This post may contain affiliate or other links to products. These links help provide for this website as well as my family. To read my disclosure policy, please click here.
When I think about all my life is encompassing right now, I stress out just thinking about it.
Life is just hard. It’s overwhelming. My oldest, in his early twenties, has autism and absolutely no filter on his mouth. My youngest, in the single digits, also has no filter on her mouth. The two in-between the oldest and youngest work and have lives to lead. My husband is paraplegic – that leaves the large majority of the household upon my shoulders.
Even delegating some of it to my son with autism is not without challenges. Constantly having to go back and check to see if the dishwasher was unloaded correctly, with silverware in the silverware drawer instead of dishes in the drawer, is tiring. Fielding 40 questions a day about generators, gears, steam trains – it’s all so very draining. Having a young adult with autism is a monumental weight to carry.
There are a few things I do, though, to help manage the stress in my life – for both my mental and physical health. After all, if I’m not well, my family and household suffer along with me.
Praying the Scriptures
Praying is the most important tool in the stress management toolbox. There’s nothing like pouring my soul out to Jesus in a moment of need.
Praying the Scriptures back to Lord Jesus, though, solidifies the place the Bible has in my faith life. That act reminds me of God’s sovereignty, His Kingship, and the role He has in my life. He doesn’t need to be reminded of that – but praying Scripture back to Him gives a deeper meaning to my worship of Him.
For example, the first night I spent on a mission trip in Zambia, Africa, I took my Bible, a flashlight, and my towel outside and sat on the ground – just me and the Lord Jesus, under millions of stars in the African sky. Without the air pollution in the U.S., I could actually see the milky substance of the Milky Way. The sky was polka-dotted with millions and millions of stars – and I was overcome with the power, majesty and Awesomeness of the Creator. In worship I focused the flashlight upon Psalm 108 and prayed it back to my Lord. I still get goosebumps from that experience. It’s like God gave us His Word to show us what to pray in worship back to Him.
One wonderful book I’ve used in the past to do this, beside my Bible, is Beth Moore’s Praying God's Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds [aff link!]. This book takes different passages from the Bible, changes the wording a little to make them into prayers, and categorizes them depending upon the need or difficulty. It is a great tool in your faith toolbox to use.
Praying and using the Scriptures in prayer helps manage my stress levels as they make me focus on Christ instead of my troubles. Another tool I use is simple breathing.
When I was giving birth to my oldest child, I used breathing to control my anxiety and the pains of labor. I use breathing even today to manage anxiety and the pains of life.
Breathing slowly and deeply in your nose, then slowly exhaling out of your mouth, brings much-needed oxygen into your lungs and body. An article on Breathing.com states that breathing through your nose like this is the optimum way to breathe; in fact, breathing only using your mouth for inhalation and exhalation can lead to elevated “blood pressure and heart rate and worsens asthma, allergies…and deprives your heart, brain and other organs of oxygenation.”
In other words, breathing using just your mouth and not a nose-inhalation/mouth-exhalation can increase blood pressure and heart rate, which increases anxiety and stress. It’s amazing what just simply breathing correctly can do to your stress levels.
Especially in difficult times, you must remind yourself to breathe slowly and correctly.
I have recently discovered the amazing benefits of essential oils. Full disclaimer here: I am an independent distributor for Young Living essential oils [an a.m.a.z.i.n.g. affiliate link!] ; I would not use them if they did not have some benefit to me.
I used to buy lavender essential oil just as an addition to my bathwater for relaxation. Now that I’m aware of so many more oils and their benefits, it’s just amazing how they benefit me and my family (I still use lavender in my bath!).
My seven year old daughter tends to be on the hyper side. I’ve discovered that applying the essential oil “Peace and Calming” on her chest, wrists and behind her ears (a little dab on pulse points) helps her be calm enough to slow down and enjoy the day. It also helps with her social anxiety.
As my husband is paraplegic, I mix a few different oils together, such as lavender, peppermint, frankincense, and a blend called “Trauma Life” and rub it on his paralyzed legs. He’s getting some muscle movement back, and is working on bending his right leg. Praise Jesus!
I regularly diffuse “Stress Away” as it just melts normal, large-family stress down the tube. Since I’ve been a part of the Young Living family, I’ve found a community of people who go out of their way to help you with oil knowledge, assisting in team building if you went into the business side of it, and prayer! Oh the prayers sent up on my behalf from my Young Living teammates have been sweet aromas to the Lord, and we can feel them. Talk about stress relief!
If you want more info about how to get involved or buy Young Living products, click here. I’d love the opportunity to help you use essential oils to de-stress your life!
One of the biggest ways I manage stress is by making copious amounts of lists. In my phone I have a “Notes” app that I use regularly to make reminders for myself, my Christmas lists (Shhhhh….don’t tell my kids!), grocery lists, and even blogging ideas.
Our brains can hold only so much sensory input. Something’s gotta give. So using lists to capture information so that we don’t have to remember it (although remembering where the list is – BONUS!) is a great way to eliminate stress in your life. It helps you organize your thoughts.
In fact, this particular post started out as an idea that I put on a “Blogging Ideas” note in my phone. My son Sam, since he has autism and other fairly large medical challenges, takes a lot of prescription medications, as does my mother. I’ve created a list that I use to fill-in-the-blank to update their medications. So now, if he visits his grandparents or she goes to the hospital, their med lists go with them as another means of making sure everyone is on the same page with their care.
To help you out, click here for a downloadable printable of a medication list. Subscribers to my email newsletter can also get a Christmas list printable, since it will soon be time to think about Christmas [and it's a huge de-stresser to start shopping early]. Click here to subscribe to my newsletter.
Ah, writing – sometimes it’s cheap therapy, sometimes it’s a curse, especially when you see misspelled words in memes, on menus, on billboards… writing can help distress your life by journaling and getting your innermost thoughts and feelings out of your head and onto paper.
My mother and oldest daughter love to color adult coloring books. That brings them an immense amount of joy and release of tension. I haven’t been able to get into the journaling Bibles, because I use the margins in my Bible for notes, but that’s also a good tool to use.
Basically, these five ways I manage stress help me self-care, so I can be the best wife and mother I can for my husband and four kids. We have such a crazy-busy life right now, and we need a little decompression. It is my prayer that you will try at least one of these methods, or more, and let me know how they work out for you.
And if you are interested in trying the essential oils, just go to this page and we’ll chat!
Love in Christ,
© 2017 Terrie McKee
This post may contain affiliate links to products and/or services, including those available on Amazon.com, as Near Your Altar is a participating member in the Amazon Affiliate Program in addition to other retail affiliates. These affiliate links help provide for this website as well as a small income to my family and I. Please consider clicking on the links to purchase or to browse the affiliate's website, which will open in a new window. We thank you for your support. ~ Terrie
Read Disclosure Policy here