Tools for Nourishing the Soul Under Stress

Soul – “the principle of life, feeling, thought, and action in humans, regarded as a distinct entity separate from the body, and commonly held to be separable in existence from the body; the spiritual part of humans as distinct from the physical part.”

Excessive, prolonged stress can cause anxiety as a reaction to the body wearing down from overexposure to stress.  This will stress the soul.  So, what can we do to nourish our souls while under prolonged stress?  Below are some things I’ve learned over the years.  I’d love your suggestions as well!

  1.  The biggest thing that nourishes my soul is maintaining my relationship with Jesus.  He made me and knows how to lavish my soul with good gifts, even while under stress.  His word feeds me; worship fills me, and thanksgiving reorients my soul to notice his good gifts.
  2. Ask the Lord if there is something I am doing that is increasing the stress.  My soul can hide so many things even from me, that sometimes, when stress seems more than it should, I ask if there is something hidden within that is contributing (a lie I’m believing; a hurt I’m harboring; or an action that enhances).  God has always answered this prayer – although not always right away.  Sometimes I’ve had to spend extended time with him; and sometimes I’ve needed to fast to get the answer.  God wants my attention.
  3. Is there sin I’m harboring?  My soul can’t be nourished to the full if I’m harboring unforgiveness, or holding onto a thought or behavior that is contrary to God’s peace.
  4. Do I need to let go of control and trust God?  Grasping for control in areas beyond me is a big cause of stress in my life.  Control Freak doesn’t work, but letting God work does.
  5. Am I too busy?  Am I taking time regularly for the purpose of nourishing my soul?  Am I taking time to rest and restore?
  6. Take time to notice beauty.  I have even asked the Lord to help me see his beauty and those things he has given to bless me.  Last week I took the dog for a walk and while outside stopped, closed my eyes, felt the sunshine on my face, and listened intently for a few moments to the birds chirping their songs.  I could actually feel my insides responding to God’s gifts to me in the moment, and I was refreshed.
  7. Take time to eat properly and get regular exercise.  Certain foods and exercise although needed for bodily health, will also nourish the soul by helping alleviate stress.  I’ve found that enjoying the company of a friend while doing both, coupled with laughter, nourishes the soul even more!  (I am just learning about the foods that alleviate stress.  The vitamin D found in sunshine is also extremely beneficial to elevating mood.)
  8. Take time regularly to do something fun. I love to garden – getting my hands dirty is so relaxing for me.  Landscape photography helps me de-stress, as well as putting on headphones and lying on the floor with my legs propped on the sofa.  What is your “fun”?
  9. Incorporate the help of a friend if needed to hold you accountable to nourish your soul regularly.
  10. If your stress is because of danger to you or your children, you may need to seek safety.

Finally, I will close with the following song:  “O My Soul” by Casting Crowns

With much love,

Robin <3

Advertisements

Shoring Up the Body Under Stress

Last Thursday morning, as the panic began to rise for the first time in about 3 years, I gratefully remembered something else I’ve learned.

Someone dear to me who also dealt with panic attacks after her husband died, discovered that our bodies have a gland ‘adrenal gland‘, that helps us deal with stress.  With extended stress, that gland can become fatigued, precipitating the effect of “overloading our circuits”, resulting in anxiety, brain fog, fatigue, and other related symptoms.  After a period of supplementation specifically to strengthen this gland, her panic attacks were brought under control.

Since learning this, I have kept Adrenal supplements in my cabinet.  This past Thursday, as I began to feel that horrible “rush”, I realized I hadn’t taken any that morning.  Within about 1/2 hour, my body began to settle down – sweet relief.  (I use a product called “David’s Adrenal Support – from a local health food store called “David’s Natural Market“.  My friend uses a product from Metagenics, called “Adrecet” found on Amazon.)  Someone recently recommended a beverage concoction that tastes like lemon cream and uses somewhat normal healthy ingredients that support a healthy adrenal gland – “Singing Canary“.  I’m still figuring out if this helps, but it is so healthy, it can’t hurt.

