Life gets stressful. And often, no one can help us deal with that stress but ourselves.
No one wants to hear, “You are too blessed to be stressed.” Those words are rarely helpful. Yet times do get stressful.
Police stops you while the kids are crying. One of them needs to use the bathroom, and you have no registration card. Or dinner isn’t ready, everyone is hungry, and you still need to make the guest room beds (because those guests arriving any minute).
There are plenty of little stresses throughout every day…and then there are the big ones. Throughout it all, we want to hear words that give us encouragement and perspective, even if those words have to come from ourselves. Here are 10 things to say to yourself, think about, or do, to help you through the day-to-day stressful moments.
“What’s the first thing I need to do?” When that policeman stops you, get your license out first. Don’t start explaining and crying first. If the kids are hungry and dinner isn’t ready, dig out some crackers or apples…anything to keep them calm until dinner does get done. Pick the most important thing, do it, and move onto the next.
“What do “I” need to do right now and what can I delegate or do at a later time?” It’s important to make the guest beds if guests are walking in any minutes. The dishes can be done later…
“This won’t last forever.” The baby is up night after night. This stage doesn’t last forever (I promise you)… This week’s schedule may seem very overwhelming, but time passes very fast and soon it will be next week!
“It’s not in my control.” Don’t worry about things you can’t control. Deal with things you can control, and throw off the burden of worrying about the others.
Make a list. Write it all down. Once you write down everything that needs to get done, half the job is done. Well, not half, but it certainly helps you clarify what you need to do and you can begin focusing on crossing items off that list.
“Sometimes the stresses are part of regular life. I chose this.” These kids are mine and I’m thrilled to help them with homework (and though you might not be thrilled with homework, you understand it’s part of a package deal).
Give yourself rewards. They don’t have to be big things. I’ll get dinner cleaned up, bathe the kids, and then I’ll go take a long hot shower. Then I’ll deal with XYZ. And then I’ll relax by reading Between Carpools. Hey, who said women need luxuries to make them happy? A little quiet time and we’re good to go. Make yourself happy so you don’t have to rely on others to feel encouraged.
Think of a specific person that’s in a very difficult predicament. It doesn’t have to be someone who’s sick; it can be anyone who has it harder and would change places with you in a heartbeat. Think, “Wouldn’t so-and-so be thrilled to be hosting everyone for a Shabbos meal instead of being alone again?”
Differentiate what is real stress and self-inflicted stress. Feeling pressure while choosing tiles for a new bathroom may be self-inflicted stress. Did you take on that extra work project, not for the money, but for the challenge and growth opportunity? Only you can judge for yourself what is self-inflicted stress you chose to have and what stressful situations you would have never signed up for.
“Don’t be so hard on yourself.” Not everything can get done the way you want and that’s just fine.