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Let’s Get Clarity About Stress

Because you have more control over it than you might think you do!

Photo by nikko macaspac on Unsplash

Hi everyone,

This past week I had the pleasure of speaking at an online summit for women seeking to trust God more in their lives. Amidst a great group of speakers, I talked about how to reduce or eliminate stress in our lives.

I expected most would scoff at the idea that we have much control over the stress that enters our lives. Life is stressful and so often we are caught in the whirlwind that we don’t even have a moment to stop and wonder if there is anything we can do about it.

But, women listened and my story resonated with them!

Why? Because it’s a universal story: the woman who tries to do it all, be everything to everyone, the one who can’t say no, and the woman who worries about letting others down or losing the approval of others.

You may feel like you are drowning from stress or that there are few to no options for you to get rid of the stress that keeps you captive. The good news is there are simple, practical steps you can take to start to reduce stress, recognize when it is creeping back in, and eliminate the things you have control over.

If you didn’t get a chance to attend the summit, no worries. You can sign up here to get access to all the recordings and freebies!

I’d like to share some truths about stress that can help you better manage it in your life. And as always, these are simple and practical tips you can start implementing TODAY!

#1 Just because you can doesn’t mean you should!

We are all capable and fantastic humans, gifted with skills and spiritual gifts. That doesn’t mean we have to say yes to everything that is asked of us.

Should is the dirty word that women need to stop saying!

Should is the modern woman’s shackle, it ties us to guilt and shame and never good enough.

If you’re ready to kick should to the curb for good read more here…

#2 Honor your limitations.

For years I did things even though I was in pain. I went to dinner with colleagues with a raging migraine because I felt it was expected of me. I pushed myself until my body rebelled and refused to go on. Sometimes, the only time I rested is when I was bedridden with a migraine.

Don’t feel compelled to do things that are beyond your ability to do comfortably. Don’t take time away from your family because you think others will be disappointed. And remember that you can do anything but not everything.

Also, remember that No is a complete sentence.

Read more on this topic…

Not everything is meant for you — choose with intention and purpose.

#3 Seasons of life dictate priorities.

Be content in the season you are in and make this time your priority. There will be time to do other things, to volunteer, go back to work, or start a business, but this may not be that season for you. Don’t worry that you are not doing enough — you are doing exactly what you need to be doing right now!

More on seasons…

#4 Snatch solitude.

I just can’t emphasize this one enough. God never shouts at us and the busier you are the more you need that quiet time to settle in with Him and listen to His voice.

If you are standing in the midst of chaos and clutter hoping to find peace, you are deceiving yourself.

Create a lifestyle that has silence and solitude built in and covet that time as if it were your lifeline to God and His best for you because it is.

More on finding ways to add solitude and silence in your day…

#5 Do your best each day, and only your best.

I used to think this meant working myself to the point of a mental or physical breakdown or complete exhaustion. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Doing your best means honoring those limitations we talked about and being okay with the progress you made that day. Some days our plans just seem to implode and that’s okay, you did your best. End the day with gratitude and remember that His mercies are new each morning.

When you learn to rest in this simple truth, you will avoid a host of self-judgment and regret.

#6 Stop judging yourself.

Comparison is the thief of joy. — Teddy Roosevelt

When we compare ourselves to others and hold ourselves to impossible Instagram influencer-like standards, we are always going to feel like a failure.

This gets easier with age and wisdom but no matter where you are on this journey you can learn to walk in the confidence that you are living your life the way it was meant to be.

You may not be rocking the size 6 dress like your sexy, single neighbor who teaches Zumba classes five days a week, but she may not have the lifestyle demands of raising three kids and taking care of an elderly parent that you do. Do your best (#5) and be content with that.

#7 Keep your eyes on your own paper.

I think you can see how this closely relates to #6 and how all of these points are weaving themselves together.

A few years ago I had a dramatic dream that I now call the “keep your eyes on your own paper” dream. What I believe God wanted me to learn from this dream is that His will and purpose for my life is the only thing I need to be concerned about. And the only approval I need is His to do what He’s called and blessed me to do.

Your journey may look strangely different from your friends or siblings, but only you can answer to God about how you listened to His call and responded. When we try to walk in shoes that are not ours to wear, life gets stressful and complicated quickly. Keep your eyes on your own life and walk in confidence.

#8 Learn to rest and listen to your body.

I have already hit on this one and I want to emphasize it last because I have found that it’s a missing component of many lives. We are taught to focus on the spiritual but we are remiss when we don’t learn that our bodies speak loudly to us.

That’s not to say that we let our flesh and its weakness rule our lives, but our bodies are connected to our emotions and even our subconscious. Often we know something is right or wrong by how our body responds but we push those warnings away and try to operate on a logical basis only.

“It takes courage to say yes to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” — Brené Brown

When your body is screaming that it needs rest, please listen. When your mind is so full of runaway thoughts that you feel anxious and stressed, take some time to do nothing. It is a spiritual discipline to slow down and rest. Sometimes doing nothing is the most spiritual thing you can do.

Which one of these truths about stress speaks to you?

In case you missed it…

We had a great discussion about the beauty of an ordinary day in the Simple Life-Simple Faith Facebook group.

The ugly truth about what stress does to your body.

Simple breathing practices to help deal with stress.

My latest book recommendation. Try Softer by Aundi Kolber. Instead of trying harder, what might your life look like if you slowed down, showed yourself some kindness, and tried a little softer?

Try Softer

Thanks for reading! Keep it simple and love whatever season you are in.~Mary

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