect. Meanwhile, her sister, Mary, is sitting at Jesus’ feet, listening to his teachings. Martha is ticked off that her sister isn’t helping, making her do all the work by herself. She complains to Jesus about Mary not helping. Jesus tells Martha that she is stressing out for no reason. She only needs to focus on one thing – Jesus.
When you are really stressed, how do you deal with it? How does your body react to it? What works best for you to help you de-stress? Share with me in the comment section.