The “C” in R.E.S.I.L.I.E.N.C.Y. acknowledges four concepts for buffering stress. Consider the following:
Learn to cultivate calm evenings. In particular, there are two recommendations:
- Do not discuss “heavy” topics at night with family members. This activates the brain in ways that is not conducive to restful sleep. If needed, discuss stressful topics during daytime hours.
- Develop a calm bedtime routine. This may include a relaxing bath, soft music, no blue light (for an hour and a half before bedtime), reading a hardcover book, etc.
Share your stress with a trusted friend or professional. You are a “jar of clay” (2 Corinthians 4:7) and need to have an “inner circle” to connect and commune with during challenging times. In addition, these trusted individuals can bear the burden of your stress by either just listening, or actively serving you to lighten the load. In either instance, put pride aside.
The tendency to be stimulated during a time of stress is a vicious cycle, especially if you haven’t been able to sleep well. Be intentional about greatly reducing your caffeine intake. If you’re used to caffeine at all three meals, begin by deleting it at the dinner hour. Once your body is used to this, delete the caffeine at lunch as well. Ideally, drink your cup of Joe in the morning and be done. Your body is already stressed enough; caffeine doesn’t help the cause.
My grandmother always told me that a good cry was good for the soul. Neurobiology has confirmed her wisdom. The hormone that causes the production of cortisol is found in your tears. Specifically, a 2-4 minute cry has stress reduction benefits. So go ahead and cry; however, beware of a pattern.
With these 4 concepts in mind, how can you…..
A. Make one change – and eventually more – in your bedtime routine to alleviate stress?
B. Identify a trusted friend, family member, or professional to share your stress with?
C. Monitor and delete your caffeine intake? Perhaps a family member to hold you accountable?
D. Not suppress your feelings and give yourself permission to cry?
In summary, use these tips to manage stress. Remember: The idea is to buffer and build (resiliency).
This is Hope Unveiled!