My Priority is Peace

I have lived a stressful life.   There have been countless ‘situations’ in my life.  Through good, bad or ugly, especially the ugly, my response has been to stress out. 

I am turning sixty five years old next month.  I cannot handle the stress any longer – not physically, not mentally, and not emotionally.   I am done.  

As so often happens when one decides to give up an unhealthy lifestyle, the universe seems hell bent on dragging me back to the darkside. Currently there a number of potentially stressful events affecting my life and the world in general.

1. Family issues. My daughter got upset with me last August.  Typically, I have been labelled toxic and she has cut me out of her life.  Except she doesn’t cut anyone out of her life. She keeps the anger and the hurt and the hate going.  She cuts her entire family out of the life of anyone she has turned against, hurting them as well as herself and those she has shunned. Presently she has cut out her father and his wife, her ex-husband, her ex-husband’s family, her stepdaughter, her brother and his wife and their five year old son, most of her inlaws, Dan and I, friends too numerous to mention, and a few distant relatives.   As far as her problem with me, the truth is she cannot cut me out of her life – she is a part of me.  She cannot stop me from loving her and her family, she cannot erase the  memories that I have of her and her family – all of the good times we have shared and the difficult times we have survived, she cannot erase all that Dan and I have done for her and her family nor the things that her and her family have done for us.  We are a part of her life and she and her family will always be a part of ours.

2.  Finances. I am recently retired.  The plan is for Dan to work for another four years and retire with his full pension.   Lately the plan isn’t looking good.  Dan works making pipe for the oil industry – at a time when the oil industry is struggling and a time when big companies are working to destroy the unions that protect their employees.   Our finances could potentially be adversely affected.   Dealing with financial problems at this point in our life could be serious.  As tempting as it is to start stressing out over this situation, I realize that will not protect us nor in any way improve the quality of our lives.

3. Global Pandemic.   Everything is at stake.  The global economy, personal finances, health, lives around the globe,  lives of loved ones, the viability of the food chain – the potential fallout is endless and astronomical.   There are countless reasons to stress over this situation but far more reasons to keep a level head and potentially become a part of the recovery.

4.  The murder of Floyd George and subsequent civil uprising. I can’t even.  At first this was shocking. At first the peaceful protests and the support by so many were powerful and moving.  At first there was a glimmer of hope that we could overcome the invasive bigotry that courses through humanity.   Now this movement is slowly being crushed by those who believe violence is the answer and more insideously by those who prefer the status quo – those who feel threatened when others desire the rights and privileges that they have always enjoyed. That is all sad, painful, and potentially stressful and I have no answers.

5. Social Media. I have been on Facebook for years. I joined to share pictures with family, keep up with friends, read the jokes, and play the games. Now it is a source of animosity, ‘alternate facts’, disrespect, insults, and those trying desperately to justify hate and ignorance. Instagram is almost as bad but that is due to its ‘Look at me I am Better’ format. People want to be ‘influencers’ in a race to want more. It is a race all will ultimately lose. There are still good, human, beautiful posts on both Facebook and Instagram, but one has to expose oneself to so much negativity to find them.

I could stress out for countless reasons – but stress is not an option. I have done enough stressing. There is enough stress in our world – it is a violent and destructive force that helps and heals no one. Going forward, peace is my priority. Peace is the healing, constructive power that I need. Peace is what our world needs.

Peace is Possible 💗

7 Best Ways To Deal With Stress

Having spent a good part of my life dealing with stress, I have had ample time figuring out what works, and what does not work for me. These are some of my favourite stress relievers.

1. Nature. There is nothing as calming and perfect as nature for dealing with stress. In Saskatchewan, it is too frigid for a good portion of the year to get warm and fuzzy in the great outdoors.   During these times I get my nature fix by going through pictures of nature – mine, those on social media, or even  via Google Earth.  I also tend to give my houseplants a little more TLC in the winter, just to spend time around something living and green.

2. Positive Affirmations. I keep a journal where I write out positive affirmations every morning. At night, I make a point of sending some special thoughts to any particular challenges I have coming up the next day. Both exercises tend to give me a feeling of control and a positive focus.

