Monday, April 11, 2011

"It's just stress" ...

Last year I was speaking at a conference and I wasn't feeling well.  In between teaching sessions I went to lay down.  A friend who was also preaching at the same conference came and checked on me and said, "Deanna, what's wrong?" and I said, "Oh don't worry, it's nothing serious.  I really think it's just stress and it's catching up with me." And to that my friend responded, "Deanna, don't downplay stress!  Many times we say, 'oh, it's just stress' and we act like it's nothing to really concern ourselves with if it's "just stress".  Stress is something that is quite serious and this issue needs to be addressed."

Hmmm.  I stood corrected.  Well, not literally.  I mean, I remained laying down until I had to speak again...lol.  But with the issue at hand, I was justifiably rebuked.  Her words started a hunger in me for new information about stress and it's physical ramifications.

Stress affects our physical and emotional  health in great ways.  You can read some about that here.  After the conversation my friend had with me about stress, and reading up on some effects of stress, I started doing things to specifically deal it in a more effective way.  First I went to the first source I always go to for anything:  God's Word.  I began studying more from the Bible and what it has to say about stress, worry, fear and being overly concerned about the things of this life.  The more and more I realize where my citizenship truly lies, the less and less I worry about what goes on here.   

Second, I began focusing on ways to relax my body and mind, intentionally.  I downloaded a bunch of spa music on my Zune, and started to use it on a daily basis as a backdrop while I dim the lights and take a bath or shower.  I give myself extra time to get ready in the mornings before I go out, or evenings before bedtime.  

If I am facing a very stressful situation and thoughts of it are just pelting my mind, I take time to stop and either sit in the chair in my office if I’m there, or go lay down on my bed at home, and while I’m doing some deep breathing, I take time to pray.  I have a two way conversation with God, or while I’m just sitting/laying there relaxing and breathing I’ll repeat scripture verses in my mind that are short ones that I particularly stand on in times that could lead to fear or worry if I let it.  

Another way that I de-stress is biking.  If it’s nice weather, I prefer to go out on my bike rather than go to the gym or use a DVD.  I have a play list that I listen to while I ride that is specifically for times like this.  They are songs of faith that are designed to put my fears to rest and by the time I’m done biking I feel much better.

All of these things cost me nothing monetarily.  It doesn’t always take money to de-stress.  I encourage you to try any of these options.  

Now, if I have money to spend my favorite way to de-stress is to get a massage.  There’s nothing like it!!   That's the ultimate and what I would choose to relax over anything else.   That doesn't happen very often but when it does I savor every single moment.  In 2009 I spent every bit, I mean every single cent of my personal Christmas money that people gave me on massage.  My husband thought I was crazy for doing that because at the end of it he said I had nothing to show for it -- no clothes, no shoes, no purses, etc.  But I told him I purchased health and peace.  And, I don't regret it.  

With all that said, this is an INCREDIBLE week for Larry and I.  I've been saying here on the blog that something special is coming today and indeed it has!    Our church gave us an AMAZING gift for pastor appreciation in 2010 and we are enjoying it this week.  Although they gifted us with this in November it took a few months to get this planned and on the calendar.  They have sent us on a week long cruise to Cozumel & Costa Maya! This is the first real vacation I've had, basically.......... since our honeymoon.  That's been...24 years.  Maybe that's why I am in such need of de-stressing. I have "taken vacation time" however I have not been away for a week with absolutely no responsibilities.  As in zilch, zero, nada responsibilities. 


You know as a Mom you are never really on vacation when it's a family vacation.  Mothers always have responsibilities when  you are on a family trip.  Even when you go away and you rent a really nice condo on the beach, what is Mom doing?  She's still planning meals, still cooking, still cleaning up, still doing loads of laundry, washing wet swimsuits and  tidying up the room at day's end.  Moms go on vacation and take a great majority of their responsibilities with them - they just switch locations.  Even when you stay in a hotel with your family on vacation what is Mom doing?  Making sure everything is packed up and in the car and nothing was left in the hotel room by the kids and blah blah blah.  So that has basically been our lives for 24 years. I had "Mom" responsibilities on all our vacations and then on other ones we preached at places just to be able to afford our vacation or I had my computer with me doing some work I didn't get done before we left or have to get done before we get back.  This week is the first time that Larry and I are away together with NO RESPONSIBILITIES and EVERYONE WAITING ON US.  Thank you, Celebration Church, for this wonderful GIFT you have given us...a week away ~.Cozmel and Costa Maya...beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and each other.  We are so blessed!!!

So what am I doing blogging if I'm on a cruise?  Well, first of all blogging isn't work to me, it's my favorite thing to do.  But, I'm not blogging from the cruise.  I left my computer at home.  I'm UNPLUGGED for the week, from both my computer AND phone!   I've pre-written all my blogs for the week, set up to publish.  So they'll be here even though I won't be.  I have even thought of pre-setting my blogs in case of the rapture. You think I'm kidding?!  Yeah, I'm a serious blogger, I never miss even for vacation, the rapture, or pretty much anything.  And that brings me to my last point...

Blogging is one of my greatest ways to reduce stress because it's doing something I absolutely LOVE and is not work, not a hobby, not a "have to" ~ it's a "get to".  I'll greatly miss it while I'm away although I've pre-set them to publish.  I won't stop writing altogether.  I think I would go crazy.  I have a journal with pen and paper for this week.  I'll still be writing what's on my heart, this time while sitting on our balcony on the ship...(yes, can you believe they even got us a balcony room?!) as I sip my coffee.  My writing this week will just be between Jesus and me. 



Again, thank you Celebration for gracing us with this amazing week away.  We love you more than words can say.

4 comments:

Sister Diana said...

Great word, PD!! Truly hope you enjoy your week w/Larry! Have fun & enjoy yourselves!!

Leanne said...

That sounds like an absolutely amazing week - have fun!!!!

Pastor Lisa said...

Enjoy PD! Hey it's Leanne! How are you?

Rhonda said...

WOW - you ARE a serious blogger! What an incredible church you have and how blessed you are! I pray you have the best vacation ever :)