I’m stressed out. Tired and stressed out, to be precise.
Earlier today, I looked up the definition of stress, and this is what I found:
“A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
So, I looked up the definition of peace (seeing as it’s the topic for May), and it gave two definitions, both of which started with the words:
Those two words stopped me in my tracks and highlighted the fact that I’ve been feeling the opposite of peace.
The truth is I haven’t been feeling freedom from anything.
But, I’ve started taking steps to figure out how I can keep stress from dominating my life. Especially since the “adverse and demanding circumstances” that contributed to me becoming so stressed are probably not going to go away anytime soon.
What’s a girl to do?
Well, my hubby and I are going on vacation just 4 short days from now, and I’m pretty sure that 8 days in Puerto Vallarta will go a long way to helping my stress. But, that will only be a brief respite, after which life will resume and, no doubt, my stressful circumstances.
It was recently suggested that I need to regularly spend time with a trusted friend or two who I can confide in, and who appreciates me for the person I am. I do have those people in my life but they mostly live somewhere else, which is the downside of having moved around a lot. But, there are a couple of friends where I live who have the potential to become close relationships. So, one of my goals is to become more intentional about deepening those friendships.
The closer your support system, the better.
It was also suggested that I be kinder to myself, and regularly indulge in some of the things I most enjoy. Things like going for a massage, taking a brisk walk, baking, reading, blogging, having date nights with my hubby, getting together with a friend for coffee, watching a movie, etc. These ideas seem somewhat simplistic on the surface but I do enjoy them, and they’ve been falling through the cracks in direct proportion to how stressed I’ve been feeling. Basically, I need to work smarter, not harder.
The goal is to manage my stress rather than have my stress manage me.
I’ve done a few of the things I enjoy this week but, to be honest, I still don’t feel much better. I do think our vacation will help jumpstart the process, and I’m very thankful for the timing. From the moment we leave the driveway until we return 8 days later, nothing but rest and relaxation will be on the agenda. I plan on taking full advantage of being out of the country… spending lots of quality time with my hubby, sunbathing, swimming, snorkelling, eating, reading, sightseeing, and sleeping.
I just need to remember that I didn’t get this stressed overnight so I won’t get unstressed overnight either. But, simply having a plan makes me think that peace is at least possible.
I especially need to remember that God is bigger than anyone or anything that’s been causing me stress. It’s easier said that done but committing my circumstances to Him, and trusting that He will intervene in the right way and at the right time will go a long way to being able to feel peace in the midst of the storm. I’ve been praying a lot but maybe I need to be still and listen more too.
It’s hard to hear that still small voice when I’m doing all the talking.
I decided to combine the definitions of peace and stress to come up with a new definition for peace that goes like this…
“Freedom from a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
I like it.
I’m actively in pursuit of peace… my own version of “freedom from”, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it increases my joy.
But, it’s a journey, not a destination. So it’s to be continued…