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Don't Drown in Stress. It'll Ruin Your Day.

The faded sign atop the dresser at the lakeside cottage read, "Don't drown. It will ruin your day." I thought someone with a flair for the obvious must have created it. Then I thought of how we can get so caught up in things to do, we feel like we're drowning, and how that's an easy way to ruin our day.

Have you ever crawled out of bed in the morning and crawled back in because you felt overwhelmed by all the housework you had to do?

Did you ever have to come up for air in the middle of your day after appointments, phone calls, meetings, and "stuff" you needed to accomplish?

How many times have you reached for a liquid life preserver after eight or nine hours of work, and trying to check off everything on your to-do list?

Whether it's morning, midday, or evening, all the activities and accomplishments you face can make you feel like your drowning mentally and emotionally, and that can easily ruin your day.

"Bad Things" Can Happen

When I'm at the beach, I enjoy watching people make their way into the water. Some tiptoe into the water and gingerly wade deeper. Others, usually kids, young adults, and brave seniors, dash in to confront the waves.

Then there are the few who go farther and farther out beyond the safety ropes. They're in over their head, and "bad things" can happen.

Bad things like stress, anxiety, and even depression can happen when we get in over our head with busyness at home, work, and even with church-related activities and volunteer service.

Busy Becomes Burnout

You have to recognize when busy is turning into burnout. When you’ve gone too deep and you’re in over your head.

What are some of the "bad things" that can happen?

  • Feeling overwhelmed, unable to start, even on the smallest essential things

  • Being "not yourself," irritable, tense, and overly sensitive to others' comments

  • Unable to relax, thinking about work, things to do and no time to do them

  • Finding yourself in the "fog of confusion," unable to focus and think clearly

  • Avoiding friends and favorite activities, spending less time with family members

  • Seeing drastic changes in your sleeping, eating, and sexual habits

  • Experiencing other physical symptoms associated with stress

  • Spending less time with God, experiencing long periods of spiritual dryness

What are some of the "good things" you can do rescue yourself?

  • Recognizing you need to make changes, but don't stress over it

  • Manage your time better by planning your day, even your week

  • Writing down your plan and prioritizing, getting it out of your head

  • Speaking of priorities, put sleeping, exercise, and a healthy diet on the top

  • Limiting caffeine, avoiding self-medication with alcohol, drugs, OTC medicines

  • Practicing mindfulness, focusing on the task in front of you

  • Getting back to your favorite activities or finding new adventures

  • Setting aside "me time," and times for family, recreation, leisure

  • Practicing relaxation techniques appropriate for your beliefs

  • Leaving work at the office or plant, physically, mentally, emotionally

  • Delegating, letting go, not trying to accomplish everything yourself

  • Decluttering and organizing your office and home for peace and success

  • Spend time with music, the arts, dance, pets

  • And it's positively time to learn to say "no"

  • Engaging the help of a life coach to help and encourage you

  • Turning to a professional counselor if you sink deeper into depression

As Martha learned from Jesus in Luke 10:38-42, being caught up in activity and anxious about servicing distracts us from attending to the “good portion” in our lives, our relationship with the Lord, our God. We also need to keep God at the center of our lives in prayer, praise, worship, and community. Try looking at things from God's perspective of what's really important.

Listen to God's Words

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress.

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. (Psalm 107:28-29)

The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. (Luke 8:14)

Come to me,all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30).

Also read: Psalm 1:3, Luke 5:15-16, James 1:12

In the Words of Others

“Stress is the trash of modern life-we all generate it but if you don't dispose of it properly, it will pile up and overtake your life.” Danzae Pace

"Set peace of mind as your highest goal, and organize your life around it." Brian Tracy

"Stress, anxiety, and depression are caused when we are living to please others."

Paulo Coelho

Think About It

  • Have you gone through periods in your life when you felt like you were drowning, in over your head at home, at work, in your social life, in volunteer activities? Reflect on how things got out of control.

  • If you've had periods of stress bring on anxiety and even some times of depression, what were some of the "bad" things that happen to you.

  • If you've had such periods and experienced "bad" things, what were some of the "good" things you did to address the issues?


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