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6 Ways to Combat Stress

A Year in the Spiritual Life... Discover Your Purpose: 6 Ways to Combat Stress

Friday

6 Ways to Combat Stress

She was my first child; my learning curve. 


Sarah was seven, just a small tiny thing, when she had her first seizure. 

I was in the middle of a difficult year in college, in the middle of mid-terms, when that morning changed everything. 

She had been ill in the night. I had not awoken when she had vomited on herself in the early morning hours. I was new in town, hadn’t made many friends, and had just started to flirt with the idea of going back to church after years out in the world. I had no support system nearby. 

My husband worked for a new company and having a sick day was not really an option. I would have to miss midterms and risk failing, or make it work. 

I chose to make it work. 

I called a new acquaintance from church and asked them to watch her for a few hours. When they agreed I was relieved. I drove to meet them and drop off my pale, oddly quiet, sickly girl. As I put her into the other car it happened. She had a grand mal seizure. 

In my arms. 

If you are a parent, then you know the fear and the anguish I felt in that moment. Even now, I tear up at the memory of her face, contorted and pulled oddly to one side. Half of her body was limp and the other half pulled, jerking, struggling in all the wrong angles.   

I had one thing to say in that moment. It is a word I cannot repeat here. EVER. 

I knew what epilepsy looked like. My great grandmother was epileptic, and died having a static seizure. I knew what could be down the road. 

I did not stop, I did not collect $200, I swooped her up, ran back to my car, prayed for all I was worth, and drove to the hospital. 

It was one of the most stressful, fear-filled moments in my life. 

The most stressful moment however, was the one when I realized she had been seizing in the early morning hours while I slept just 20 feet away. 

By herself. 

She could have died, aspirating on her own vomit. I could have lost her and never known she needed me. For me it was a low moment. 

Since then, Sarah has grown out of her epilepsy and has been seizure free for six years now. Of course, there is always a chance she could relapse with a pregnancy or some other severe stressors, but for now she is a healthy 16 year-old and those things are something we acknowledge as future possibilities and then move on. 

Why am I telling you this? 


I am telling you this story because I want you to know that no matter what is going on, that moment of fear and stress will pass. 

Whatever you are going through, as hard, as difficult, or as scary as it may be, life will keep going on. There is only one thing you can control. 

You. 

Your words, your actions, your thoughts, these are the battleground right now. 


Here are six things you can do to get through this time without self-destructing physically/emotionally or losing faith: 

1. Get rest. When our bodies are stressed there are more hormones being poured into us. These hormones cause our hearts to beat faster, our muscles to tense up and mess with our digestion. Stress can even mess with sleep patterns. So slow down and get a nap in. The world will not come to a crashing halt while you catch a few moments of rest. 

2. Mind you words. The enemy loves an ambush. What better time to attack than when you are distracted. Remember the bible says give no foothold to the devil. Be careful that your words are faith filled, prayerful, grateful, and kind. 

3. Pray. Prayer allows a rest of a different kind. Emotional and spiritual rest. You need to keep your tank full. Get some face time with God. Get in His presence and let him renew your mind and spirit. 

4. Get physical. Don’t forget to take care of you. Go for a walk, hit the gym for 30 minutes, or do some other physical activity. When under stress our bodies tense up. Muscles need exercise to release lactic acid that can build up and cause those aches and pains you may feel. 

5. Pay attention to what and how you eat. When we are stressed, we are often on the go. Grabbing fast food may seem like a simple solution to your time crunch now, but in the long run, fast food can make the effects of stress harder to overcome. Eat well, taking time to spread out your meals and snacks into small portions of healthy fruits and vegetables. 

6. Celebrate the good. When we are in stressful situations it can seem like nothing is going right. Take the time to pay attention. Look for those moments to be thankful for. A colleague buying lunch, a friend calling at just the right time, or a stranger’s smile can make all the difference if you are paying attention. Stay grateful. 

Remember that no one is perfect. Do not be too hard on yourself during this time and keep in mind that this is just a season. Seasons change. 

How do you like to combat stress?  

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