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Things I do personally to prevent a snap ~ Part II

To read the first two parts to this post, go here, and here.  Picking it up from where I left off yesterday:

In caring for my emotional/mental health, I:

Give myself permission to phone a friend.

I spend a lot of time caring for other people. Most women do. There are times I need to be listened to and nurtured - times I need to receive and not always give. I have found most husbands have the capacity to listen for about 20 minutes and then they have hit their limit.  Please note I am talking about really listening, not just technically hearing.  We all need someone who really hears not just what comes out of our mouth, but what is in our soul.   I always tell young ladies who are dating to be sure not to neglect their female friendships because throughout their life they are going to need them. Girlfriends understand in a different way than husbands do. No matter what I have on my schedule and how many other "worthy" things there are for me to do, there are times I get to the point where I know I'm due for some girl time or the emotional/mental consequences would not be good.   I find that most women expect their husbands to be someone/something they were just not designed to be.  Only God can fulfill all of our needs perfectly and along with that He provides a variety of people in our lives to meet our relational/emotional needs.  It's important to me to have a several people I share deeply with, day or night and receive complete confidentiality.  I don't know how I'd do it without them with me on this journey. (If you don't have these kind of relationships, make it a priority to develop them.  And remember it's a two way street - you are providing emotional support for your friend just as they are for you.)

Give myself permission to breathe on purpose.

Yep, I mean it just like it sounds - purposeful breathing, not just doing it without thinking just like you were doing a minute ago before you read this.  We all breathe, until we die, that is.  But I'm talking about thinking about breathing while you're doing it, and being fully present.  A few times a day I take time to close my eyes and take a few really deep breaths and relax. It's amazing how much better this makes you feel. 

As far as breathing and relaxation techniques, often I combine breathing exercises with some music I've downloaded onto my Zune that is specifically for relaxation. I choose music that is the kind you would normally hear in a spa while getting a massage. If there's a lot of noise in my house and I can't get away from it even by shutting the bedroom door, I put my sound proof headphones on and lay down with some of the spa music and pretty soon I fall asleep. If  I'm doing this for a brief break to de-stress before a meeting and I need to wake up for the appointment I put my phone on vibrate and set the alarm and lay my phone right next to me or I hold it to make sure I don't oversleep.  At other times I really take it to the next level and play the spa music while I soak in the tub and just breathe and relax. 

 As a side note, most Christians will tell you they listen to worship music to relax or destress.  Sometimes I do that, especially if I'm praying or want to listen to songs to build my faith .  But truthfully, there are times when I just need to lay down and relax and let everything go, and a worship song will remind me of worship charts I need to write, rehearsals to schedule, mistakes that happened during the worship set on Sunday or the need to create the upcoming order of service, yada yada yada.  Sometimes it makes my mind stray back to the "ministry world" and not the "relaxation world."  LOL.   I would venture to say I'm not the only pastor who experiences this.  And it's why I choose instrumental spa music most times to relax, instead. 

Sometimes  I'll also use a stress ball for a few moments and usually carry one in my purse.  These come in handy when people let you know at the last minute they aren't going to do what they said they would do, when you are in a traffic jam, when you end up working next to someone lazy, or someone is a no show at a meeting/event.  (Pastors should basically keep one of these in their hand at all times.  Please note, you are supposed to squeeze it, not throw it at the offending person.  LOL)

Give myself permission to invest in something physically/emotionally comforting.

There's NOTHING I'd rather do than have a massage to relax and I'm probably among a majority in this. Most everyone loves massage therapy but few of us can afford it all the time or even sometimes if your budget is already really tight, or you don't have a job right now.  I encourage you to write this down as a reminder for the next time you get a special monetary gift for an occasion such as your birthday or Christmas.  Do you draw a blank when your husband or kids ask what you'd like for a gift? Why not choose a massage? Or if you don't care for massage how about a facial, or something else that is just for you and makes you relaxed and rejuvenated?    I spend the money that is personally given to me as a gift on this and I don't regret it. At this point right now I'd rather put my money there than on a new outfit or anything else. It helps tremendously with my stress level and although I don't have new clothes or whatever to show for it once it's done, I have invested in my physical and emotional health which is something more important than a piece of clothing. [By the way, I highly recommend a full body massage and make sure you go to a licensed therapist who knows what they are doing.  If you live in the Tampa Bay area, go to Lutz Massage, ask for Ray and tell him I sent you.]   

What do you need to give yourself permission to do so that you can stay emotionally healthy? Do it today, and don't apologize, because your mental and emotional health is at stake. It's nothing to ignore, nothing to be embarassed about. You don't apologize to anyone for brushing your teeth, for eating your vegetables or adding more fiber to your diet. This is also for your well being, so take charge and do it.


Melissa said…
I love this series you have done! It is definitely a needed topic for ministers as well as anyone else to face and think about how they deal with the day to day stresses. Personally massage is one of the best ways to care for yourself if you get a chance to have one!
But I really like the stress ball and have thought about throwing it a few times :) hehe
Debbie said…
I love the part about "throwing the stress ball at the person that is causing the stress"!!! Actually, that might work if you hit them hard enough!!! Just kidding!

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