A few days ago, I shared my friend Beckra’s strategies for surviving the super-stressful moments in life. A day or two later than promised, I’m sharing some of the suggestions I offered her:
- Photo Walk. Take a walk…with your camera. You saw this one coming. Right? My camera has saved my sanity so many times that I’ve lost count.
When things get a bit crazy, I grab my camera and take a walk. There’s always something new to capture, always something to take my mind off present matters or help me see them clearly. Of course, going for a walk is a good way to decompress–even without the camera.
- Inspiration Wall. Create an “inspiration wall” or bulletin board. In my “old” office at work, I had a “wall of inspiration” of writers who inspire me. I also had another space that was filled with beautiful images and words. Since these are not suitable for my current office, I am “relocating” my walls to my home office. The images not only inspire me but they also remind me that though we struggle, there’s something much larger operating and something grander falling into place.
- Doodle. Take out your pens or sharpies and doodle (or paint or draw). I used to think that writing (journaling) was my best stress reliever or survival strategy. However, when my sister died last year, my grief was larger than words, and I found myself choking back the bile, grief, the utter disappointment. Doodling helped tremendously–even if I doodled just one word or around a word or phrase. I found that doodling can be just as effective in relieving stress as writing. Bonus: I think doodling is improving my drawing. If you’ve been following long enough, you know I am not an artist, but my hubby pointed out that I am improving. Woohoo!
- Scissors, Tape, Glue. Cut something. Tape something. Glue something. My finding this relaxing surely has something to do with using my hands. I usually carry a crafting pouch with me. It contains stickers, glue, pretty pens, card stock, washi tape, and pretty paper to make envelopes and/or write letters, a few postcards. Scissors are a must, because something about the repetition of cutting is so relaxing and calming (well, for me).
My little one gave me a wonderful crafting bag for Christmas last year–he filled it with washi tape and stickers. I have it already packed with 12×12 scrapbooking paper and a “We are Memory Keepers” envelope maker–ready for my long and stressful days. The cutting, measuring, scoring, folding and gluing–sure stress relief. Bonus: pretty envelopes to share and for mailing.
- A “Distant” Shoulder. Lean on someone detached from your situation. Just about all of my closest friends are academicians and it’s so easy to pick up the phone and call one of them when I face certain challenges. However, when I’m in over-stressed, crisis mode re: work, it’s beneficial to turn to someone who isn’t experiencing the same stressors. Sometimes we need more than someone to commiserate. We need a different perspective to help us see the larger picture.
- Lists. Make lists. I’ve always been a lister in one way or another, but just last fall I rediscovered listing in a whole new way. I’ve become a list journaler and I’m discovering so much about myself in the process. I’ve been transforming my lists into beautiful documents that reflect my inner and outer life. I’ve been embellishing them with doodles, washi tape, scrapbooking paper and elements and my own photography. I think my son will have quite a few beautiful journals to treasure.
Lists can be written anywhere–in a coffee shop, at work, in a meeting, even at church (shhh…don’t tell)–in a notebook, on scrap paper, or even on a napkin. You can list anything–what is frustrating you at the moment; what is working; what isn’t working; ways to handle a crisis moment, etc.
- Change Your View. Instead of focusing on the issue at hand, take a moment to turn around (or look up) and gaze elsewhere.
- The Four Agreements. Exercise Don Miguel Ruiz’s “the four agreements”–Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take things personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.
Ruiz’s The Four Agreements is a work of genius. I’ve had the agreements memorized since I read his book at the recommendation of a good friend many years ago; they’ve gotten me through some rough spots. I remind myself of the second agreement, “Don’t take things personally,” almost daily.
- Laugh. Find something humorous and laugh out loud. It really works!
- Scripture Recall. Memorize and meditate over biblical scriptures. This is one of my standard methods for dealing with the crazies, especially those situations that unsettle me immediately. I have a number of “go to” Bible verses that I recall in stressful situations. I typically combine “scripture recall” with some of the other methods listed above.
That’s it for now. I hope you’ve found something in this post and the previous post to help you get through the super-stressful moments.
Note: All the photos in this post were taken on my iPhone. These are “Alex’s Flowers.” Alex is a wonderful person who I met just a few months ago. She celebrated her birthday October 9, exactly one week after mine. 🙂 She received dozens of flowers on her birthday, and I managed to get in a few shots before she whisked them away. They’re so bright and cheerful!