There is a load of bricks in my front yard and they have been there for a while. When we first got the bricks, I was excited! It was a sign of a new mailbox we were getting. Wonderful! Then, nothing happened. The bricks sat, and sat… I won’t tell you how long, my husband may actually read this!! 🙂
(Hi honey! Do you like our bricks??)
When I drive by my house sometimes I don’t even notice the bricks. Sometimes, though, the bricks become an irritation; a reminder of what was hoped for and has not developed. Stress can be a lot like that load of bricks in my walkway.
1. On one hand, some stressors can be fun and exciting: something to look forward to, like Christmas or a long-awaited vacation. Although they take a lot of time and energy, they are positive things in our lives. (This is called eustress – see my Question of the Week).
2. On the other hand, some stressors feel like a ton of bricks on your chest. These are when your hopes and dreams are not turning out as you wished, and you feel that you can barely breathe or move.
3. Other stressors we simply keep in our lives, not doing anything about them. Sometimes we notice them, and sometimes we don’t. But they can become irritations that take our energy.
First, let’s note that we live in a very stressful world. I believe the world actually encourages stress. We are given “kudos” for being busy. I actually think there are awards out there for stuff like that: Mother of the Year, Businessman of the Week, Person with the Most Appointments on Your Already-Too-Busy-Schedule. Yet, being busy does not actually equate with greatness. Being too busy can be detrimental. We can easily get mixed up about what is important, what is good, and what is just…extra.
I do believe we need to be contributing and active. I do believe we are expected to make the most of this life, and help and better the world around us. But the real question is, “Are we?” Many of the things we are busy with are good, but are they truly essential? And, are we taking enough care of ourselves along the way to maintain our own health and well-being physically, emotionally, and spiritually? So, in the next few weeks, I am going to be putting some focus on stress management and relief. Today, I am going to talk about simplifying the “busy-ness” of our world.
1. Take an inventory. First, ask yourself what is most important in your life? Is it your family? Is it your faith? Make a list of those things, and try to keep it to five things or less. Now, also, be realistic. Many people would hesitate to put “work” on this list, but it may really be a priority in your life. Be sure that you are honest with yourself.
2. Align your time with your priorities. Where are you spending the majority of your time? Now, granted, many of us spend a lot of time working. Sometimes that is essential. If you work, evaluate the time you do have outside of that. If your family is top of your list, and you are spending all your time watching tv, running errands, at your church calling, and on social media, then maybe you need to reevaluate. Even good things must be evaluated. Church callings can be wonderful, but if these are taking away from other more important, quality events, then maybe reevaluation is necessary.
3. Slow down. Take some deep breaths, say a prayer, seek inspiration through quiet and meditation and study. We often miss ideas and inspiration because we are constantly surrounded by distractions, sound, media, and to-do tasks.
Just yesterday, I got into the car my husband had just been driving to go to the store. I pulled out of the driveway and noticed, “Something’s different…” It took a few seconds before I realized that the radio was off. It was quiet. The only noise was the stuff in my head. “How unusual,” I thought. Peace. Well, as much peace as I get with my brain running… Sometimes I wish there was a mute button for that!
I truly believe that the best ideas come in times of quiet, in times of meditation, in times of peace. Yet, how often do we seek out peace? Take a minute, find a minute, create moments of peace and quiet to seek answers, inspiration and guidance for your life.
4. Pare it down. If you are feeling over-worked, over-tired, and over-busy, then it is time to pare down. There have to be some things to go, before your health and well-being do. Maybe you limit how much time on social media. Maybe you schedule your household tasks instead of trying to play catch-up, and maybe, you just say “No” to that extra meeting.
Now, many people actually say they want to pare down, but then they “add” things to their schedule. You can do that, you can add things, but the more brick you pile up, the heavier your burden.
So, do we really want to be busy bodies? Can’t we just work a little on finding balance, eliminating the extra “stuff”? When we focus on the essential things that will benefit us and the world around us, we will find that we will contribute, and still have a little time left over to BREATHE! (check out this post) Good luck! Try some of these and come back for more ideas on stress management soon!
What are you doing with your bricks?
Stayed tuned tomorrow for my Sunday Message!