I have also learned through the years, of other supplements that help me deal with prolonged periods of stress (such as care giving, moving, death of a loved one, and adjusting to step parenting to name only a few such periods of life).  Vitamin B complex helps with the brain fog and grants me energy. Magnesium (I love the product “Calm”) has a calming effect (but it can also be a laxative, so I can’t overdo it).  I’m also experimenting with Essential Oils from ‘Young Living’, as they are guaranteed to be a therapeutic grade.  (I am a distributor for ‘Young Living’.)

I have also learned, especially under prolonged periods of stress, a high quality vitamin and probiotic are essential.

Lastly, because I’m sharing my experiences with helping the body deal with stress, I want to add – menopause is a huge change for the female body, and can stress our emotions (bringing on feelings of anxiety).  When I went through menopause, my moods shifted quickly and quite unexpectedly at times.  My mom mentioned that when she went through her change, someone recommended she use “progesterone cream”.  I purchased some through a company called ‘Arbonne’, but you can get it at many health food stores.  It was amazing!  Within a few minutes of application, I could literally feel my body and my emotions calm down.  I’ve since recommended it to others who have shared similar results.

Once again, I must stress – I’m no practitioner.  I am only able to share my experiences.  I would never be able to recommend to someone else what they need.  However, I have learned over the years that in order to deal positively with prolonged stress, I must take care of my body.  Our foods no longer provide all we need for our stressful lifestyles.  God has provided help in other areas.  His gift to us.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17 (NIV)

Tomorrow: “The Importance of respite during the stress for my soul”.

Love you, and thank you for joining me –

Robin <3

 

Practical Ideas for Facing Daunting Tasks

Advent Week 2, Day 4 – Practical Ideas for Facing Daunting Tasks

After Norman passed, I learned something real quick – if something in the future makes me panic, I don’t have to think about it right now.

Usually it was something that didn’t have to be dealt with right away.  So I’d pray and ask God that when I really did need to deal with it, he’d give me the strength to do so wisely and calmly.  He did.  Always. Eventually.

The biggest area of panic for me was thinking about how large my house was just for me, and what would I do with all the accumulated stuff of 25 years of marriage. I knew I’d be selling and downsizing, but it all looked very daunting.   It took 3 years to gain the strength to tackle my stuff.  I wasn’t in a hurry anyway.

I started off by asking a friend over to help me begin.  She was there only a couple of hours, but her tenacity to ask the hard question “do you really need that?” was difficult but helpful.  Sometimes I said “yes”, and other times I acquiesced to her look. Just that short amount of time got me started.

In getting rid of Norman’s clothes, I took pictures and laughed at his collection of sweater vests, dress shirts, and ties.  He loved clothes!

God was gracious.  He gave me the idea to make getting rid of things a game.  How many boxes could I collect for donation?  And how many pieces of furniture could I give away? My tally was eventually around 100 boxes and 14 pieces of furniture!  I even had a good laugh one afternoon with the Salvation Army pick up person when I explained that I had 50 boxes to be picked up.  He asked me for a date – I graciously declined.

During this time of uncertainty, what do you need to shelve for a time when God is ready to give you the ability to tackle something hard?  If that time is now, pray for one practical idea to make the task or decision easier.  Jesus is good at hearing us and answering as we trust in him.

Ideas:

Schedule a date with a friend to help you tackle that project that looms

Take one small step this week toward facing that giant

Make time daily to pray for wisdom, direction, and strength

If you are in the middle of tackling giants, make certain you take a break to have some fun or to rest

Find a prayer partner – someone you can call on to say “pray now”

Stay in fellowship with God’s people and with God through his Word – lone sheep are the easiest to pick off

Make a schedule of one thing you could easily accomplish each day for a week – keep it simple (no long diatribes), and check that one thing off as you do it.  Be kind to yourself

With love and prayers,

Robin <3