I have intended to write an article on the topic of stress for quite some time now. The purpose of this blog is to address ALL things health—
this includes spiritual health, mental health, and physical health. Stress falls into the category of mental health, but it affects our physical health.
This brings me to a key foundational point of my philosophy. I believe that in order for us to walk in physical health, we have to have our spiritual and mental health in order. And I believe this also means that we need to have our priorities in order concerning the three. If we exalt physical health above the other two, they will suffer. If we exalt our mental health above spiritual or physical health, they, too, will suffer. I believe that the proper order of importance is spiritual first, mental second, and physical last. Just because physical health comes in last place doesn't mean we neglect it. On the contrary, there must be a balance between the three. I really want to emphasize this, because I know on this blog, most of the attention is on physical health. I think this is an area that people have neglected for too long, so I feel the need to spread truth about it. In the process I don't want you to forget about your mental and spiritual health.
So back to the subject of stress...
Many things can create stress in our lives—relationship issues, finances, raising kids, work pressures, and the day-to-day duties we all have, like keeping on top of the bills, driving our kids around town for activities, etc. I remember reading somewhere that there are different types of stress—on type is from major things in our lives, the death of a loved one, for example, but the other type is from our busy, multi-tasking lives. In the article I read, the latter type was worse than the former, simply because it is there day in and day out and there isn’t a release. We need to be aware that children and teens can feel stress, as well. It is my hope, in the future, to address some of these issues in an effort to help you relieve some stress. We'll see how that goes—
as much as I think about it, it seems I do get pulled in the direction of writing about physical health more often. J
With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas next month, I felt it was a good time to at least touch on this topic. The holidays seem to bring so much stress for so many. If you are feeling stress over the holidays, it really is best for your overall health that you pull back and take it easy. Do some shopping online; avoid the crowds. Share the burden of preparing the holiday meals with others—
many hands make light work. I had good intentions of sending out Christmas cards this year and even thought of making goody plates for people, but I won't be doing either of these. Right now, I am learning to say no more (read on). I'm not even making a turkey this year! I bought turkey legs instead and will make a very small version of the holiday meal. Thanksgiving is going to be a nice relaxing time with my family. To see what my menu was last year, click here. It will be pretty close to the same this year.
Stress is a sneaky, subtle thing. I think most of us feel stress and we don't give it a second thought. We just think that's life, we're busy and we just trudge on. Many think that to ask for help is a sign of weakness. We don't realize that this stress is having an effect on our physical bodies.
I have been dealing with a skin issue since June and I have just learned that it was caused by stress! I had this same issue pop up about 16 years ago when I was under a lot of stress. I just recently connected the dots and could see how that incident was stress related, as well. I always thought I was one that handled stress really well, though. I remember interviewing for a job and telling my future boss that things don't bother me, things just roll off my back. I have always prided myself on being in control of my emotions. If I’m upset about something one day, I can just sleep it off, and I’
m fine the next day. I can wake up in the morning feeling resolved, without ever really resolving anything. I think the word for that is repression! J I have never been a very outward person; I don't display a lot of emotion. But I am learning that it has to come out somehow. It was a big shock to find that I was manifesting a display of stress. I wasn't even feeling stressed! But I do look back now and realize that when this skin issue started I was under a great deal of stress. The stress only lasted for a few weeks, but my skin set into a bad cycle that brought about its own stress. I am happy to say now that I am on the road to recovery, having finally got to the root.
Dr. Mercola has his EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Dr. Cowan has his patients practice meditation. While neither of these is for me, I can see the effectiveness behind them. Take time to find out what relieves your stress. You may be surprised to find that recreation isn’
t necessarily the answer. I've started paying attention to myself, relaxing my shoulders throughout the day and stopping to take a good deep breath and, more importantly, turning down activities and obligations that I know will stress me out.
So take some time this holiday season to relieve your stress. If you are feeling stress in other areas, please address these issues. Get counseling, read books, do what you have to do to get your mental health in order, because your physical health will follow suit.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.
P.S. I have found a handy organizational tool. It is www.IwantSandy.com. It works through your email. (I am in my email all day long anyway, might as well make it work for me.) This tool will keep track of phone numbers, appointments, birthdays—all sorts of things. I am loving it! It emails me first thing every morning with my list of to-dos. If I think of something during the day that I need to do that evening or the next day, I just send a quick email to Sandy and the program will send me a reminder (when I designated) to do that item. If you have a calendar, but forget to check it, this program is for you. And, best of all, it's free!
Update 11/26/08: I found out that this handy new organizer I Want Sandy is going offline on December 8th. You can read about it here. They recommend four other calendar programs, I'll have to check them out. I am bummed about this. :(