Life sometimes needs a sigh!!!
Our lives in this 21st century seem to be going at a faster pace, with more stress on every side. It is hard to sometimes be that steadfast rock of stability when the times are so challenging. How are you doing? How are you coping with the division, stress, insane world we are living in? Are you overwhelmed?
To say anything but yes to the question of being overwhelmed by life is to perhaps stretch the truth. Around us we have watched people battling cancer – debilitating fast moving damage that has forever changed their perspective. And hard working knowledgeable coworkers that are no longer working with us. A neighbor lost his job at the start of the pandemic and has not found a replacement. And endless stories of fearfulness, frustration and concern for what is happening world wide. Yes, i know – i hear you saying “STOP!!!!! It is all too real, and we need an escape if even for a short time.”
I am not an expert, but i will tell you that my husband and i have found a few things that have made a difference in how we cope with this chaotic life. Here are just a few thoughts that you may find helpful:
- Turn off the TV – We realized how much we stressed out just watching the nightly news, a ritual established in childhood, that seemed hard to stop. But in the first week with the tv off we noticed our blood pressure settle down, our anxiety about this world lessen, and we found productive alternatives to encourage us.
- Get adequate sleep – The common belief is that people need 8 hours of sleep to restore their strength, but that amount of sleep varies…. if you are finding yourself waking up tired perhaps you might want to plan a little more sleep by going to bed a bit earlier. Natural sleep rhythms are 90 minute cycles… so plan increments of 90 minutes – waking up in mid cycle may result in grogginess. (For example 7.5 hours of sleep is 5 cycles of 90 minutes)
- Eat healthy – stress often brings out our desire to binge or eat what is easy to grab, often resulting in junk eating. Keep healthy things around that will keep you nourished, satisfy your need to snack, and not be empty calories. (I have this thing for fresh produce – i can binge on a container of fresh blueberries without realizing how much i consumed.
- Add spiritual nourishment – I spend time reading my bible every day, and find that time to be quieting to my spirit. Prayer and walking the dog is another way of just stepping away from the cares of this world.
- Take up a hobby – during the summer it was a big huge garden, which as a side benefit supplimented our groceries nicely. Cooking, reading, crafts, home repair, the list is endless. What encourages you and satisfies your skills – do it!!
- Cut off social media – i was kicked off twitter in late spring, so that decision was made. I found facebook so challenging with pointed aggressive commentary, and honestly while it was nice to know that Aunt Edith loves putting pecans in her oatmeal, the cost of time, aggravation and annoyance was pulling me down big time. I have not closed my account but since August 1 i have visited there only 1 time. (I forgot that my feed from my blog, and instagram feed into facebook so you may think i still spend some time there. not so much. the point is that social media accomplishes several startling things: 1. it divides us by opinion, and thought. 2. it allows people who would never say some things a freedom to hide behind their computer screen and say hideous destructive words to each other. (I have been guilty too – that might be another reason i stepped back. After all those years working around doctors the idea of “do no harm” is imprinted on me too.) 3. people present a “curated” view of their lives being so perfect, and amazing. That may be far from the truth.
- Determine to have a real conversation either on the phone or better yet in person with a friend. It is almost a lost art to just visit and enjoy each other’s company. Do it – it is so good for your soul.
- Sigh – Yes, exhale that stress. Let it out. And know that you are in good company as we all reach those stress points. Just dont stay there. Find an outlet, as mentioned above. Allow yourself to grieve, cry, or just feel numb for a small amount of time. But choose healthy and find ways to move forward.
- Lastly, Limit your time on electronics in general – purpose to put down your cell phone, turn off your laptop or put away your tablet for part of the day. Experts indicate we should turn it all off an hour before bedtime to allow your brain to settle down from the blue waves given off by these devices.
Above all, find time to hug your spouse, or your mom, a friend, or your dog. (Mabel, my covid adopted cat takes great joy in jumping in my lap almost sensing when the stress is high, and just snuggling in my arms.)