Four of my Favorite Practices for Handling Stress
May 13, 2021
by Jim Word

“I just took his pill!!” “What?” I followed. Lori, with eyes open wide, repeated the same outburst but this time in more of a shocked cadence, “I. Just. Took. His. Pill!”
Lori and I sometimes refer to our family experience as “Riding on the nose-cone of a rocket.” We are going somewhere, but we are flying at ludicrous speed and holding on for dear life. I know you can relate.

One of our kids had been sick. Of course, sickness is no respecter of time or schedule, so our day-to-day life was still full tilt. My wife was navigating the 15 plates she typically has spinning when the time came for our son’s next round of meds. Lori filled a cup with water, opened the medicine bottle, carefully poured out one pill, and then popped it right in her mouth.

Stress has the uncanny ability to hijack life. The following are four practices I use to help me prepare for the “SURPRISE!”

  1. I embrace the reality of stress. I had a friend and mentor I would call when I felt the need to off-load some stress. He would always quip, “Stress is a sign of life.” His one statement of truth would completely recalibrate my focus. If there is stress, there is life. I am more effective under pressure when I work on managing life rather than alleviating stress.
  2. I develop during less-pressed times. Life is not always a runaway train; destination STRESSVILLE. When the stresses are LESS, exercise, read, laugh, organize, clean, and chill MORE. I know what fills my tank, and I top off when I can.
  3. I plan for known stressors. Life can be chaotic, but life also has rhythm. There are times like the beginning of the school year, the end of the school year, tax time, wedding days, Mondays, etc. I identify the time, organize my resources, make a plan, and power through.
  4. I allow God to be God. For years I have heard the saying, “God will not allow you to go through more than you can handle.” I have dissected that bumper sticker and found it to be inaccurate. God most assuredly allows us to go through more than we can handle. What I have found to be spot-on is that God never allows us to go through more than HE can handle. So I let Him.

I hope these help. Take a deep breath. You got this.