Stress and me

 It’s been weeks since I’ve blogged. Not for lack of not wanting or having soomething to write but from the low of being stressed out.

These past few months have been stressful months with worries about finances, health, children and life in general. It’s amazing how stress can play such a big role in your life and what it can do to a person.  Honestly I am a very easy going person and not too much phases me, but I don’t know if it is because I am getting older or that everything happened all at once that stress took hold of me and didn’t want to let go.  And there were times these past few months I felt myself balancing at the precipice of stress and looking down wondering if I would actually fall off the deep end. The strange thing was that no one not even my hubby actually knew how close I came to losing it. That is how well I hid my feelings.

Maybe I had too many irons in the fire with my alterations business, Etsy account, Instagram accounts, writing blog, and writing a book. Add to that the stress about my daughter and boyfriend moving all the way from California to Montana by themselves and my husband getting laid off plus a few other financial and health problems with family members and myself. And I pretty much had a pot of hot boiling stew in the pit of your stomach that never went away and I felt as if I was walking around in darkness trying to find a something or someone to light the way.

Stress is defined in the dictionary as a state of emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. Stress is also defined as subject to pressure or tension.  

Well that would probably define my whole life for the past two months in a nutshell. And it wasn’t getting any easier. Each morning I woke up with a heaviness that lasted throughout the day and sometimes kept me awake late into the night. My shoulders ached, my back ached, my knees ached, my heart ached. All because of the anxieties and stress that I chose to carry around by myself.

Now all those that know me and have been around me know that I am a very private and (I say this with tongue in cheek) proud person.  To tell you the truth it runs in the family. My mother and sisters and my daughter are all a lot like me. If something hurts you just grin and bear it. You don’t tell anyone about it, you just go on with life as if nothing is wrong. Whether it is physical or mental you just push it aside and go on with life. And tell yourself that it will eventually get better…but it doesn’t.

And to actually let you know how stress was ruling my life I began to drift away from what has been the solid rock in my life, the calm in the storm, the shoulder to lean on…. God. I began to be angry with him for all that was happening. And I started ignoring him. I let stress darken my life to the point of almost letting the light go out.

Stress can do a lot of strange things to a body. It affects people of all ages. It affects both male and female. It affects the rich and the poor. It affects everyone. Stress can be good at times providing energy that gives people the ability to get through certain circumstances like a work deadline or an exam or test.  But stress in the extreme can cause health problems and affect all systems of the body, including the nervous, immune, cardiovascular, and neuroendocrine systems.

Stress can make a weak man strong or a strong man weak. Or in my case…woman. But it all depends on the amount of stress. Stress in the extreme can be debilitating. It can cause heart attacks, mental breakdowns, diverticulitus, stomach ulcers. I could go on and on with all that stress can cause.

The only way to get rid of stress is to get rid of the things that are causing it. After dealing with our financial problem which is always a major cause of stress, I dealt with all my too many irons in the fire problems. I knew I had to tell a few people that I couldn’t help them out with alterations like wedding dresses and large sewing projects. That was hard to do since some were family and good friends. But they seemed very understanding and they even found others to take over that were willing to help out. That eased my load a bit. Then I took myself away from my tablet and computer and just let my accounts set. They weren’t going anywhere anyway. That lightened the load even more. My Etsy store was a bit harder since I was selling quite a bit. But luckily setting it on vacation mode for a week or so eased the strain even more.  My writing blogs and book suffered a bit when I didn’t sit down every week and write a little but maybe that is what I needed to get a clear vision of what I needed to write. And I finally got my daughter moved to Montana. I say I. They moved. I worried. But they made it here and they are pretty much settled. And what a blessing it is to have them close.  As far as the health issues, they are pretty much on going, but I am keeping them in check and honestly once the stress level went down most of my health issues went away. My husband getting laid off wasn’t too bad on our pocket book, after our finances got straightened out. Although having him around does put a bit of stress on my patience. (LOL tongue in cheek again.) Hopefully he’ll laugh when he reads this. Speaking of laughing I learned to laugh again and not take everything so seriously. That helped with my stress immensely. I also have to remember God’s words …”this too shall pass.” The funny thing was that in all this and with my anger with God and myself, I thought I had actually shut myself off from him but deep in my heart I had prayed for my daughter and her boyfriend to be safe, I had prayed that our finances would straighten out, I prayed that I would feel better. I had prayed.

 

Learning how to not take things so seriously and to not worry has been a hard pill for me to swallow these last few weeks. But I did swallow the pill. My dad who seems very easy going and seems to take everything in stride always says “If you worry it will happen, if you don’t worry it will happen, so why worry.” Well said Dad. Well said.

 

And knowing that God was still there to hear me pray even though I was angry enough to tell him he wasn’t listening made me realize that I wasn’t alone in this. I need to remember that. My husband told me that what got him through all of this was the verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.  Honestly my dear husband was right. But that is where I was wrong… I chose not to trust.  I should have looked up more…literally, because the verse is on a plaque hanging right above my desk. God was always there.

 

Today I woke up with the sun shining and the birds singing. Yes I did listen and I didn’t worry. And I am writing for the first time in a while. What I need to do now is to remember how to manage my stress. How not to take so much on that I am stressed from over doing. How to remember worrying doesn’t’ get you anywhere; that what will happen will happen. How talking or writing about it helps a lot. I guess it’s all in the downsizing. Get rid of things that cause stress and clean your house out of worries and problems you can’t do anything about. And the most important thing  is to Trust in the Lord!  Pray and give it to God and let him take care of it because honestly we can’t do it ourselves. And what better person to give it to than the Almighty.

 

May this day find you stress free and happy. And even if it is raining or you are in the midst of a storm in your life remember there is always God’s promise of the rainbow to come.  100_4710

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