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Tis the Season for Peace

As I reflect upon all of the things that I am thankful for during this season, one of those is peace. Recently I was under a lot of stress with family, work and business responsibilities and my body was beginning to respond negatively to the pressure. The sad part is that I didn’t initially realize that the stomach issues, sleeplessness, and mood swings that I was experiencing was a direct result of feeling overwhelmed and stressed. We all know that some stress is good for us, acting as motivation to fulfill dreams and to be effective in our various vocations, however, we must be careful about stress that harms our health and wellness. Have you ever been so inundated with the cares of your world that you neglected to care for yourself properly or overlooked the people and things that really matter?

Managing stress is so important to our health and well-being, as well as that of those we love. I recently found myself work late, staying up late to create content for my businesses, stress eating, indulging in the salty and sugary foods as opposed to fruit and vegetables, and neglecting exercise and morning devotionals. I was really a wreck. Before long, I found myself irritated and anxious about daily meetings and activities in just about every area of my life. Yes, I said a quick prayer each day to help get me through a tough patch. I even took a few deep breaths and recited a few good affirmations to make it through a tough meeting or task. But as long as I continued to neglect my health and mental space, I wasn’t effective at anything.

Enjoy life and think happy thoughts.

During the weeks that I was moving at a fast, and frustrating pace, I was easily distracted and lacked creativity. Television became my go-to when I did finally stop working to rest. It became an escape for a few hours before dragging myself to bed and then dragging myself out of the bed the next day. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good T.V. show or movie, however, too much of anything can be detrimental. So, there I was in this cycle of sleeplessness, being anxious, missed bible studies and overall ineffectiveness.

I began to experience this odd feeling in my chest when I laid down to rest. These faint heart palpitations increased over the weeks from only at night to frequently during the course of my day. I was getting concerned about my health. My Mom insisted that I schedule an appointment to see my doctor. However, I allowed my schedule to get in the way and let another week go by before actually picking up the phone prioritize my health. After meeting with my doctor, all of my test returned normal. But one thing that stood out to me during my doctor’s visit, was that I had been so stressed out and hadn’t taken time to rest and take care of myself.

I immediately reflected on the events of the past month and decided that I needed to get off of the roller coaster of work and running businesses, and take a break…no work, no social media, just rest and relaxation. I tapped into my faith and behavioral health knowledge, and took a bit of my own advice to control the stress that was beginning to take over my life. I started by saying a prayer, asking God to heal and restore my health and give me peace. That evening, I accepted my husband’s offer to ride out with him and ended up taking a long walk through a beautiful outdoor mall. The fresh air, brisk walk and conversation with my husband were just what I needed. I noticed that night and the next morning that I hadn’t felt the palpitations that I had been experiencing on a daily basis. I also made time for bible study and prayer which have been the cornerstone of my personal peace.

As we approach the holiday season, a time of peace, family, joy, thanksgiving, and yes, at times, stress, here are some reminders to manage the pressures of life.

  • Take time each day to pray and/or meditate.

  • Be aware that stress causes physical, mental and emotional strain on your body. Take time out every day to reflect and recharge.

  • Stress can ruin your concentration and negatively impact your work. Take advantage of breaks, talk it out with trusted co-workers, or a mental health professional if needed.

  • Acknowledge and manage problems as soon as possible. Don’t ignore them.

  • Keep a positive outlook.

  • Ask for support from family and friends.

  • Own your decisions and behavior. You get to choose to make a difference.

  • Identify your strengths and celebrate your successes.

  • Take deep breaths.

  • Don’t get stressed over things that you can’t control.

  • Organize your space. Believe me, it helps w

  • Get plenty of rest, eat a healthy diet, and drink plenty of water.

  • Enjoy life and think happy thoughts.

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