3. Deal With It. If I feel myself getting stressed over something I try to deal with it asap. I make the worst call of the day, deal with the most difficult file, go through the most challenging task as early as possible in the day. Once that is over, the rest of the day is easy. I try to tackle any stressful situation in the same manner.  I hate personal or medical appointments.  Last summer I was seriously behind in that department so I booked up the early days of my summer holiday. In three days I saw my doctor, dentist and optometrist, I got my hair cut, my nails done and my eyebrows trimmed, finally as an added bonus I took my dog to the vet to get her checkup and shots.  The rest of my holiday was my best ever!

4. Own The Stress. When I start feeling stressed out, I try to find ways to make myself feel better and relieve my stress. I take a walk, do breathing exercises and meditation, practice yoga, or take a bath.  I work on getting plenty of rest and make sure I am getting a healthy diet – particularly cutting back on salt, sugar, and caffeine.

5. Stretch My Safety Zone.  I got this bit of advice from an article I read years ago.  It said,  (I am paraphrasing) “You will always feel discomfort when you are expanding your safety zone, but if you keep retracting  back into your safety zone to avoid the discomfort, you will ultimately end up curled up in your bed watching your life go by.   If you ignore the discomfort and keep pushing your limits, your safety zone will expand and your life with it.”    Great advice! I welcome that feeling of discomfort now as I recognize it as a good sign.

6. Tidy Up. Clutter and mess does nothing to calm my frayed nerves. When I am stressed, I love to get neat and organized, whether I am at home or at work. The activity helps burn off nervous energy and having a clean and orderly space just makes me feel better.

7. Mental Exercise. There is a scientific reasoning behind this – if you are particularly stressed (emotional) you can calm yourself by focusing on a mental exercise. I use this one if I am waiting for a meeting, appointment or stuck in traffic. It works like a charm

These methods of stress relief work for me. I hope if you are stressed out, you will try them. And I hope that you will share any methods that work well for you!

7 Worst Ways To Deal With Stress

Everyone suffers from stress in their lifetime, some more than others. I tend to be one of those others. As a result of being easily stressed, I have tried a number of methods for dealing with my stress and I have taken note of how others tend to deal with theirs. These are some of the worst methods for dealing with stress that I have discovered over the years.

1. Self medicate. Whether it is alcohol, illegal drugs or over the counter medication, it is not a solution and will inevitably create more stress for you in the long run. 🍺

2. Blame others. First it will add bitterness, anger and resentment to your stress. Second it will deprive you of finding and using effective methods to deal with your stress. It does not matter why you are stressed. It does not matter if someone else caused your stress. Once you are stressed, that stress is yours, you need to own it and you need to deal with it. 😤

3. Avoid your stress. (Or the things that are causing you stress). That ugly file on your desk – quit trying to bury it, financial problems – quit trying to pretend they don’t exist, relationship problems – quit waiting for your partner to deal with them. Your stress will not go away by hiding from the problems that are causing it.🙃

4. Using counterproductive measures. Stressed out because you have financial issues? – skipping work won’t help, binge shopping won’t help, wasting your money in a bar or casino won’t help. Stressed out over failing grades? – skipping school won’t help, avoiding your homework won’t help. Stressed out because you have a nagging cough ? – smoking won’t help. 🙄

5. Banishing toxic people from your life. (Unless we are talking about a seriously manipulative, hurtful person who is a danger to you and your well-being). For your friend or your mother or your co-worker who has annoyed you, or had a disagreement with you, or inadvertently hurt your feelings – no! Talk to them, compromise with them, consider what it means to  have them in your life before you kick them to the curb. If this is your go to method, you are going to cause yourself stress by losing loved ones, having to avoid loved ones and causing difficult situations with people who love you and your banished friends and family. 😢

6. Take your stress out on others.  Stress is not an excuse to mistreat others – ever. Mistreating others will not make you feel any better. It certainly will not make them feel any better. Just don’t do it. 🤯

7. Give up. Never give up. Stress sucks. Stress makes life so much harder and more miserable than it needs to be. There are many healthy, effective methods of dealing with stress. You will find ones that work for you as long as you keep looking! 👍

I hope if you having been struggling with stress, that this post helps you avoid some pitfalls in looking for relief. In my next post, I will note some of the best ways that I have found for dealing with my stress💖.