Stress…Advice For A Younger You

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2

Like many people, I have struggled with a lot of stress through out my life at my workplace, home, and just with everything. For the last 7 years I have been dealing with all sorts of medical demands for my husband, then myself and in the last year my mother, all while trying to work a 40-hour week, multitasking, playing taxi for a now 8 year old granddaughter, you name it.

When hard pressed, I cried to the LORD; he brought me into a spacious place. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?

Psalms 118:5-6

For me, everything started to go downhill, after I got diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Between Doctors appointments, tests and waiting on results, and surgeries, and medication (all while my husband is going through treatment for lymphoma), I was just tired. From lack of sleep, hot flashes draining me, stressing over the future, and trying to have a normal life.

I got burned out. I’d been ignoring my symptoms for quite a while: I could no longer focus, I was exhausted, which demotivates and feel like I am not as productive as I should be. And Thursdays (now taken on Sundays), the day I take the dreaded pill for Osteoporosis, I become nauseous and the thought of having to go to work is hard to push through. But being the head strong person I am, who refuses to give in, I get up and go. Some times I’d throw up, but most of the time, I am just be nauseous (wishing is would just throw up) all day long. And the headaches…Migraines…Horrible pounding (like a jack hammer) in my head that would last two to three days, at least 3 times a month.

If I were to write a letter to the person I was 20 years ago, this is what I would say to myself:

1. Find your purpose

Easier said than done, I know. Some people find their purpose early on in life. Others, of us, struggle for a lifetime, looking for it and eventually giving up for the sake of staying in their comfort zone.

You might feel a bit lost and not sure where to go. It’s okay. Go out there and try as many different things as you can. Don’t ever feel like you’re wasting your time. The process that you’ll be going through will shape you into who you will be. If you let your intuition guide you, you will almost certainly be in your most fulfilled place in the future when your find your purpose in life. Enjoy the journey. Don’t rush. Every little path you have to go through will lead you somewhere. And looking back, you will be able to connect the dots. It will all make sense.

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out

Proverbs 20:5

2. Start blogging. At first, I did this to maintain my sanity amidst the sea of uncertainty I was in. It keeps your mind cleansed of the stress.

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

1 Peter 5:7

3. Stop putting yourself down

Others are doing it already. There are always those that you will never be good enough for. I was pretty good at that, and sometimes, I still am. Even when I should have taken credit for something that I did right, or when my efforts were acknowledged, I was way too humble to brag.

Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28-30

4. Avoid multitasking

I was was really good at multi-tasking. In time (after starting Tamoxifen), I learned how bad multitasking is for the brain. Dividing your attention on doing too many things in the same time frame was now something that is completely to me, now. To me, now, multitasking is the synonym of chaos. So, I pushed myself to start working on one project at a time and break it down into smaller tasks (e.g.: as the writer, I research a topic first, then outline it, write about it, edit it, post it).

Focus on one thing at a time. You can have it all in life, but not all at once. And if you don’t keep your focus right, you might not achieve anything.

For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the gospel of Christ:

2 Corinthians 10:14

5. Learn to say ‘no’

I have never had it in me to say ‘no’ to people. Most of the time, I would try to please everyone — saying ‘no’ was not an option. I had to say ‘no’ on several occasions to a demanding and disrespectful person with whom I had the most acrimonious relationship ever. She just never took no for an answer. Later, I understood this was one of the many lessons life had in store for me. It had to happen so that I would learn to stand up for myself instead of being someone else’s doormat.

Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

Romans 12:17-21

6. Stop being a perfectionist

You think you could still improve on what ever project you just finished, or the article you wrote for one of your blogs. Isn’t the thought of that killing you? You could still tweak it here and there. You know you could have made it sound so much better. Putting too much pressure on yourself is a sure recipe towards burnout.

12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. 16 Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation [1] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Philippians 3:12-21

7. Practice gratitude

Stop focusing on what you don’t have and be grateful for what you have. I started a gratitude journal where every day, I would write down five things I was grateful for. When was the last time you did nothing but watch the sky? Or smell a flower? Or be mindful that you live and breathe? Find happiness in the little things and pay attention to the here and now.

Do not be anxious about the little stuff or anything for that matter, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7

8. Never compare yourself to others

You are doing yourself a huge disservice if you think of yourself as lesser than people around you: less smart, less pretty, less secure and good at what you do. There’s no reason in the world you should undermine yourself.

Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility.

Galatians 6:4-5

9. Meditate

No anti-stress pill will ever make you feel any better. Soul-searching helps you get to the bottom of how you feel when you’re under pressure. Treat the root cause instead of the effect. Spend some alone time. Change the words you use to express your thoughts and feelings. Make a habit of using fewer words with negative connotations and take a more positive approach to life.

O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained

Psalm 8:1-9

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin

Matthew 6:26-30

10. Everything happens for a reason

Without mistakes and failure, you would have never learned a thing. Without breakups, you would have never met someone new. Without pain, you would have never grown. Once you understand this, really understand this, you will know that everything comes in to serve a purpose and then it will go. You will not dwell on disappointments or view unfortunate events as regrets. But rather, you’d see them as opportunities in disguise. Only those with a sharp brain and a spiritual mind can understand the fleeting nature of events in life. So, don’t stress or ever think that life is unfair, because everything happens for a reason. And only time will tell.

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,  4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,  5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,  6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,  7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,  8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. 9 What do workers gain from their toil?  10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.  11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.  14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.  15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

11. You can plan ahead but your plan will definitely change when the time comes.

You can plan ahead but know that sometimes planning ahead can give you a clearer direction of where you want to go, drive you, and motivate you. The planning process can teach you something. However, don’t be too fixated on a plan. Plans will almost definitely always change. Be prepared! Live life with open arms. You will go where you’re supposed to be headed. Don’t stress.

12. Trust your instincts.

Don’t worry too much about a decision you have to make. Don’t try to weigh the pros and cons and follow logic. Just do what feels right. Do what you believe would make you most happy. You know what you want. You might consult other people. But deep down, you know what you want. You don’t need to seek outside assurance to confirm what your heart knows best. Do what makes you happy. Because at the end of the day, even if you follow logic, you will want to quit and follow your heart.

13. Take a leap of faith in yourself

Take a leap of faith in yourself. You’ve got nothing to lose but everything to gain. If you fail, you’ll become smarter, If you succeed, you’ll gain even more self-confidence and the emotional and financial rewards. You’ll never know the limit of how much you can achieve until you take a leap of faith in yourself and try. Keep your focus right. Invest in yourself. Accelerate your learning curve. See life as a progressive journey. And you’ll most certainly always achieve anything you set your mind to.

Don’t let stress take over your life! You can’t avoid it, but at least try to mitigate the negative effects it has on your well-being. You have only one life to live, so you better not waste it.

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